Although 2020 didn’t go as planned, Fight League Atlantic (FLA) is looking to hit the ground running in 2021.
FLA, Canada’s newest MMA promotion, burst onto the scene with their inaugural event in February, which was headlined by a bantamweight bout between Jesse Arnett and Adam MacDougall.
And while their plans for three shows in 2020 were derailed due to COVID-19, FLA co-owner Jon Foster said the plans are in place for an MMA return early in 2021.
“We’re hoping for February or May. If February looks good, we’ll try for then. If May is what’s going to look best, we’ll push for that date,” said Foster in an interview with MMA Empire.
“We’d be looking at a 25 per cent capacity venue. If we use the Rath (Eastlink Community Centre) in Truro, we’d be looking at maybe 500 to 800 ticket sales, a pay-per-view, and a crew of 100 to run the show.”
While it won’t be the norm going forward, Foster said he expects the first event back to contain strictly local fighters from within the “Atlantic bubble,” which was a measure put in place throughout Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick to help limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout the provinces. Although the Atlantic bubble has since been dismantled, it’s expected to only be temporary.
“I’d be very shocked if our first show back we were able to look outside the Atlantic bubble,” said Foster.
“Even if it’s an all-amateur show, we can try and build up some momentum and just do it smart.”
Outside of two amateur shows in Quebec over the summer, the last full MMA event held in Canada was back in the beginning of March.
Given the lower population of Nova Scotia, the home province of FLA, and the surrounding provinces, along with the success the Atlantic bubble saw over the summer, Foster said he believes there’s a strong chance they’ll be the first Canadian promotion to host an event in 2021.
“We’ve definitely been being proactive throughout this whole shutdown, and doing everything we can to be the first ones back,” said Foster.
Building off success of grappling event
Despite not being able to gain approval from the commission to sanction an MMA event on the date, FLA hosted a successful grappling event on Oct. 24.
Foster said the entire event ran smoothly and safely, and gave them the confidence they can run an MMA event in the same fashion.
“It went awesome. We had a good setup, as far as facility, we kept a skeleton crew, and each group was separated into two parts of the building. We had staff put in place that were directing from out back to the access to the next part of the building, and at the edge of the mats as well, so there was no crossover. We just did the masks everywhere else, everyone had their temperature checked, and we kept a log of arrivals and temperatures as they arrived,” said Foster.
“Everyone was really happy to compete, everyone was easy to work with, and everyone put on a f**king wicked show. Everyone just brought it so hard.”
Although 2020 will be a year to forget for many people around the world, there is hope on the horizon with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine expected in January.
And while it remains to be seen how long a return to normal life arrives, Foster said when that day comes, people can expect big things from FLA.
“We’ve talked to so many different guys through our podcast, and we have the connections to really pull some great talent. As we progress, we’re going to be able to increase the amount we spend on purses, so we’re going to be able to increase the level of talent,” said Foster.
“We’re looking to bring it. Whether it’s amateur or professional, we want to be doing three to five shows a year in Atlantic Canada, and then grow from there. We got into this thing to become the best there is out here, and just keep going.”
“We just want to give a shoutout to everyone who’s been following our podcast and showing us love. FLA is something we really want to grow for the sport in Atlantic Canada and Canada, and first and foremost for the athletes. We want to get these guys performing and building their careers.” Follow FLA on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM