With UFC Norfolk just around corner, it’s no secret that the Hampton Roads section of Virginia, with it’s booming military population, is a blossoming hotbed for Mixed Martial Arts talent and fandom. Soon there will be a new professional promotion providing a platform to showcase some of that East Coast talent. That promotion is called Spartyka Fight League, and the active duty military founder, Jimi Partyka, is the brains behind the operation. Partyka has successfully ran 31 amateur Spartyka events dating back to 2010, and now looks to host the company’s first ever pro event on January 27, 2018.
Before gearing up for this weekend’s UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Pettis in Norfolk, VA, Partyka caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss the shift from an amateur show to a professional one, talk about how his military background influences his events, and what he hopes the future will hold for the East Coast’s freshest prossional promotion.
***Spartyka Fight League events are commentated by Bloody Elbow’s own Eddie Mercado.
- On top of being involved in all thing Spartyka, you’re still active duty military right?
“Yes, still on active duty and currently the Senior Enlisted Leader at Center For Security Force at Little Creek base in Virginia Beach, Virginia.”
- What brought you to the 757 to begin with?
“The US Navy stationed me here.”
- How did you get involved in the MMA world?
“Spartyka started as a clothing brand, and after a little over a year of local MMA fighters wearing my brand, I noticed that there was a void in Hampton Roads for a professionally-ran MMA promotion. In September of 2010, I applied for a business license for Spartyka Fight League, and SFL-1 "The Arrival" was held on December 4, 2010 at the Fieldhouse in Virginia Beach.”
- SFL has been used many local venues throughout the 757, but it appears that your events are exclusively held at the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University now:
“The Ted Constant Center is the home of Spartyka Fight League. As of the 31 events we have hosted, we have done 25 of them at the Ted Constant Center. It’s been almost three consecutive years since we have hosted anywhere outside of the Ted Constant Center.”
- Your previous SFL events are theme-based, such as, “TKO for Ta Ta's” and “Fight for the Warriors.” What compels you to use your platform to put out a positive message?
“Being three generations military, it is important for me to recognize those that have served, those that have been injured, and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this great country.”
- Your past SFL events can be seen on the Spartyka YouTube channel, and you amateur events appear to have a rather high production value. Why put such an emphasis on a pro-level production for ammy events?
“We wanted to separate ourselves from other promotions by hosting the biggest amateur show in the region, if not the country, and consistently trying to improve with every event until we were finally ready to host our first Pro/Am show. ... I think we are ready since our first PRO/AM is on January 27th.”
- What prompted the switch to pro?
“We always wanted to step into that side of MMA and we have built some great ammy fighters over the years, but we wanted the transition to be done when we were ready, and not try to do it too fast and end up out of business.”
- What's are some of the differences between hosting a pro event vs. an amateur one?
“For SFL internally, we are looking at a lot of differences, such has having two sanctioning bodies. For ammy, the state doesn’t attend, but for pro they will be here. The rest is contracts, increased admin, higher insurance, applying for a promoters license, etc.”
- What does SFL 32 Pro/AM have in store?
“Biggest Fight card we have ever had with a lot of returning fighters that have helped build the brand over the years.”
- Who will be fighting in the main event?
“Brandon "The Janitor" Pennington vs. Mitch "The Smashin Frog" Aguiar.”
- How can people buy tickets to SFL 32?
“Through the Ted Constant Center.”
- Will the next Spartyka event be Pro/Am as well?
“The next event, SFL 33, will be held in the Spring and we look to also have that as a Pro/Am.”
- How many more events are you planning on putting on next year?
“We are looking to host another five SFL events in 2018.”
- What are your goals for the promotion?
“Grow the brand, TV deal, and continue to provide fighters an amazing platform, while putting MMA in Hampton Roads on the map.”
- How can people stay up to date on all things Spartyka?
SFL on YouTube: