Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
New England - The rumors have been flowing in the community, from Plymouth to Providence, from Bangor down to Portland and from Manchester to Springfield west, a new trio cageside, a new page to follow, a new logo and rumors of a new website. Well the time has come New England MMA fans; we here at NewEnglandMMA.org are proud to bring you the fruits of our labor, a comprehensive collection of our regions Mixed Martial Arts history to go along with the most up to date collection of current news and information at your fingertips. This thing is for you; our community, if you are reading this there is a good chance you are already familiar with most of our work, but we assure you this is just the beginning and you are invited along for the ride. We intend to bring you something that has long been deserved and needed, a one stop shop, the place to go for New England MMA coverage across the board, something we can all contribute to and all enjoy the successes of. We agree this venture will take so much more than me and my two partners could ever dream but with the help and support of our tight knit community we can build something we can all be proud of, something that stands for us; the New England MMA community and our love for our sport and most of all our athletes!
Now as I have already alluded to this thing didn't happen overnight, nope, like all good fairytales this one too has a backstory. And this story’s opening bell takes place much like many other New England MMA stories of its time; at Plymouth Memorial Hall, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Now, picture this if you will? It is quite literally my first night as a member of the New England MMA media, and at the time, referring to me as such could have very well been stretching the guidelines. I had attended several local MMA events in the past, I had a few friends who trained and even I trained briefly myself, but for the most part my MMA experience consisted of watching UFC fights with my buddies on the weekends. However, I came prepared, and I intended on taking this seriously, I studied the card, watched fights and had done a thorough breakdown of the card, in my estimation. But I was there to perform a task, I wasn't entirely sure I was equipped to complete, I was there to report live round by round coverage of CES 39: O’Neil v. Santiago for westernmassmma.com, I was nervous, I was excited but I really just needed a friend!
Not yet knowing proper etiquette for media or whether that existed, I did the only thing I knew how to do, act like I had been there before, but the reality was the closest I had ever been to the media table was the few times I snuck into the post fight press conferences at Bellator to score autographs. I was just that; a fanboy with a deep passion for MMA that wanted to find his way. That night, while admittedly looking for that friend, I met Steve Domenico, Steve assured me that we were all the same kind of people, trying to figure out our place and kinda flying by the seats of our pants but I could tell immediately that we both shared the same type of passion, although we may not have been sure of our place, we had the passion to do our best to promote the sport. I loved Steve’s passion and I admittedly let it push me, the next day I agreed to continue writing for westernmassmma.com and would go on to cover over 50 fight cards for the website over the next three plus years, learning and developing my skills as a writer and analyst while trying to keep up with the pace being set by Steve.
Steve and I became closer with every event covered, we were both doing our own things but always had each other's backs. Steve and I went on to develop some great relationships with fighters, coaches, promotions and fans alike as we continued to push for something greater. Steve developed the hottest Podcast on the scene with; The Room Podcast establishing himself as one of the clear leaders in New England MMA media. I continued to pour out my heart and soul with each of my articles until I noticed that the more I wrote the easier it flowed and with each article I wrote my fan base started to grow as well. It almost goes without saying that Steve and I were on some sort of collision course, we had talked about it, it was something both of us clearly wanted, for ourselves and for the New England MMA community but there was still something missing.
Fast forward, two years, nearly to the day, that I met Steve at CES 39, we both find ourselves back where it all started at Plymouth Memorial Hall for Cage Titans 41: Joe Giannetti vs. Josh Harvey, as many of you already know, the main event fight between The Ultimate Fighter finalist and Maine’s top prospect ends in a Draw, leaving fans from Maine to Massachusetts scratching their heads. I reached out to both fighters in the coming days to get their opinions on the decision, but if there was anyone who was going to be able to describe what went into the decision, it was going to be one of the judges. The following week I set up a lunch meeting with Lars Borssen, a veteran judge of ten years with over 1,200 fights under his belt who happened to be one of the three judges cageside for Giannetti v. Harvey.
I won’t tell you how Lars scored the fight that night, you can look that up for yourself, but he recalled to me every moment of the fight, every exchange, every takedown, every submission attempt as we broke the fight down frame by frame over what turned out to be a nearly two hour lunch meeting. Lars and I would chat several other times in the coming days, discussing our passion for the sport and the athletes from our region all the while building a strong relationship of our own. As it turned out Lars lives just 20 minutes from me in Southern Maine and before you know it he and I were carpooling to events across the region. Lars and I complied many miles while traveling from York, Maine to Plymouth, Massachusetts to Orono, Maine and Lincoln, Rhode Island, which led to many hours in the car together discussing the New England MMA scene from cover to cover.
In August of 2019 at Cage Titans 45 I finally had the opportunity to introduce Steve and Lars to one another cage side, again at Plymouth Memorial Hall. Steve had come up in conversation often between Lars and I so the meeting was somewhat inevitable. Lars was already well aware of what Steve was bringing to the table with his interviews and interactions as Ambassador to Fighters with the who’s who of New England MMA. Before we could even realize it; Steve, Lars and I were seeing each other nearly every weekend and would talk to one another daily. In January of this year Lars and I did something that we had wanted to do for a long time and traveled to Cage Titans 47 where we attended the event as spectators, we purchased tickets from a fighter and attended the show purely as fans. We had a great time from our seats amongst the New England MMA brethren and I believe that night did a lot to refuel our passion for regional MMA and the growth of the sport in our region. That night while driving home from Plymouth, Massachusetts to Southern Maine Lars and I started brainstorming ideas on how we could “up the ante.”
Within the coming weeks Lars came to me with his vision; a fully comprehensive website that covers all things New England MMA, Fighters Profiles, Promotional Profiles, a new Ranking System, and best of all, it would provide Steve and I the platform we had been looking for all along. Lars approached me later with a website design, name and logo. It was all too evident that NewEnglandMMA.org was the future, in the coming days Lars stepped away from his obligations as an MMA judge, to avoid conflict of interest,opening up the door to finally bring Steve and I together in our efforts to provide the best possible promotion of our New England based athletes. Since our team formed the three of us have worked harder than ever, with a whole new approach and set of goals as we continue to strive to give something to the New England MMA community that we have needed for so long, something we can call our own, something that we can be proud to grow together!
Without further ado, here it is; NewEnglandMMA.org, the culmination of over 20 years of New England MMA knowledge, experience and fandom all rolled into one. A site which is built around Steve’s The Room Podcast as well as the writings of yours truly; Full Contact Writer and will offer some all new and entirely different content in the very near future. Although the landscape may appear to be changed, many things are still the same; Steve and I will continue in our efforts to provide the best possible exposure to our region and its fighters. With Lars now in the fold, our opportunity to grow becomes endless as we continue to try to stay stride for stride with the sports ever expanding market not only here in New England but across the globe. So; Join Us! We Are New England MMA!