It was officially announced this week that Premier FC would be making its return to action after a year and half hiatus on September 18th. Premier FC 31 will take place in their home venue at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, and from the sounds of it, Karyn Wesch and team will be making their comeback in historic style.
Not only will the event feature the return of Pat "Gorilla Ninja" Casey to his hometown, but it will also showcase something that has never been done in regulated MMA in New England before; an 8-man single night tournament. The promotion announced this week that they'll bring in 8 lightweights to compete for one of the biggest paychecks ever seen on the regional MMA circuit.
The format will pit 8 different lightweights from around the country against each other over the course of a single night. The first and second rounds of the tournament will be 1 round bouts, while the championship match will be a full 3 round affair. The first 2 rounds will be considered exhibition bouts and will not count against a fighter's professional record, but the championship fight will be considered an "official bout".
Matchups will be picked out of a hat at weigh-ins the day before the event, and if a winning fighter cannot continue, then they'll draw a name out of a hat from the group of losers to take their place in the tournament. The winning fighters will need to not only want to continue in the tournament, but they'll also need to be cleared by the ring-side physician as well. The random drawing of names for matchups will help distance the promotion from being accused of setting up a fighter to succeed, and really is the only way to handle a tournament like this.
This is by far one of the most unique things that a promotion has done in our region....maybe ever, and I give the Premier FC team major kudos for thinking outside of the box, and creating something that harkens back to the original days of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts when competitors would compete in grueling single-night tournaments in order to be crowned champions.
There are so many things to consider when entering a competition like this, but with the pay day at the end of the road for this tournament, it is well worth the risk for many regional MMA fighters. It will undoubtedly be a grueling night for whomever throws down in the 3 round main event, and it will truly showcase the best, most well-rounded 155ers on the regional scene.
Wesch also made comment recently that this will the first of many single-night tournaments, as they are hoping to run this format for each weightclass in the future. If Premier FC can pull this feat off without any major hiccups, then they will make a serious statement here in New England, and will certainly create intrigue and entertainment value here on the New England MMA scene.