AFC Closes Doors; Execs Join WSOF Canada

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WSOF Canada THUMBToday, big news broke on Bleacher Report that the World Series of Fighting has purchased the Aggression Fighting Championship organization to  enter the Canadian market.  Top MMA News has learned from sources close to the deal that there was no purchase but Canada’s AFC is closing its doors and their executives are joining a new organization called WSOF Canada.

Joining up with the WSOF provides the AFC executives with something they have always sought after: National TV exposure. The World Series of Fighting debuted in November 2012 and has held five events to date with WSOF 6 scheduled for October 26th.  WSOF events are aired live on NBC Sports Network with athletes like Anthony Johnson, Steve Carl, Andrei Arlovski, and Jon Fitch fighting for the promotion.  It is expected that WSOF Canada will contribute four live shows in 2014 for broadcast on NBC Sports Network with an additional eight events shown on tape delay.  This national television exposure will be great for Canadian MMA fighters.

The new World Series of Fighting Canada promotion is looking to hold its first event this December.  The event could be scheduled for the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) in Vancouver, British Columbia.  However, Edmonton and Montreal are also being considered for the Canadian premiere.

The main event is currently set to be Anthony Johnson versus Mike Kyle.  Other fighters who could appear include Nick Newell and Chris Horodecki.

It is a bittersweet time for Canadian MMA as Aggression Fighting Championship was one of Canada’s premiere MMA organizations.  Born out of a merger between Edmonton’s Aggression MMA, Calgary’s Axe Combat, and Victoria’s Armageddon Fighting Championship, the AFC put on an incredible 13 events since April 2012.   Fighters such as Ryan Ford, the UFC’s Jesse Ronson, The Ultimate Fighter’s Louis Fisette, Curtis Brigham, and many more made a name for themselves in the AFC.  The promotion also provided a launch pad for Canadian newcomers to MMA like Derek Medler, Trent House, and Alexi Argyriou.

 


60 Responses to “ AFC Closes Doors; Execs Join WSOF Canada ”

  1. It may be bittersweet but ultimately this is great news for the Canadian MMA scene!

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  2. Updated with the link for WSOFCanada.com

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  3. Update: Got word from Ryan Ford that he is not on a December card. Removed him from the post.

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  4. PUCK says:

    Good news for Canadian fans and now a guy like Ford (in theroy) will have lots of top level guys to fight at 170. But, makes me wonder how may shows they will be doing a year up here in Canada? As some fighters may be looking to stay busy.

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  5. @Puck…. “It is expected that WSOF Canada will contribute four live shows in 2014 for broadcast on NBC Sports Network with an additional eight events shown on tape delay.”

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  6. BigPoppaPump says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated... Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

  7. MMA Cana says:

    Hope NBC fights are available in Canada cable; kind of not fun streaming in Canada only during live events

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  8. PUCK says:

    mmm Thats sounds promising….

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  9. Cody Rempel says:

    The WSOF events so far have streamed live and free for anyone outside of the US, I’m hoping their Canadian events will be the same if they don’t get a Canadian TV deal!

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  10. BigPoppaPump says:

    Isn’t the stream for WSOF only for the undercard fights? Besides streamed events aren’t very ideal for sports, especially combat sports.

    This looks to be a very lateral move by the “AFC Execs” because they’re just folding the AFC and taking employment elsewhere. Thus, not helping the MMA landscape in Canada but expanding and following someone else’s business model.

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  11. MMA Cana says:

    @cody r I agree that’s what I was trying to ask :)

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  12. Darren Owen says:

    BigPoopyDump, how could you have any clue what’s going on?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 21

  13. Tim chemelli says:

    AFC is/was/ and always will be a great promotion. I wish nothing but the best for anyone involved with them!

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  14. Alex Caporicci says:

    Much better news than AFC closing and no show replacing it. Obviously we don’t know the details, but hopefully its something great for Canadian MMA. Best of luck to the guys involved.

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  15. ASSASSIN says:

    Thx Alex! It’s been a long road. Lol @ ‘lateral move’

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion for sure. But Darren is correct, only we are the ones who know what’s going on. We will continue to grow and increase the exposure for Canadian athletes any way we can. The fans and fighters will benefit as a result. Some great fights and events to come!

