MMA organisations have come and gone with the times, many MMA fans will remember that before the UFC absorbed or ruled over everyone, there were other companies such as Elite XC, Affliction, WEC and StrikeForce to name a few.
But now there is a new kid on the block in the form of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s promotion Eagle FC. For those that may not know, Khabib bought this company when it was called Gorilla Fighting Championship for 1 million dollars and added his moniker of the Eagle to the company.
So what will it take for EFC to compete with the likes of the UFC, PFL, Bellator or One? As previously mentioned there have been countless promotions that had incredible rosters full of top-level talent. For example, remember Affliction at one point had names like Fedor, Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett, Pedro Rizzo, Lil Nog, and Vitor as well as the financial backing of Donald Trump yet the organization folded after a whole 2 events.
This brings me to the Eagle FC roster as it is still growing, there are several former high profile fighters and a few champions. We have seen JDS, Hector Lombard, Kevin Lee, Diego Sanchez, Tyron Spong, Sergei Kharitonov, Ray Borg, Renan Barao, Big Foot and others sign for the company.
The promotion made its debut in America in January and has been quietly growing its following ever since. We have seen EFC try and implement different weight classes which many fighters like Kevin Lee and Diego Sanchez have advocated for in the past.
Add to the fact that fighters have way more freedom to use sponsors in and out of the cage without getting reprimanded for using a rival brand of the “official” sponsor, which will have several fighters especially veteran ones considering making the switch to EFC. Let’s not forget that most organizations are run by businessmen and while this is no different from EFC, they are second to the PFL in having a fighter (Ray Sefo) in a position to help its fighters.
While Dana White and the UFC are still the top dogs in the world of MMA, it will be curious to see how Khabib’s friendship with Dana will influence or aid in EFC coming up. We have heard multiple rumours of Dana and Khabib having sit-downs to further discuss or give advice to Khabib about promoting and running things.
But the sky is the limit with EFC. The fact that one of the most popular fighters ever is the face and owner has already given EFC a leg up on other promotions of their level. They already have the attention of the Russian market and other parts of Europe, while slowly making their way into the U.S market. If you look at Khabib’s IG page, he has over 33 million loyal followers, this will always benefit his events no matter what.
They say competition is good for the sport and to be honest MMA doesn’t need a new promotion that blows up for a few events and goes through the whole big bank take little bank cycle that has happened for so long. MMA needs a promotion that cares about its fighters, their careers, development and most of all the fans that spend their money to support the fighters, the organization and the sport as a whole.
I love the UFC and will always be grateful for its contribution to the evolution of MMA for without it the sport would still be an underground afterthought. But this model of money above everything while leeching the life out of so many fighters is not helping MMA or its future. It’s not a hard concept to understand that money rules the world and without it, the production and reach of the UFC would be minimal, but at what point is too much business a bad thing? You the fan decide, after all without us they don’t sell PPVs, merch, NFTs, and tickets.