Tonight marks the 32nd event for Titan FC, and the last one of this calendar year. Since taking over the organization, CEO Jeff Aronson has made great strides, most prominently in getting their shows a network television deal with CBS Sports. The roster is expanding, they hold shows monthly, they pay out finishing bonuses, have a Zuffa out clause and seem to keep their fighters happy, both with pay and regularly scheduled bouts. "Fans, fighters, first" is the promotion's motto, and it is taken very seriously at Titan.
Bloody Elbow spoke with Aronson yesterday to discuss what new developments and/or changes fight fans can expect in 2015, what he feels sets Titan apart from other promotions not named UFC and the friendship he's forged with Invicta president, Shannon Knapp. Here's what he had to say:
The Titan Way
I think the thing that people don't realize about Titan is that we are on a national platform. This year we've seen promotions getting slammed from every angle about what they've done, what they haven't done, how they treat fighters like shit, how they haven't fought them enough for the fighters to make a living, how they don't do what they say...you see none of that about Titan.
Fighters come to us because they want the opportunity to fight for Titan. We're known throughout the industry as the de facto place for the top prospects in the world and the best veteran fighters in the world who might have gone on a skid, to go and resurrect their career. We provide the audience with a way to connect with the fighters before they get into the UFC if they're a prospect, or get back to the UFC if they're a veteran. It's like they get to see tomorrow's hero today.
What's better than being able to say you were a fan of someone, take Jon Jones for instance, before they ever fought in the UFC? Ronda Rousey, or any of your favorite fighters. I believe we have those type stars in Titan right now. We are seeing a shift with guys that may have been stuck for 3 or 4 years in another promotion, have the primes of their career taken, come over to Titan and realize success, and still have an out for the UFC if the opportunity arises.
I love Shannon. She's a great representative, not only for WMMA, but for the sport in general. She's provided an absolutely phenomenal place for the female athletes to go. Hell, I even tried to buy Invicta and partner up with her. We weren't able to make it happen, but we ended up developing a friendship where she's supported our Titan events, I support her Invicta events. Our fans, fighters first mantra is something she has believed in from Day 1.
This is a tough business. You have to have a few close friends that you can rely on . When I'm dealing with a situation, Shannon is one of the people I go to for advice. She's always been helpful and is just a phone call away, and me for her, as well. I feel that she provides the best point of view around, without judgement and without selfish implications. She's the best.
The Future & Female Fighters
We don't have females signed to the roster right now, but Scott Cutbirth, who I've recently brought on, keeps getting on me about female fighters. Given Scott's pedigree and him knowing the female fighting landscape really well, I wouldn't be surprised to see some female fights on Titan in the near future.
2014 was a year a great year for us. Now, we're at the end of the year, looking forward to 2015, and I have no less than four offers on the table from big networks with massive platforms, looking to bring the Titan brand on with them. Right now, I'm reviewing these offers for negotiation. A year ago, I would have never expected these kinds of offers to come through. The future is looking very bright for Titan FC.
You can watch Titan's event tonight with undercard fights streaming on CBSSports.com at 7 pm EST and main card fights happening at 9 pm EST on CBS Sports Network (check your local cable guide for channel listing). The weigh-ins took place yesterday afternoon. The fight card with weigh-in results is as follows:
Wanye Ahlquist (156) vs. Nate Oses (154)- Lightweights
Johnny Campbell (141) vs. John Santos (141)
Main Card Will Air Live on the CBS Sports Network at 9ET.
Andre Harrison (145.5) vs. Aaron Neveu (143)- Featherweights
Nick Honstein (126) vs. Iliard Santos (125.5)- Flyweights
Milan Zerjal (153) vs. Ryan Quinn (155)- Lightweights
Rick Hawn (155.5) vs. Carlo Prater (154)- Lightweights :Co-Main Event
Desmond Green (145)* vs. Steven Siler (144.5)- Main Event for the Titan FC Featherweight Championship.
*Desmond Green had to cut off some of his hair to make weight after weighing at 145.5 initially.