ISKA President Cory Schafer Talks About Alabama MMA
USCS recently interviewed ISKA President Cory Schafer regarding the progress that has been made with the Alabama Amateur MMA program during its first year of sanctioning. Alabama first fight took place in February 2012 and four months later there seems to be some unique challenges he is facing. Schafer laid out these challenges and also some ways that our fighters and trainers can contribute to solutions.
Schafer praised the media as a whole for stepping up to help a newly formed State Commission in its attempt to bring mma online. Schafer shared with USCS his perception of how things are developing with the Amateur MMA program here in Alabama stating he could not be more pleased. He further stated, historically, going from unregulated events, to the sport being illegal, to full regulation is no easy task. It takes a huge adjustment by everyone involved. On the whole, the promoters are really stepping up. With every event they become more familiar and more comfortable with the regulations and are better prepared as event-time approaches.
Schafer further elaborated stating, the promoter’s primary focus is on presenting a great show for the fans which requires an incredible effort. They have a lot at stake financially. These are good people who love the sport and have done a good job adapting to the state’s requirements.
We delved a little deeper in asking Schafer what was next regarding how to improve the program in Alabama? His response was: The promoters have done a great job, and the athletes have fought their hearts out, BUT…, it’s time for the fighters and trainers to “catch-up” regarding taking these regulations seriously and recognizing how they may be hurting the program if they fail to do so. Examples on how fighters and trainers can help promoters comply with regulations; insure the best possible events and the growth of the program.
Promoters have to have their fight-card approved. In order to do that they need each fighter’s complete fight record and date of birth. Trainers/fighters need to have that information available and provide it to the promoter when the fight is made otherwise it stalls the whole process and sometimes causes the fight to be cancelled totally when everything in not submitted properly and on time.
The official weigh-in is exactly that, “official”. Fighters need to make the effort to attend the official weigh-in rather than feel like they are exempt for some reason and that the promotion / regulation of the event somehow revolves around their schedule. Be on time and be on weight and bring a government issued picture ID.
Understand the blood-work requirements and present a copy of your blood work to the Event Physician at each and every event. Leave the original at home and bring one of the dozen or so copies that you have made.
I challenge all the fighters and trainers to ask themselves if they are “part of the problem” or “part of the solution”.
PART OF THE PROBLEM:
- Trainers that can’t provide promoters with their fighters date of birth or accurate fight record. Result: Bout will not be approved.
- Fighter does not show up on time, fails to make weight or fails to bring a government issued picture ID. Result: Bout is cancelled.
- Fighter fails to bring copies of his required blood work (HIV, Hep B Antigen, Hep C Antibody) to the weigh-in / physical. Result: Bout is cancelled.
PART OF THE SOLUTION:
- Trainers providing promoters with their fighter’s date of birth and complete fight record the first time that they speak regarding that fighter participating in the event.
- Being on time for the weigh-in, at the correct weight and with your government issued picture ID in hand.
- Presenting a copy (not the original) of your required blood-work to the event Physician at the weigh-in
Schafer stated he understood that adapting to these regulations is not easy. Just like the promoters, whose primary focus is on presenting a great show, the fighter’s focus is on their preparation for their bout. Schafer is calling-out to the fighters and trainers to “help be a better part of the solution” regarding the challenges of growing a safe and fair amateur MMA program.
Stay tuned for more in depth news from USCS as we stay on top of the newly formed Alabama MMA scene.
In the mean time, please enjoy some photo highlights from events held in Alabama.
Rick Piel – USCS Alabama Correspondent.