    Fader

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  16. AMLEHTC says:

    My concern is that the new shows will showcase more of the American talent and just put the Canadians on the undercard. Hopefully it goes well for all the Canadians involved

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  17. Alex Caporicci says:

    MMA is in a very tight spot across Canada right now. Even if WSOF features a lot of American talent, there will still be spots for Canadians. Even if its on the undercard similar to what Bellator did at RAMA and the Windsor Casino its a positive. But again, we don’t know the details, so lets see what happens before making generalizations. But any (safe, professional, evenly matched) MMA in Canada is good MMA.

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  18. MMA Cana says:

    Iv always thought SCORE fighting series was the best Canadian show from a production to TV level.

    Hopefully WSOF Canada goes that route.

    Robin Black & Toronto crew would have been my picks for involving them for any promotion to succeed.

    BC AFC partner is the only one so far with a resume to be working with WSOF ; no offense to t shirt and lottery but you fall short.

    Best of luck wsof Canada.

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  19. Hopkins says:

    Why would WSOF wamt to keep/employ any of the AFC executives? These so called professionals ran that company into a complete failure. It’s similar to the SFS, where they had all that money and exposure and still failed because of poor, clueless management. When will these mma companies learn to stop hiring morons who pretend to understand how to run a successful show. Many events have succeeded. It’s not difficult with the right management and talent

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  20. BigPoppaPump says:

    Alex is right, we don’t have all the details… If you know more Darren enlighten us but don’t get your panties in a bunch.

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  21. Allen hope says:

    Who cares what promotion it is as long as the Canadian guys get to fight and they get paid

    Well-loved! Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

  22. BigDaddyKane says:

    LOL

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  23. Darren Owen says:

    Not sure how in the world anyone could say that the AFC was a failure??? 11 of 13 events were profitable and in this business that’s hard to accomplish. We held 13 events in 15 months in BC, AB and MB. We had some amazing fights and gave Canada a lot of fights that the fans wanted to see. This isn’t the AFC “shutting down” This is the AFC getting an opportunity to showcase Canadian fighters on a huge platform with NBC sports. Being able to give the Canadian MMA fans a way better product. It has been in the works since June that’s why we have been quiet and not announced any events. They wanted to launch this in a big way and we needed to be 100% ready. The success of the AFC is what landed us this deal.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 15

  24. Ace says:

    Afc is no longer so to me that means it was a Failure

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 20

  25. Gunner says:

    Congrats to AFC (Darren/Steve/Harvey) in a sense you did in terms of what a fighter always wants to do and that’s catch the eye of the next level. If there is truth to the fights predicted then it is great for all Canadian fighters if there will be 12 shows a year under the WSOF Canada banner and great for fans as that also means that there will be great talent brought in from the states to put on great fights.
    Best of luck to everyone involved

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  26. Alex Caporicci says:

    @Hopkins

    With all due respect, SFS didn’t close because of poor management. It was a decision by Rogers to buy the company and not continue it. The person who ran The Score Fighting Series was (in my mind) the top person to ever get involved in the sport in our country. Brendan Fyfe was a huge supporter of MMA at The Score and ultimately ran a promotion with a team I was proud to be part of.

    The MMA shows in this country that work (again in my opinion) are run with a small budget and filled by local fighters we can sell tickets. If you want to take a chance and bring in high level fighters (UFC vets, non-local potential stars) thats when you need to get creative with television and corporate sponsorships. I cannot talk about AFC because I really do not know, but SFS was doing that with being broadcast on their own station and in the US and legit corporate sponsors.

    Saying SFS closed down because of “poor, clueless management” is at best, ignorant. But most likely its just someone with an axe to grind.

    Again.. with UFCs almost weekend, and more and more of them on free TV, its a tough time to be a MMA promoter. There are a lot of great shows out there that deserve our support.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 17 Thumb down 9

  27. Robin Black says:

    I’m no expert, I just play one on TV.

    But imo this is a big business play that has great implications for fighters and the whole picture of Canadian MMA.

    Huge congratulations to the AFC crue (I don’t have an umlaught button!) on a job well done to build the business and get this merger done.

