With no fewer than 5 fighting promotions based out of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Empire Fighting Championship is working its way to the top, despite the fact that they’ve been operating for less than a year. With marquee names like Jason Knight, Alan Belcher, and Chase Sherman on any one of their cards, fight fans know they are in for a treat. One of their keys to success is using the relationships that they’ve built within the region and the local mixed martial arts community to bring one of the newest and best MMA and combat jiu jitsu promotions to the MS Gulf Coast and beyond. I sat down with Kristian Guirola, CEO of Empire, during this crazy fight week to ask him some questions about the upcoming card this Saturday, February 29th 2020.
What made you start Empire Fighting Championship?
I just wanted to give these fighters the best possible platform to do what they love while at the same providing the best events around.
One thing you’ve done, from the beginning, is provide the fights for free on FB Live. What made you decide to do that?
Our FB live streams was my way of putting our product out there for the world to see. We are the best promotion on the MS Gulf Coast by far. Everyone sees it and everyone knows it.
There are lots of up and comers that are getting their feet wet by fighting on your cards. Who should we be watching for to be the next big thing?
All of them! We have 7 pro fights and any one of them could be headed towards Dana White’s Contender Series or the UFC after this fight! We also have a bunch of amatuer fights featuring some of the best guys in the country!
Former UFC middleweight Alan Belcher is competing in a grappling submission match on this card. How did you get him to come out of retirement for this event?
Alan is a warrior. I think he’s always wanted to compete; it’s in his DNA. There wasn’t really much persuading. Bringing Alan on is cool though. To see him comeback from competition after a long layoff is something I think all of his fans wanted to see.
“There really wasn’t much persuading for Alan to get in the cage. Just a few mentions and he was down.”
What is your favorite part about being a promoter?
The after parties, lol. But really, after all the stress, the back-outs, the change-ups, and the last minute stuff – to get through it, and knowing it was another great event, it’s the best feeling!
What are your goals and where do see EFC going?
We are working so hard on trying to build this empire. With the help that we’ve had along the way, through my team and even friends who have their own MMA promotions, we are way ahead of where we thought we would be in a year. We don’t call it the Empire takeover for nothing, we call it that for a reason! We’re taking over!
Empire Fighting Championship 5 is taking place this Saturday, February 29th, 2020 at the Biloxi Civic Center. Doors open at 6, fights start at 7. All ages are welcome. Tickets are available at fightertix.com.Join the fighters and the EFC team for weigh-ins at Boots & Spurs in Downtown Ocean Springs on Friday, February 28, 2020 at 6pm.
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