During this time of dominance by the UFC and other well-known promotions such as Bellator and World Series of Fighting at odds over a promotion vs. promotion PPV, it may be tough to keep track of every MMA promotion out there.
Legacy FC president Mick Maynard feels as though fans should pay attention to a company that holds comparable talent to these other promotions and with 2014 just underway, they have plenty of time to become a promotion that houses some of the best talent in the world.
Adam Conklin: Do you feel Legacy FC gets an inadequate amount of attention and respect as a promotion and if so, why do you think this is?
Mick Maynard: I think that at times we do and at other times we don’t. There are definitely sites out there that give us great coverage and have always supported us.
Our roster is world-class and our production and presentation is world-class so I do believe we should be getting a lot more coverage than we do. I think overall just like the sport, the MMA media is not real mature. I have seen things written that just blow my mind and that is from some of the sports more well-known writers. To me if the top of the food chain in MMA journalism writes this stuff we are pretty much screwed. I have seen that for the most part the media is afraid to go against the grain because they are probably scared of how it will affect them financially. I want to reiterate that doesn’t apply to everyone, there are those have been tremendously good and kind to Legacy but I do think we have earned more recognition.
Take a look at the World MMA awards and the promotions that are up for top promotion of the year and leading man of the year category. 2 or 3 of the five promotions probably couldn’t even be nominated for a local business award due to the length of time they have been in business. How can you be nominated for leading man of the year when the company you are leading is losing money. One again, to me it highlights the sports immaturity. I am not attacking these people or promotions by the way. In another couple of years they may be incredibly successful in the way true business success is measured. We all had to get our businesses started at one point and while we were learning take our lumps financially but come on man! When the media starts recognizing truly successful promotions/businesses in the sport it will only make the sport stronger and demonstrate to others the way it should be done. When each year that you have the awards the following year one or two of those nominated promotions are bankrupt or cease to exist, its highlights how big of a joke it is.
I think the other problem Legacy faces is I am not a loudmouth. I tried the loudmouth approach once and I felt embarrassed that I had acted like an idiot in front of my friends and family. I was raised in Australia and honestly it is just not culturally acceptable for the most part. I always felt like our product should do the talking but unfortunately once again this sport prefers loudmouths that make outlandish claims about everything and being overall obnoxious. I like to think I know a lot about the sport and the business side of the sport so I definitely have some opinions but unless promoters jump around like furniture salesman, people don’t seem that interested.
AC: With the challenge from WSOF to Bellator and the ensuing attention, do you feel ignored by MMA Media given that Legacy FC offers a lot of the same?
MM: I actually think it was a brilliant PR move on their part. I think if we had made the initial challenge it may have stirred up some interest also. Lately I think WSOF has been more active in the media overall and its smart and several things Ali has stated I wholeheartedly agree with plus it definitely makes for fun reading at times.
AC: Legacy FC is home to the most anticipated up-and-coming women’s fighter, Holly Holm. Have you been approached by the UFC to acquire her?
MM: I haven’t personally been approached, I don’t manage any of the fighters so those conversations primarily happen with their management. I do think that it is a shame the way she has been attacked by media in regards to asking for more money though. Holly has already built an impressive career in combat sports, is still young and very marketable overall. The fact she is being attacked by media for asking for more than the standard is ridiculous and really just demonstrates the whole crab in a bucket mentality at its finest.
AC: Is there a monopoly between MMA media and these big three promotions, which may make it challenging to get the exposure to produce growth?
MM: I think to a certain extent that may be the case. I used to own a newspaper and I understand the pressure there is to be biased towards advertisers etc. for obvious reasons. At that point it really is a question of integrity and how you choose to run your media outlet. In my experience you should have someone in charge of editorial and someone in charge of the business side and they should run for the most part independently from one another in order to keep that integrity.
I remember being a salesperson at the first newspaper I worked for and editorial ran a front page story slamming one of my biggest advertisers. Of course I lost that advertiser as a result of that story.
AC: Will 2014 be a big year for growth in term of adding divisions and champions to round out the Legacy FC brand?
MM: Yes it most definitely will, we will be doing 10-12 shows and expanding into new markets like Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Tennessee hopefully. I like that number of shows in general, it is just the right number in my view.
AC: How serious is a Promotion vs. Promotion including Legacy FC and what would that card look like?
MM: Very serious! I would do it with anyone in a heartbeat if we could make it work financially. Honestly I would even be more than willing to put together matchups that on paper may look like we are on the losing side but for fight fans will be awesome. People win and lose all the time in MMA, that’s the beauty of this sport. The most important thing is it is exciting and competitive matchups. I could put together an entire card of ringers on our side but what fun is that? Like I said my ego doesn’t need to be massaged, I just want to see great fights.
AC: You said on Twitter you consider yourself a AAA baseball team if WSOF is the college football. Where do you put yourself among the other promotions if you were to rank them?
Well the truth is I think that is a better comparison. Most of the former UFC fighters we add to the roster have a good chance of going back and many of the young prospects we sign have a good chance of going to the UFC. That is a true minor league system and we are the majors of the minors right now. You can’t be the college football to the NFL unless you actually send people to the NFL and I have never seen an NFL player be sent down to college before.
Our ultimate goal is not to be that forever, we want to grow and provide a career home for fighters. We are very fair and want to be an alternate professional league where fighters can truly provide for themselves and their family and don’t have to leave us for financial reasons. We aren’t there yet and that is why we let them leave to the UFC, if we didn’t let them get that opportunity I believe it would be unethical.
Fightmatrix once did a talent comparison of all of the promotions worldwide and we were ranked in the top five. In fact our talent level was right alongside Bellator’s. I think if you compare our length of time in MMA, financial success in the business and overall talent we have to be in the top five. That said I often feel like that is such a silly claim when people argue over being number two or whatever.
Max Kellerman once said that he judges each round of a boxing match by who he would rather be at the end of each round. I think if you put us up against any promotion in the world, at the end of each round I would rather be us than them. I have five kids to raise so to hell with travelling each and every weekend all over the world.
I’d like to thank Mick Maynard for the opportunity and make sure to catch Legacy FC 27: Means vs. Young on January 31st from the Arena Theatre in Houston, Texas. Wrestling stand-out and undefeated MMA fighter Henry Cejudo also appears on the card. The main card will air on AXS TV.
Photo Link: @TheCageDoor