Looking to start with a bang: Fight League talks about Inaugural Event

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For anyone who has ever driven to Truro, Nova Scotia, you will see signs calling it The Hub of the province.   The reason for that is every major road and rail line helps centralize leading to bigger towns in Nova Scotia and to other parts of Canada.  A new MMA promotion is hoping it can build a Hub of its own and move forward as Fight League Atlantic is set to hold their inaugural event this Saturday night at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.  This will be Nova Scotia’s first full mixed martial arts event since the UFC came here just under three years ago. When asked why the company decided to choose Truro as the spot for its first event, the location was ideal along with past experience.  

“The venue is in the middle of the province so it’s good for people to travel  and I have done a lot of past events there and the place is a world class venue for what we want to do,” says Derek Clarke, Co-Promoter for Fight League Atlantic 

“Oddly enough one of my top ticket sellers when it comes to fighters is from PEI and he has sold 40 tickets himself from the Summerside area, so that is a great start.  We will have the local community as well along with other parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick I even heard some people from Saskatchewan and Ontario are going to be flying out as well so that’s great.”

While Clarke may be the new when it comes to the world of mixed martial arts, he is no stranger to the world of combat sports.  For years Clarke ran Submission Sub Series which brought premier Jiu Jitsu/Grappling events to Nova Scotia, as well as other parts of Canada.  While he brought in top talent which included some of the top competitors in Jiu Jitsu along with a slew of current and former UFC fighters, he has also done different styles of  events like a 16 men kumite tournament and even went as far to do a tag team tournament as well. When asked why he wanted to make the transition from grappling to MMA, the answer was simple.  

“It was just a gradual progression from what I was doing before,” says Clarke

“I am hoping just to light the MMA scene on fire like I did with the Jiu Jitsu scene. It’s a challenge you know to see if we can do it.  We got a good team, myself and (Jon) Foster believe we are good hustlers so I hope that we can do it.”

For the card itself, the event has 12 fights currently scheduled on the card with four on the professional side and eight in amateur.  The card is headlined by Shawn Wallace as he will be facing Ryan Rohovich at welterweight while TKO veteran Jesse Arnett will square off against Elite 1 Bantamweight Champion Adam Burke MacDougall.  As for trying to find the right fighters for the inaugural card, it was as simple as some wanted it more than others.

“With a lot of the fighters they wanted an opportunity and it also with a lot of the guys like Shawn it was availability, “says Clarke.

“With Jesse, he actually contacted us after TKO went on hiatus?  I am not too sure what is going on with them and with Adam being signed with them as well it gave us the chance to make this fight. With number two in the country and number 15 so that worked great. We got a lot of new people entering the sport who did well in Grappling or Jiu Jitsu.  We also went through a lot of people so like we went through 20 people to find a fight for Shawn so while we had a lot of fighters ready, it was also tough with things like injury and travel.”

While any promoter will tell you it’s never easy to book a card, the promotion has put in a lot of work to help give the fans a great experience.  With Submission Sub Series, Clarke broadcasted each show online and this will be no exception. He has even landed former Bellator/UFC commentator Jimmy Smith will be calling the action alongside former UFC veteran Chris Kelades for the play by play duties.

While broadcasting brings on a whole new set of challenges, this will be the 1st time Clarke has had to work with a local commission as grappling doesn’t need to be regulated by a governing body. While making sure all the set regulations are placed so the event can actually go off with a hitch, the promotion is looking at this by using the method of trying to keep things as simple as possible.

“We are coming into this new, but we are two guys who are pretty smart into understanding how it works but also smart enough to know there is one way to go about this,” says Clarke.

“We are going to do it the way the commission wants it done and we want to make sure that when it’s done that they are so happy with us that he helps move this forward in a better way and do more events.”

If you want to check out the show, limited tickets are still available through the promotion’s website and TicketPro along with the full fight card.  Top MMA News will also be covering the event as well.

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