Getting to know Jared Williams and Conflict MMA

By | March 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm | No comments | Boxing, Fighter Interviews

Conflict MMA Promotion out of SC; with it’s recent Fight Night at the Point that we just watched on the 25th of February is a promotion that seems to be getting a lot of attention and we’re here to get the full scoop on the promotion, the team behind it, and what’s next to come for Conflict MMA and South Carolina MMA. Jared Williams is the matchmaker behind the action. A man with a similar plan to us; to help develop the growth of the sport of MMA. After speaking with Jared on the phone for a short conversation we instantly knew this could be a good step for both of our companies. Now we will sit with Jared and hear how it all started and what’s next.

 

***********************

Jason Przewoznik: Jared! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share with us a bit about Conflict MMA Promotions. I usually interview fighters and you’re going to be the first promotion we actually get the inside scoop on, but before we do we have to stick to KnockoutLounge’s mission – to hear everyone’s story! Can you tell us a bit about who Jared Williams is and what led you to promoting MMA fights?

Jared Williams: Thanks Jason for the introduction and taking the time for the interview. As you stated, I am the matchmaker for Conflict MMA Promotions and I also own a MMA fighter management company, Palmetto Sports Management.

My start in this industry began in 2010 after I recommended a management company to a couple regional fighters and I wasn’t impressed with the way the guys were marketed or treated. I decided to open a “fighter first” approach to management. The strategy was embraced by the fighters and we started traveling all over the South and North East through 2010/2011. During this time I was able to work with guys like Derrick Mehmen (Strikeforce), Mark Hunt (UFC 135/144), Jeff Monson (Fedor Fight), Jason Hicks (XFC 13), Kelly Anundson (Lions FC) and many more incredible fighters all over the world. During the traveling and meeting new promoters I started help match making fights in NC, SC, GA, and PA. It was always nature to evaluate talent, but this was even better. I now was evaluating everyone to try to find the most exciting fights. One of the first companies I helped match make MMA for was Palmetto Boxing Promotions. Andrew Stokes and I hit it off and enjoyed the unique match-ups I was able to make in Columbia, SC. We continued to produce quality MMA fights  at a boxing event and then started discussing the possibility of teaming up in Charleston and bringing a level consistancy of MMA promoting unseen before in Charleston, SC. With the “fighter first” approach still being the methodology, the shows have been a success. May 26th, 2012 will be our 5th event in less than a year. We are proud to market the fighters with THE BEST fight promotions in the state for fighters. Our event posters are unrivaled (See below for February’s Event’s Poster) , we also purchase ad space EVERYWHERE with fighter pictures so they can hopefully gain exposure, sponsorship, and let the fan base know who to keep an eye on in the local scene. I’m talking billboards, buses, TV, Radio, social media…we go Viral 1/2 months before each event.

JP: Wow Jared, very well put; and clearly shows why you ARE the best promotion in the state! I did notice the billboards, videos, and facebook promotions a month prior to the February fight and was definitely shocked at how everything turned out. There’s so much we can talk about through your career; but the focal point is Conflict MMA – before I dive into Conflict and it’s complete details; I would like to ask if you could share some of your war stories, good and bad throughout your Sports Management company. Care to share?

JW: I am sure you can attest to this but when you are doing something you love it never seems like work.

My highest moment so far in this sport was working with Jason Hicks. Jason is an undefeated ammy (5-0) and when I met him he had just made his pro debut and won via submission. He and I entered into an agreement and Jason quickly rattled off another win. I received a call about John Prisco with the XFC holding an open fighter tryout around July-2010 with some of the best fighters from Florida down in Brandon. Jason, 2 other fighters and myself hit the road in hopes that we could find where Jason level set amongst other incoming regional and some national talent. Jason goes on to be the co-winner of the try out with a young phenom Mike Milmerstadt. The stage was set for XFC 13 on December 3rd, 2010 for Milmerstadt vs Hicks on HDNET and a 5 fight contract with the XFC. December was here before we knew it and roughly 40+ of Jason Hicks fans/family/friends were in attendance after a 7 hour drive. Jason came out with a determinded look on his face and a training camp where he gained around 10% muscle mass to compete with Milmerstadt’s stout frame at 150lbs. Right before the fight started John Prisco motioned me over to him and asked me “Are you nervous? Your boy is about to fight”. I remember looking at him with full confidence and saying, “not really, he is about to knockout your kid in the first round”. John responded, “Well okay then, we will see”. The fight starts, shots are traded and Milmerstadt throws a head-kick looking for the finish. Jason blocked the kick, slipped a straight right through his opponents defense and the fight was ended 1:30sec of the 1st round. I remember having to walk away because my boys would’ve pulled my man card if they seen my tears coming out over a guy fighting. To cap off the win, I walked back over to Prisco and said, “Sorry to say, I told you so”; yet I had no idea it was going down like that. While Jason has always had KO power, he had never recorded a KO before. 6 out of 7 previous wins have came via submission and one decision. It was an epic win for Jason. His fight team Full Force Fight Club and for a promotion we truly respect in the XFC.

