Louisville, KY - At a regional MMA event, Phillip Perkins took a look around at the state of affairs. He notices there aren't any stools for his fighters between rounds. As the 10 second clappers sound, he reaches for the metal folding chair the promotion has left beside the cage instead. As the referee moves in anticipating the end of the round, the lights in the arena cut out and the fight ensues in the darkness.
Well ok, I wasn't there and it probably wasn't that dramatic...but! You get the idea. The standards were low. Phillip Perkins left a subpar MMA event and decided the Kentucky regional MMA scene needed a serious overhaul. With the help of the fight commission and some local friends, Perkins launched Future of Fighting! Future of Fighting is an exciting new promotion setting a new standard for Kentucky MMA.
We sat down for a Q&A with the man who launched FOF! Check it out!
Q: Talk to me about Future of Fighting. How did it come to be and what inspired you to start your own promotion?
A: I've been coaching MMA well-over 10 years, almost 15 years now. Shows have come and gone in the #LouisvilleKY area. We had a really nice show that had been around here, but it recently went away.
So we were at an event and I have 4, 5, 6, guys fighting on these cards. I have for years. At this event the lights went out during one of the fights. We had to get chairs from the crowd into the cage because they didn't have stools. So, we had to carry chairs into the ring in-between rounds. Just a bunch of little things. One of my black belts was there with me and I said: "We shouldn't be having our guys fight here. Our guys should have better opportunities than this. We should put on a show." and he kind of laughed at me.
About 2 weeks later, I called him and said: "Hey remember when I said we should put on a show?" and he said yeah. So I told him: "Well we're going to do it". I had just made a decision that we needed to do it. I reached out to the commission and found out what it would take. Then I just jumped on in.
Q: That's cool to hear. You did it out of necessity, not just to make some money.
A: I own a gym and I've been in Mixed Martial Arts a long time. I've learned better than to do things for the money when it comes to martial arts. It's not the most profitable thing for the most part. I'm lucky to decent living by doing it, but I definitely did not do this for financial gain. It's nice to have financial gain at the end. I'm not doing this for free but, it's mainly to build a platform for the fighters. I think the fighters benefit the most from it at the end of the day. This isn't someone random putting on a show. I'm a local entrepreneur, I have fighters, and I used to fight. So of course, I want this to be a good event, with good media, and I want to treat everybody right.
Q: So you see this as more of a long-term league not just one off events?
A: Yeah, so we're going to do 4 shows a year. We already got our first 3 planned this year. I might do 5 this year, but 4 for sure. We're doing all Louisville shows for the first 3, looking to do a couple in #LexingtonKY this year. Next year, we're looking to do 6 shows. Then we're going to 8 per year. So, we definitely have some ideas to keep this thing going and grow it into a good-sized regional show. Possibly a feeder show for some of the bigger shows. #LFA , #Bellator , hopefully #UFC , but we're in the first step of that.
Future Of Fighting Phillip Perkins
Q: From a business standpoint, what is something you’d like to tell fighters, coaches, managers, or the general public?
A: Well our show is going to be a little bit different. It's going to be a full experience for the fighters. Full weigh-in experience. We have media at weigh-ins. We give out hydration products at the weigh-ins to help with hydration. Trying to make the most of the experience for the fighters. Interviews after, photographer taking pictures.
Then for the fans, as soon as you walk in we got merch tables and lights. The DJ is playing music. It's a whole different vibe. It's a dress to impress vibe. Not super upscale, but more upscale than the normal shows you go to around here. Come out, have a good time, see some good fights, and support your local athletes.
Q: You had some spectacular performances, a lot of finishes, the crowd was loud, the post production was something special. How do you plan to top it at your next show?
A: Yeah, that's going to be tough. The last show all our fights were finishes. We did not need the judges to come that night. Which is crazy I've been to a lot of shows over the last 18 years, or however long its been, I don't recall a show where there were all finishes. We're going to top it with more great fights. The production will be a little bit better. We're adding instant replay this time. The last one was good but it was our first time so the way we do ticketing will be better, the way we do lighting will be better, everything will be a little bit better, and the fights will be good as always. They'll be matched right. We always have a few surprises we'll announce our third event. There's alot of stuff coming up.
Q: What is something you would like to accomplish as a promoter?
A: My goal is to build a platform for regional fighters to be seen at the next level. We've got #LFA coming here in town at the end of March, and we're working with them. We've got them coming out to our show. So in the future, we'll be feeding people to shows like them, #Bellator really just giving the guys and girls a platform to be seen at the next level. So I need media, multiple videographers, multiple photographers, multiple camera angles. Everything just getting better. That was only our first one, and I'm pretty critical, but I'm proud of how it went.
Q: That covers all my questions, but any shout outs?
A: There's a ton but the sponsors. We couldn't do it without the sponsors. #FoxDen #PrecisionGarageDoor #PackMuleMoving #NextLevelSportsNutrition #EversonScreenPrinting #BeardHVAC there's so many more I cant name them all. So many sponsors help us make this happen. I'd like to shout out my team. Couldn't do it without the team. Our matchmaker, Hardrock. My wife, and that's it always got to thank her.