This is something Luke mentioned today too: More and more guys from different sports are coming into MMA. While I don’t know if I like some of these guys treating fighting as a side-hobby, I can’t argue with the financial sense it makes for promoters, especially in Montreal where hockey is second only to bad house music as things french people love. TKO’s Stephan Patry is at the head of the hockey player influx into MMA, bringing in several guys including famed enforcer Steve Bosse:
In preparation for his MMA debut Bossé trained with Marc Colangelo (BJJ purple belt) and Stephane Dube. Prior to his fight starting Bossé’s popularity was evident as many of the fans in attendance were there supporting him. After garnering one of the largest receptions of the night Colangelo said, “I mean he is really the crowd favorite tonight. I believe there is probably 2,000 tickets sold just to watch Bossé fight. There is probably people here who were never mixed martial arts fans in the past but they are tonight.” The training paid off as Bossé stopped his opponent David Fraser early in the first round, utilizing his heavy hands and good sprawl.
In an attempt to further his evolution as a mixed martial artist, Bosse has boarded a plane with Dube to spend a month in Phuket, Thailand working on his Muay Thai and mixed martial arts skills. Whether or not this pays off will become evident at TKO 30: Apocalypse, when Bossé takes on Lance Evans.
Out in Western Canada, MFC’s Mark Pavelich has applied the same strategy but with football players, poaching half a dozen players from the Edmonton Eskimos and forcing the Canadian Football League to clarify their position regarding players fighting during offseason:
CFL contracts aren’t guaranteed, meaning the team can release any athlete, for any reason, and stop paying him on the spot. So Maciocia sees no way to control the off-field hobbies of his players.
“If someone chooses to do something like that, what are you going to do?” he said. “What are you doing? Are you going to null-and-void his contract? We can already do that now. It’s just like a company having a drug policy. The company can prohibit drugs, but do they test? I mean, do you really know if your employee is taking any substances?”
“How do you control it? I don’t know how you control it.”
In the end, I’m happy with the crossover that seems to be happening between mixed martial arts and other mainstream sports. It’s good exposure and opens the sport up to people who might not otherwise check it out. I know that us MMA fans like to think our sport is the toughest and takes years and years to master, but the truth is these guys walk in at peak physical condition with the mental hardness needed to compete at a professional level. They don’t have to work 11 hour shifts at the glue factory like you do … they just throw a couple thousand bucks at Shawn Tompkins or Greg Jackson or whoever’s ‘hot’ at the moment and spend 6 months balls deep in training.