May 28, 2009
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Chad Davis is excited about Columbus.
As sales and marketing director for Ring Media Group, it''s Davis'' job to find new markets to showcase mixed martial arts, one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Davis believes he has found one in The Friendly City -- and at just the right time.
"Columbus doesn''t have a lot going on. With (Mississippi State) close by and in the offseason, there is not a lot of going on," Davis said. "Mississippi State keeps fans pretty occupied most of the year, so for the local sports fans there is not a lot going on."
Davis hopes Ring Rulers will be able to help fill that void at 8 p.m. Friday night when it presents "Chaos in Columbus" at the Trotter Convention Center in downtown Columbus.
The doors open at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $25.
The multi-bout amateur mixed martial arts event will feature fighters from throughout the Southeast, including several from the local area. More on the local participants will appear in Friday''s edition.
Davis said Ring Rulers is the largest amateur MMA organization in the country. The group is putting on its first fight in the Columbus area in hopes of building a following for a sport that has gained a lot of attention through Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), its pay-per-view events, and its broadcasts on cable television.
The group also has a show planned for July 10 at the Trotter Convention Center.
Friday''s event will feature fights in a cage, just like UFC. Davis said fans should not expect boxing or kickboxing, but a combination of the two skills, plus a whole lot more.
"Pro fighters don''t draw that large outside their region, so it''s important to build an amateur fight base," Davis said. "As the amateurs mature to the pro levels, we then will be able to use them regionally."
Davis said the Ring Media Group has been in business for about six years. It originated in Dallas, Texas, and is now located in Shreveport, La.
Frank Goodman, the director of the Trotter Convention Center, said the venue is just one of several boxing and/or mixed martial arts events that the venue has played host to in the past year. He said the Ring Rulers production is "pretty big" and that he feels the group will do a good job.
"The way the economy and things are we need to be diversified," Goodman said. "(Local boxing and martial arts trainer/coach and businessman) Oliver Miller went before the council and requested (we do more sports events at the Trotter). It has been good. We have had good crowd for the ones in the past with 300-500 people. These events are good ways to promote the local boxers and the mixed martial arts fighters."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.