It’s back to work for amateur fighters across the Maritimes as the East Coast’s top MMA organization, Fight League Atlantic, returns with FLA 2 tomorrow night in Moncton, N.B.
If it wasn’t already hard enough getting an MMA promotion off the ground, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made things more difficult for Fight League Atlantic co-promoter Derek Clarke. Despite the challenges, hard work and determination has kept Fight League Atlantic moving forward and putting on high-quality events like FLA 2.
“It’s a crazy, full-time job. Operations are done by Jon and I. We pretty much look after the majority of stuff and we have a production team that’s about 10 deep.” Clarke said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“It’s a lot of work and, to be honest, the majority of the social media is done by me directly. We own pretty much all of our own gear when it comes to production stuff. Everything is in house, so it’s a lot easier that way. We take a lot of pride in our production. For a couple of bums from small town Nova Scotia we really pull it off.”
The hard work has paid off for Clarke and the crew at Fight League Atlantic as the promotion has been steadily growing and didn’t take long to mark their place as one of Canada’s best.
While tapping into the abundance of talent the Maritimes has to offer, Fight League Atlantic has made itself a big part of the community.
“We do take a lot of pride being out here on the East Coast,” Clarke said.
“I truly believe that nothing is possible without community and it takes a lot of different businesses that are struggling and people to come out and support our events. There’s a certain feeling when you’re around a community that loves this stuff. And we’re used to being underdogs here on the East Coast. We really take a lot of pride in building it up and getting to the level of BFL, Unified and BTC who are putting on great shows. Eventually, hopefully within the next year, we can show people we’re on that level too.”
Clarke, a black belt in jiu-jitsu and a steady athlete, knows the type of sacrifices the fighters make and the hard work that goes into reaching the highest level.
That’s why Fight League Atlantic is built around developing fighters and growing the sport of MMA while putting on great entertainment for fans across Canada. This weekend’s event should get the wheels turning as they look to put on as many events as possible.
“We’re all about giving opportunities to people that deserve opportunities, people that work hard and represent the sport well. We want to develop fighters and work with them while we develop our brand and grow their careers and take them to the next level,” Clarke explained.
“We’d love to see fighters have a few amateur fights for us in a year and then make the jump to pro in our organization as well, then eventually move on to wherever they need to be. It’s all about developing athletes we can work with and that we like, ones that fight well and want to grow with our brand. Pro fights are very important to us as well, so we plan to have at least four shows and three Kumites next year. It’s exciting.”
Tomorrow night will be a great opportunity for two East Coast prospects to take that next step Fight League Atlantic is looking to provide.
In the main event, the vacant amateur heavyweight title will be on the line as Hank Anderson (3-2) and Jordan Noseworthy (3-3) square off. Every win in the careers of Noseworthy and Anderson have come by TKO in round one.
“It should be a great fight,” Clarke said.
“It’s an interesting one too because Hank comes from a boxing background. He has very heavy hands and he’s taking on Jordan who’s a big boy himself, but Jordan is a lot lankier and fights at a bit of a distance, so we’ll see what happens. It’s a good Maritimes battle for the title also; Newfoundland vs. New Brunswick. We’re excited about that one; two big guys who are definitely going to meet in the middle and we’ll probably see some fireworks.”
The action all goes down at the Moncton Coliseum. With an MMA community starving for an occasion and a main event set to deliver, the excitement has reached its peak for what is guaranteed to be a great night of fights.
“The rest of the card looks great also. Everyone has been working really hard, we haven’t lost a fight (knock on wood), so that’s 10 total,” Clarke said.
“There’s some really high-level amateur fights I think people will be really impressed with. Add in the production value and it makes for a pretty good way to spend a Saturday night.”
“All of our sponsors have been very important throughout the pandemic and it’s helped us move forward in a positive way. They’ve all been great to deal with and we look forward to working with them on our future events.”