One of Canada’s longest-running and most recognized MMA promotions is about to receive even more exposure.
Battlefield Fight League (BFL) was one of several promotions around the world to receive a UFC Fight Pass deal this past week, which will begin in 2021.
Over the last 10 years, BFL has established themselves as one of the frontrunners in Canadian MMA, and BFL president Jay Golshani credits the promotion’s ability to connect the fans to the fighters.
“Usually, when a new audience tunes in to watch a fight, they are less interested in the fight unless they know some sort of storyline or build-up to it,” Golshani said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“Nowadays, promotions don’t do enough to promote the storylines leading up to each bout. What we do, as a promotion, is work on building and refining a narrative about each fighter from the day they join our promotion. Our licensing deal with the UFC Fight Pass platform will have an immense effect on Canadian MMA fighters. Those narratives will now be adopted through the UFC Fight Pass platform, and all the fighters who graduate to the UFC through our platform will already have major marketing and exposure behind them once they join any of the major global promotions. This is something unprecedented for Canadian athletes.”
With the deal set to begin in the new year, Golshani said they have their sights on a return as soon as possible.
But with the uncertainty still surrounding COVID-19, a firm date and location has yet to be determined.
“We are currently exploring options to begin our Fight Pass deal in early 2021,” said Golshani.
“We will make a firm decision on where our first 2021 event will be held soon, as we are working with different commissions in Canada and the U.S.”
Golshani hopeful for more events than standard
With the new streaming deal in place, Golshani is excited for the future of MMA in British Columbia. He feels there could be an opportunity to hold more events in a typical calendar year.
“We have been averaging seven or eight events each year for the past 10 years, excluding 2020,” Golshani said.
“I would think, with all the COVID safety protocols, it would be safe to say that we will only be holding the same number of events in 2021. However, we do plan to increase the number of events once COVID is over. The location of our future events is something we would have to discuss with the UFC Fight Pass team. We plan to do events in Canada and potentially the Pacific Northwest. The one key difference will likely be much less Saturday night events and more Friday night events because we obviously don’t want to hold events on the same nights as the UFC.”
UFC president Dana White mentioned on a recent UFC broadcast that he was looking to add more promotions to the UFC Fight Pass platform in order to continue building talent on the regional scene.
Golshani and BFL were one of the promotions to benefit from White’s statement, but Golshani said he’s unable to reveal the details of how the deal came to fruition.
“Some of the contractual agreements and negotiations done with the UFC are confidential,” Golshani said.
“We are not allowed to discuss the terms and details of our negotiations.
What I can share is that our past fight library will not be on UFC Fight Pass. All the events starting in 2021 will be streamed live and available after on the UFC Fight Pass platform.”
For several years, BFL has been consistent with broadcasting their events via their own pay-per-view platform.
Golshani said he and his team like to be in full control of the content being broadcasted, but said the UFC Fight Pass team is only going to make things better for them.
“One of our keys has always been to control the narrative during our broadcast. We have turned away different licensing deals in the past because we did not want to give up control over our production,” Golshani said.
“The UFC Fight Pass team will obviously help, offer advice, and oversee our production to ensure we are meeting their required standards. However, we have control over the marketing and the storylines leading up to and during our broadcast, as long as it meets the guidelines of the UFC Fight Pass team.”
“First and foremost, we would like to thank Mr. Crowley and Tecce from the Fight Pass team for their advice and guidance over the past 90 days. We would also like to thank Carolyn for all the hard work she has put in the last nine years with UFC Canada to help the sport grow in Canada. We would like to thank Mr. Patel from the Canadian side of the UFC for believing in our company. We are grateful for all the hard work Stephanie puts in on the communications side with the UFC. We would like to thank the UFC for their endless work here in Canada. They played a key roll in re-legalizing the sport here in B.C. back in 2010. They have continued to work with the commissions globally to put protocols in place to increase the safety for all the athletes that compete. We would especially like to thank all the martial arts schools in British Columbia for believing in our team over the past 10 years. Without their support and belief that we would come through on our promises, we would not be here today.”