Jason is now currently a 3-0 Pro and competes in Charleston May 26th. If there is a “battle” that always is a challenge to conquer it; it would be the sponsorship battle. I have come to the conclusion, be over prepared and expect the worst. I always keep back plans for back plans on fight shorts, shirts, banners, corner kits, etc.

The most memorable experience was with Mark Hunt UFC 135 sponsorship. We agreed for me to work his sponsorship about 3 or 4 weeks prior to the event. I received Mark’s gear as he was in route from ATT Coconut Creek, Florida then to Denver, CO. We lost communication when he landed in Denver and all I had was an address to a condo but no phone number, condo number or anything. It was 4 days before the fight and I had to pull out all the stops and send the gear and banner blindly to the building. There was no listed number for this building and I was unsure there was even a front desk. After some Google magic and several calls I received a call from the owner of the building. He asked me how I managed to find an unlisted phone number to him; and he said he was so impressed I found him that he would personally deliver the packages to Hunt himself. I guess that was  possibly a bad situation that then turned into an incredibly rewarding weekend as we held our 3rd event in Charleston and Hunt defeated Ben Rothwell via decision!

JP: Very interesting man. I didn’t know the depth of your stories, just our chats here and there. I also didn’t know Jared had a soft side!! Haha. Do you currently manage Jason? Do manage other fighters as well or do you spend most of your time focusing on Conflict now?

JW: Yes, we do manage Jason along with several other fighters. I split my time currently between matchmaking our shows and management. I enjoy both aspects and it keeps me in tuned to the fighters needs, not just the promoters. I embrace the middle man role, nothing is better than running a successful promotion with great matched fights and have the promoter walk away happy with a profit and having the fighters walk away (win or loss) leaving excited that they were able to compete at our event. Another rewarding aspect is helping the amateurs gain regional exposure and helping the pros work there way up the ranks and position themselves for a shot to move from regional exposure to the national spotlight.

JP: Very true, and with that mission that’s what brings us here today; Conflict MMA is a great promotion that’s known for being South Carolina’s best. You mentioned a few positive aspects of it throughout the introduction; but let’s get a little more in depth. You are the matchmaker for Conflict; what exactly is it that you do – how do you match up fights and where do you find your talent?

JW: My South Carolina state given title is “matchmaker”. I think more of my role as a facilitator. I manage our sponsorship team for the events, match make, coordinate production aspects, and any other odd and end jobs we conjure up.

Here is a simplified version explaining the actual process for matchmaking for a typical match up will have me attending a regional prospect’s fight months prior to our event. I take note of their background, sportsmanship, and marketability.

Once I go to actually write the card (pairing the fighters for the event); I will begin taking my notes and looking for what I consider the best match ups. My favorite matchups are well versed fighters who look to stand, but who may have different disciplines. An example may be finding a really good Kickboxer to fight a Muay Thai fighter. Both guys want to stand and bang, but the differences in the martial arts typically leave an opening for shots to be landed.

Our talent currently comes all over the east coast. In just 4 events we have had fighters from over 10 states, 3 countries, and will be looking to expand our international fighter base in 2012. When I look for pro fighters to compete I am looking for rising stars. I would love to look back in a few years and see tons of fighters that used our show as a pedestal to get to the big shows like the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, XFC etc. As we approach our events being televised this year I am confident that this would provide the fighters an unrivaled opportunity to gain a larger footprint in the MMA marketplace in South Carolina.

JP: Fight Night At the Point, which we’ve seen on February 25th with 3 of the Striker Fighters that I’ve worked with on that card… How would you describe the atmosphere and what Conflict brings to the world of MMA. Also, what’s next for Conflict and yourself?

JW: The vibe you get at our events are great. The fans are engaged, energetic and appreciative of the athletes competing. Most of the “Charlestonians” have never seen ‘MMA live and I love walking by and hearing people say “there is no way I would get in there with that guy” or “this is so much better live than on tv”. We also carry a 20-30% crowd from cities within a 2 hr radius which makes for some guys coming out to a “hometown crowd” and are not from Charleston.