    Excited to watch the growth and see the whole Canadian culture ride the wave.

    Cheers to what you’ve accomplished and cheers to the future.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 12

  28. Robin Black says:

    and @Hopkins

    This: “When will these mma companies learn to stop hiring morons who pretend to understand how to run a successful show. Many events have succeeded. It’s not difficult with the right management and talent” is uninformed.

    This sports niche is (in the chronology of business) a baby. There are very very few individuals who know how to make this work and, because of their power, the UFC has most of the proven specialized promotion/marketing/big picture/culture concept experts in their fold.

    The only way there will be bold competitors rising up to try to compete is if they are run by new, young, passionate risk takers like the AFC guys and the WSOF group.

    These guys have drive and these guys have balls.

    I’ll cheer for that.

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  29. Hopkins says:

    @ Alex C- how many promotions have you contributed to, resulting with them ceasing operations? You are the definition of an executive failure. Your lack of knowledge about mma and how to run a successful show is clearly evident. Even with national tv coverage and huge bankroll, you screwed it all up for everyone…but I’m sure you got paid every cent for your hard work

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  30. BigDaddyKane says:

    AFC go out of business and has no tv deal below average fighter roster , no sponsors and WSOF goes into business with these guys, should be in for another crash and burn and Owen keeps looking to stay alive in a business that knows he’s a joke.

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  31. LOL at the clueless people on here.

    Alex is top notch and knows MMA as good as anybody. He is no failure, and was not the reason for any of these promotions no longer existing.

    Alex is the man, and Rogers is the reason Score Fighting Series no longer exists. It wasn’t a failure and was in a unique situation in Ontario to afford the rates while getting content for their channel. They could lose money on a show (Which they didn’t) and still come out ahead.

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  32. For the hours that Alex has put into this sport, and the money he’s made, he’s a volunteer like the rest of us

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  33. BigDaddyKane says:

    Top MMA News has learned from sources close to the deal that there was no purchase but Canada’s AFC is closing its doors

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  34. wuzjustsayin says:

    If in the “chronology of business” MMA a baby, then unfortunately it is a severely handicapped one.

    As any proven successful business, competition arrives quickly and spinoffs of that business flourish.

    The leader and founder of that new genre of business usually stays on top if the business is maintained properly.

    The UFC has done everything possible to remain in that position including acquisitions and mergers of the competition only to find out that they really were not beneficial or necessary.

    They are at the peak of this business model and still have their share of disappointing gate numbers.

    The “Spinoffs” of this business have experienced the same hardships.

    If you think that a small time organization can compete in this business then you better have the backing to support the long road of subsidizing a losing battle unless you have a something to offer the fans that is different such as Bellator does.

    There will always be small local promotions as long as UFC is around but they really need to focus on exactly what they are, “Small Local Promotions”.

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  35. Ace says:

    Afc main goal from day 1 was to try and be bigger and better then the mfc if they would have focused a bit more on building the afc slowly maybe they would be still around

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  36. Darren Owen says:

    AFC = WSOF Canada

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  37. Darren Owen says:

    Curtis Brighsm is the 135 WSOF Canadian Champ, Ryan Ford is the the 170 WSOF Canadian Champ. Ronson vacated belt when he signed with UFC and Razak being American not eligible for our Canadian title. Their belts will be up for grabs against another Canadian opponents. If for example Brigham fights in a WSOF card against an American his Canadian title is not on the line.

    I really don’t like the headline of AFC closes doors. I don’t see it like that at all. I have a new title and a new email address other than that it’s business as usual except for now our events will be run as WSOF Canada and the new tv deal on NBC Sports. If you have any specific questions feel free to email me at Darren@WSOFCanada.com and I’ll do my best to answer them.

    The plan is a few full on WSOF events per year in Canada featuring a lot if Canadian and US fighters much like the UFC cards in Canada and then some WSOF Canada cards in Canada featuring basically all Canadians much like how our AFC cards were except full a big upgrade in production so they meet the quality standards of NBC Sports.

    I hope that helps clear some things up.
    Fighters and managers looking to fight on the events can contact me as I will be matchmaking these cards. If you are interested in sponsorship contact Steve Fader at Steve@WSOFCanada.com

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  38. BigPoppaPump says:

    No AFC does not equal WSOF Canada. Are all your fighter’s contracts transferring over? Are the AFC’s champions now WSOF champions, etc? You can’t leave a comment like, “AFC = WSOF Canada” because it down plays the organization being called “World Series of Fighting”.

    Until you put out a press release that details the questions the fans and fighters want to know you just sound like a dummy coming on here with your stupid comments.

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  39. Darren Owen says:

    To answer your question. Yes fighters contracts do transfer over.

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  40. Darren Owen says:

    Curtis Brighsm is the 135 WSOF Canadian Champ, Ryan Ford is the the 170 WSOF Canadian Champ. Ronson vacated belt when he signed with UFC and Razak being American not eligible for our Canadian title. Their belts will be up for grabs against another Canadian opponents. If for example Brigham fights in a WSOF card against an American his Canadian title is not on the line.

    I really don’t like the headline of AFC closes doors. I don’t see it like that at all. I have a new title and a new email address other than that it’s business as usual except for now our events will be run as WSOF Canada and the new tv deal on NBC Sports. If you have any specific questions feel free to email me at Darren@WSOFCanadaDOTcom and I’ll do my best to answer them.

    The plan is a few full on WSOF events per year in Canada featuring a lot if Canadian and US fighters much like the UFC cards in Canada and then some WSOF Canada cards in Canada featuring basically all Canadians much like how our AFC cards were except full a big upgrade in production so they meet the quality standards of NBC Sports.

    I hope that helps clear some things up.
    Fighters and managers looking to fight on the events can contact me as I will be matchmaking these cards. If you are interested in sponsorship contact Steve Fader at Steve@WSOFCanadaDOTcom

    “Awaiting Moderation”

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  41. BigPoppaPump says:

    Now that’s how you make a statement or follow up, Mr. Owens! Thank you and goodnight.

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  42. BOOBOO says:

    WHAT BULL SHIT , YOUR TELLN ME THEIR IS NO CHANCE IN HELL TO SEE RYAN FORD VS JOSH BERKMAN FOR THE 170 LB STRAP , CAUSE OF THIS USA , CANADA SECONDARY BULLSHIT. MAKE IT 1 FUCKN PROMOTION SO THIS CONFUSION OF BEING STRIPED OF YOUR TITLE CAUSE YOUR NOT CANADIAN , IS BULLSHIT !

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  43. Darren Owen says:

    Easy BOOBOO. IF a Canadian is a #1 contender for the WSOF WORLD TITLE than you could see a Ford vs Burkman WORLD title fight. If you check out the WSOF website there is a global table. It’s not stopping at Canada. Eventually you will see WSOF BRAZIL, WSOF UK, WSOF JAPAN etc. that’s when things will become interesting and the World Grand Prix will occur. Hence the name of the promotion WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING.

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  44. cdnmmeh says:

    Why does everyone think WSOF is such a great org and this is huge news. How many shows have they put on, and, how many shows did they cancel/postpone?

    It won’t be long until we hear that WSOF USA/International or whatever they want to call it, folds like a cheep lawn chair. Bigger and better shows have closed their doors (ie WEC)

    Problem is its a very difficult business model, and MMA fans think “how hard can it be” to put on a show.

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  45. Darren Owen says:

    WEC was bought out by the UFC for millions.

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  46. Demitri (trev) says:

    9/10 people on this site couldn’t write up a business modal for a 6 yr olds lemonade stand. Funny how they are chirping.

    I’m not sure whether this will be successful, but what I know is there is still MMA in Canada with this merge. Why bitch?

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  47. Buddy wells says:

    I’m really going to miss the afc it’s a shame mr Owen shit the bed and lost everything

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  48. The says:

    Big ups to the boys for gettin this deal done! Glad to hear Ryan’s got tht WSOF Canadian title, hopefully they can give him some match ups that put him in the spotlight and get some exposure! The aggression guys are stand up fellas :)

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  49. Darren Owen says:

    What have I lost Buddy Wells? I know I’ve gained the exposure of NBC Sports (80 million homes, biggest by far in Canada) and the production quality that comes with that to give the fighters way more exposure and the fans a way better experience.

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