The Gold Standard in Event Production
You know you’re doing something right when the fighters and staff walk into the arena and let out a collective gasp.
When I did commentary for FEA Kickboxing in Odessa, Ukraine on 24.08.2019, that’s exactly what I heard. It was a gasp, an audible inhale of oxygen that literally leaves you speechless as you try to comprehend what exactly you’re looking at. What I’m talking about here is the kind of hard work and attention to detail that goes into setting up an event and making a good impression.
In fact, it’s probably the most overlooked part of promoting combat sports. Most promoters are probably focused on making money or putting together the strongest fight card or just worried about finding enough sponsor money to pay the bills. Not many, though, are forward thinking enough, to invest their time, money and energy into making a jaw-dropping presentation and creating a unique visual spectacle.
The Wonka Effect
Have you ever seen the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”? Not the remake with that bozo Johnny Depp, but the REAL one, the 1971 classic starring Gene Wilder. Well, there’s a scene in the film where the kids are taking a tour of the chocolate factory and they come into "the chocolate room” where everything in the room (the trees, the grass, the flowers etc.) is edible. There’s even a chocolate waterfall. The looks on the children’s faces (and the adults) are one of wonder and amazement. They’re speechless, dumbfounded, bewildered, bamboozled. It takes several seconds before they can even believe what they’re seeing. That’s exactly the effect that happened when the FEA fighters and staff entered the arena.
What the Building Looked Like Beforehand
Look at this building. Whoever named it the "Odessa Sports Palace” had a great sense of humor. It’s a dump. It looks like it just fell out of the back side of a dog. This old communist-era sports hall has not been renovated since the 70’s and looks like it might collapse at any moment if you breathe too hard.
That’s what makes the event production so impressive. FEA was able to take a dump like this and literally create their own world.
Take the Tour
Check out this video and see for yourself exactly what makes FEA Kickboxing’s setup so amazing.
It’s Hard to Find Good Help
One of the big difference makers for FEA Kickboxing is the staff. They really care about what they’re doing and take their job very seriously. It doesn’t matter what job they have. Every person on that team is extremely organized and efficient. President Dorin Damir is a good leader and makes sure to set a good example for everyone. He also expects the same kind of work ethic from his staff, and it shows.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to an event and there are people just sitting around seemingly doing nothing. Or there’s a job to be done and there is one person doing it while five or six other people sit around watching him. Or even worse, the person doing his job is just half-assing it, has no idea how to do it properly or simply doesn’t care if the job is done properly. When you have a staff like that, you are just setting yourself up for failure.
Why Isn’t Everyone Doing This??
Probably because they don’t have the budget or it’s not high on their priority list. But let me tell you this - even if you have Giorgio Petrosyan or Buakaw Banchamek fighting on your show, if all you do is throw a few lights over the ring, erect a filmsy looking stage and put a ring in the middle of a high school gymnasium, no one is going to take your event seriously.
By making event production a priority, you are investing in your future. The fans will be enjoying the show in a comfortable and memorable atmosphere. They will remember how they FEEL during this show and remember how classy it was. They’ll tell people about the show and show them pictures and videos of them at this event. The word will spread and more and more people will come next time. It’s an investment. It’s an expensive and time consuming investment, but it works.
Where Else Can You See This?
The only other events I’ve personally been to that have this high of event production are King of Kings when they come to Lithuania or Latvia, the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and maybe a few concerts I’ve seen (KISS comes to mind).
Unfortunately, one place you won’t see this event is on FightBox. FEA Kickboxing is not on FightBox since they broke away from KOK. However, some of the older KOK shows from 2018 and earlier from Moldova are still being replayed from time to time. But it’s still a promotion I suggest you go out of your way to check out.
Source fightbox.com/en/blog- Daniel Austin