We are currently expanding into other cities in South Carolina. Our sister promotion (Palmetto Boxing) has been hosting events in Columbia for 14 years so it only makes sense to continue to promote in The Capitol city. Our goal is to hold a show in 4-5 cities in South Carolina rotating on a monthly basis and providing a quality event for each city to generate revenue on a quarterly basis.

JP: That’s awesome man; and I really hope to see it’s expansion! So what’s coming forth in the near future? When is the next event and can you share any details at this time?

JW: I can share some info with you buy the rest everyone can follow on Conflict MMA Promotions on Facebook for the latest news. This [past] Saturday, March 24th, in Columbia, SC Palmetto Boxing host[ed] the Golden Gloves boxing tournament, then on May 26th we return to Charleston with Fight Night @ the Point 5. The fight card will include pro-fighter Victor Ditola after his 15 sec KO in Feb, Mike Corvino, XFC vet Jason Hicks, a huge heavyweight bout between Jeremy Stevens and John Juarez and 14 more matchups w/ non stop action.

JP: That’s great and thanks for sharing that man!! We’ll make sure everyone gets to following to catch the rest of the action. Before I let you go; I do have to get to the good stuff! First, as a matchmaker, manager, and a guy who’s been involved with all sides of MMA… What would you say to up and coming fighters, promoters, managers, or anyone in the fight game? What’s your inspiration and how can you help them further motivate themselves?

JW: The best advice I can give to the upcoming team of fighters, managers, trainers for MMA is to know this sport is still very immature and to expect change in the future. As a promoter/matchmaker/manager I am constantly trying to stay ahead of rules changes and what happens behind the scene in the major MMA promotions. I know the fight for our rights that the UFC, Bellator, XFC etc are working on a daily basis are shaping our future.

We strive to be innovative and persistant in our approach everyday to promoting everyday. I can only hope that we will be fortunate enough to surround our show with fighters that have the same work ethic.

JP: Great; definitely the must cut and dry advice – which is what fighters, especially the up and comers need to know! Because this is still an interview, and we like to have a little fun… Who is your favorite super hero and why?

JW: I was a fan of the comic book antihero growing up “The Punisher”. The Punisher story line was simple, the mob killed his wife and kids. Castle (the Punisher) chose to take an eye for an eye approach to avenge their murders. This was easier for me to imagine as a kid versus believing in something like Superman. I was always drawn to the more “realistic” type of fictional characters. Even on video fighting games, I preferred games like Virtua Fighter and Tekken over Mortal Combat or Street Fighter.

Admission of a nerd**** At one point I collected all of the 41 issues of the “Punisher War Zone” until they were stolen as a kid.  (HAHA, Jared’s a nerd!)

JP: Completely agree, and you even included a picture of the Punisher comic book! You sir, get bonus points! Haha. Jared “The Punisher” Williams also has a clever ring to it… Just saying. Well Jared, I thank you for your time and sharing what it is you do for the MMA community as well as Conflict MMA and it’s upcoming events ; is there anyone you’d like to give shout outs to, any special thanks, or anything further you’d like to share?

JW: Thanks for your time also and the exposure KO Lounge is bringing to fighters, trainers, managers, and promoters.

Id like to thank all of our event sponsors for Conflict MMA promotions, my partner Andrew Stokes with Palmetto Boxing Promotions, my right hand man DJ Wright, Bryan Santee of MMA Connects, Houston Murphy of Born2Bang Athletics, Eddie Phipps Attorney at Law, Lisa Webb And Juan Guevera of Striker Fight Center, Full Force Fight Club, and our rock solid sponsors for Palmetto Sports Management- Hayabusa, Affliction, RealWater, Lexani, MusclePharm, Cageside MMA, Arsenl Threads, Virgil Kaine Bourbon, EastCoast Trucking

JP: Great Jared, I thank you for everything. I hope to see a lot come out of our relationship and look forward to helping out the guys you work with as well!! Make sure you keep in touch!

JW: Jason- thank you and look forward to the future and ill let you know as some of the things i am working on come to fruition.

Jason Przewoznik is the owner of KnockoutLounge.com. KnockoutLounge.com was created to provide a haven for up and coming Mixed Martial Artists to share their stories and their careers with the fans; Supporting ALL fighters on the rise in a not-for-profit community.
Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Comments

© 2014 KnockoutLounge. All rights reserved.