The Godfather of Mixed Martial Arts Bruce Lee once said “…if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”
Lion Fight CEO, Scott Kent is one of few people who can say that he gave up everything that was safe, secure and made a dream become a reality. When Kent was a guest of MMA Fight Corner on Tuesday, he explained that it took a leap of faith and extending beyond life’s limits to make Lion Fight Muay Thai a success.
Before becoming the man who now runs the Las Vegas based Muay Thai promotion, Kent worked for 13 hotels as the Vice President of Risk Management. During his interview with our show, he said that he always felt he was leading a double life. By day he worked for the hotels, by night he trained Muay Thai for 20 years with Nick Blomgren.
One day, after 15 years of working in risk management, Scott left to embark on a journey to make his passion for the sport a reality and started laying the ground work to bring Lion Fight Promotions to the masses.
“Sometimes things in life just kind of fit and make sense,” Kent said. “And yeah, I walked away from a life of security and prosperity and rolled the dice, but I’m thrilled everyday that I do this.”
Today, his two and half year old promotion is seeing its tenth fight card come to fruition. What’s more is Lion Fight 10 will air on AXS TV for the third time. As with the past six Lion Fight shows, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Joint Theatre will play host to the action on Friday, July 26.
“We’ve become the premiere Muay Thai promotion in the United States and we’re recognized around the world. We just had meteoric growth and I think a lot of it is because of the fan base that we’ve been able to tap into in Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC. It’s made a lot of sense to capitalize on that.”
With a TV deal in place with AXS TV, every Lion Fight card from here on out will air on the network. Knowing that more eyes will be drawn to the sport places the full rules Muay Thai promotion on a pedestal with no other.
“Andrew Simon with AXS TV, he was the one who took a chance on us,” said Kent of AXS TV’s CEO. “It’s the first time Muay Thai has had a national televised audience. We’re thrilled with the growth of the company and the sport. I’m sure we’re going to sell out this fight at The Joint. We’re getting folks flying in from all over the place for this. I’m thrilled.”
As for the Las Vegas hotel that’s served as the venue, Kent feels its definitely the right fit for his brand.
“The Hard Rock itself is an international brand, it’s edgy, it plays well with our demographic, and the Joint is such a great venue,” Kent added. “It constantly wins the ‘Best Venue in the United States’ and it’s a really nice for fight. There’s no bad seat in The Joint. In a sport like ours where you want your audience to feel those kicks – you want them to feel Yodsanklai [Fairtex’s] kicks and punches – and I think the venue itself is conducive for an almost interactive experience for our fans.”
On the upcoming Lion Fight 10 card, the audience will be privy to witness one of the legends in the sport compete in Yodsanklai Fairtex. In the 250 fights he had on his record, Fairtex had never set foot to fight on American soil until Kent was able to bring him into the fold. At Lion Fight 8, Fairtex defeated Gregory Choplin by way of KO. In his return to North America, Fairtex will meet Chike Lindsay in a battle for the Lion Fight Middleweight Title.
The other title fight on the card features Tiffany “Time Bomb” van Soest squaring off against England’s Lucy Payne. Van Soest, a rising star for the organization, is still undefeated and also has some highlight reel knockouts on her resumé.
Part of Lion Fight’s goal is to always include a women’s fight on their upcoming cards. When van Soest stormed onto the scene, Kent said it was a no-brainer to immediately sign her to an exclusive contract with the promotion.
“My partner Christine Toledo and I, we wanted to look around and find that person that could be the face of Muay Thai in the United States and Tiffany fit the bill,” Scott said. “She’s wise beyond her years, she’s an excellent fighter, she’s aggressive, she’s fan friendly and I think that’s really played in nicely with our promotion. We’ve brought in very good fighters for her to fight.”
“This isn’t like boxing or some other promotions where they’ll build a guy for 20-30 fights. A lot of our champions will have 7, 8 or 9 losses, Tiffany has had 9 fights. We’re bringing in Lucy Payne from England who is no joke. She’s tall, she’s a very good fighter and it’ll be for the Lion Fight world featherweight women’s title.”
With the main card set to be televised once again on AXS TV, Kent reiterated that the partnership with the network has exceeded expectations.
“They made a commitment to own a Friday night format,” Kent said. “I think people want to be able to know on a regular basis that they can flip on a Friday night before they go out and watch quality fights.”
“They’re taking chances on sports like ours and I really give them a lot of credit. Mark Cuban came out with a great quote about Lion Fight being the best of the best and that’s great for our company obviously.”
Tickets are still available for Lion Fight 10 on July 26 and are available for purchase through the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino box office, at all Ticketmaster outlets (800-745-3000) and online at Ticketmaster.com.
Lion Fight 10 will emanate from The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. AXS TV will present the main card starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
The main card is listed below:
Yodsanklai Fairtex vs. Chike Lindsay for the middleweight title
Kevin Ross vs. Matt Embree
Tiffany van Soest vs. Lucy Payne for the featherweight title
Malaipet Sasiprapa vs. Hakeem Dawodu
Ognjen Topic vs. Coke Chunhawat
Jason Andrada vs. JP Cole