When it came to 2020, most MMA promotions were looking to build off what they had done in 2019, if not improve upon it, and continue business as usual. For the XFC, however, 2020 was slated to be a year of rebirth.
Having spent the previous years in South America, the promotion was headed to the United States when the novel coronavirus put those plans on hold, albeit temporarily, pushing its return to the winter.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com, XFC President Myron Molotky spoke about the promotion’s return, how the coronavirus lockdown affected that return, and the plans it has moving forward with its deal with NBC Sports Network.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Myron, tell us about the XFC’s 2020 return and how the coronavirus affected those plans.
Myron Molotky: We were in Brazil, went through World Cup, went through the Olympics, and the country was in turmoil for quite some time, so we’d been on the sidelines waiting to come back at the right time. We were actually hoping to come back as early as July, but of course the global pandemic set things back quite a bit.
Here we are pushing forward while everyone else is shutting down. We just looked at it as time to really continue to focus on our business model and put everything in place. That was time well spent. Of course you always want to get started when you’re ready to go, but being pushed back like we were, gave us a lot more time to continue to organize, define our position, direction we were going, and especially just hone our business model.
We’re comfortable, we have all our protocols in place, we just got done with a great turnout an XFC tryout (on September 12), and we’re full-steam ahead for the November 11 event.
MMAWeekly.com: How did you go about choosing a host city for the first XFC back in the U.S.?
Myron Molotky: With the times you really have to take a look at a location that’s going to function in line with what you’re trying to accomplish. We looked at Atlanta from a logistics standpoint for travel for fighters, for staff, going to state where the Georgia Athletic Commission has been fantastic to work with. They’ve really been welcoming and they’ve put us through a process, but they were so helpful in doing so.
Tying in the Georgia Athletic Commission, tying in with Live Nation, where we are going to be having our events, everything just kind of (lined up).
MMAWeekly.com: When the promotion has its return event, what can we come to expect from the production side of things?
Myron Molotky: Being on NBC Sports, we’ve brought in who we feel are the best in the business. Tupelo Honey is going to be running our production, so our production is going to feel just like it did before the pandemic hit. We’re spending every last dime on the production just to make sure we give the fans what they want. The excitement is going to be there.
We’re going to deal with limited fans, but at least we’ll be able to have some fans there. We feel very comfortable that with the protocol Atlanta just seemed to be the best place for us.
MMAWeekly.com: Speaking of NBC Sports, how did that partnership come about and how will it play into not only the November 11 event but beyond?
Myron Molotky: NBC Sports really is the gold standard. It really took building a relationship and earning trust, and that’s on both sides. We feel good. The conversations, all hands were on the table for both sides; and it really went really well; the communication, the expectations.
NBC Sports, the conversation started slow, they’d been burned in the past and they weren’t sure MMA was something they wanted to get back into. I think that we built a trust in how this is going to go, how we operation, and what our business model is. I think this is going to be a great relationship on both sides.
When we started talking with NBC Sports, everyone wanted to know what the plan was. They also told us what their needs are. So we’re committed to doing 6-10 events in 2021. We believe the demand is going to be there.
We’re also going to have smaller events. Our business model is: Young Guns, our XFC tournaments, and the Super Fights Series. We’re taking kids all the way from their pro debut, building stars, to members of our Super Fights Series. What we’re looking for with Young Guns is having separate, more regional events, so we can continue to discover that next generation of champions.
MMAWeekly.com: In terms of weight classes, what can we expect from the XFC?
Myron Molotky: We’re going to span across all the weight classes, but our bread and butter has been that mid-range on the men’s side, the 145 pounders to 170 pounders. That seems to be something that gives the fans exactly what they need: that non-stop action inside the cage. On the female side we’ll be focusing on the 115-pound and 125-pound (divisions).
MMAWeekly.com: Thanks for taking time out for us, Myron. Is there anything you want to add in closing?
Myron Molotky: We’re just really excited. The re-launch of the XFC we’ve brought in executives with so much extensive history with the WWF, the XFL, so people are going to see a whole new XFC – XFC times ten. We felt we had something very special in Latin America, so we’re expecting the same thing right here in the US.