Well 2014 sure did come in with high expectations…and holy cow did it ever deliver!
We saw some really big stories on both the local and global fronts of MMA and kickboxing in the year 2014. So had some great moments from our local fighting scene, and all of the Colorado promotions really stepped up their overall games in 2014. Not only were there some great fights due to exceptional matchmaking…but there were also some really shocking finishes to remember as well.
Rocky Mountain Highs:
Colorado is the 4th largest MMA market in the US and our guys and girls really went all out this year to prove just that the road to a title….definitely comes through Colorado first.
We saw some big splashes by our local UFC newcomers like: Josh Copeland, Brandon Thatch, Neil Magny, Rose Namajunas and Drew Dober as they displayed not only the caliber of their own individual skills, but also the caliber of coaching and training partners that helped them get to the biggest show on earth. These fighters not only put on some absolutely dazzling freshmen performances, but they really showed the level of professionalism, humility and respect associated with Colorado fighters and the respect of these true martial artists. The humble Neil Magny even went as far as making UFC history in 2014 by posting 5 wins in a calendar year!….amazing job Neil & Team Elevation coach Leister Bowling!!
It’s no secret that 2014 was an exceptionally difficult year for our dearest, Cat Zingano. Aside from the obvious personal tragedy and severe injuries that Cat had to endure through, if there is anything we learned from our amazing representative of women’s MMA at the highest level, it is clear that our Cat is one focused, driven, humble and incredibly strong woman that has never lost sight of the ultimate goal…the UFC Womens 135 lb title. Regardless if people enjoy fighting or not…Cat has taught us that nothing worthwhile in life is easy, and if you can separate distractions and choose to reach for the stars…you just might reach the stratosphere you’re shooting for. Cat is literally an amazingly beautiful woman on every level and we are all very lucky that we can learn such valuable lessons from her inspiring efforts….truly an angel.
Fighters like our own: Ed Herman, Chris Camozzi, Nate Marquardt and Donald Cerrone not only made their UFC splashes roughly a decade ago in the UFC…but they’ve shown that the professionalism they exhibit day in and day out is a big reason for their long and enduring tenures in the biggest and best MMA organization in the world. Take note up and comers….professionalism is the focus here.
Let’s not forget about our 2014 Bellator fighters since they also made a big splash (and history) in the 2nd largest MMA organization in the world. Fighters like: Scott Cleve, Bobby Lashley, Ryan Martinez and none other than The Baddest Man on the Planet, Joe Warren cemented their place as Bellator badasses and champions in the year of 2014. Joe Warren has had the 2nd most difficult road to walk in the sport of MMA without a doubt. He not only reached the top of the Bellator mountain in the past, by winning the 145 lb title and featherweight tournament, but Joe Warren is the ONLY man in Bellator’s history to win 2 different Championship titles in 2 different weight divisions. An incredible feat that has brought not only Joe…but also his team at Factory X worldwide notoriety as being some of the “best of the best”….kudos to you all for your determination, resilience, skill, focus and genuine integrity….you all are amazing professionals.
World Series of Fighting:
Remember our former local RFA lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje?….yeah, well Gaethje decided that 2014 was the perfect year to leave his own mark on the world of MMA. Gaethje not only became the first ever 155 lb champion for the global organization WSOF, but he devastated their 155 roster of killers with an absolutely punishing trail of terror in his 3 title defenses as well. Gaethje is for real in ANY organization and his ability to pulverize opponents with his devastating power killer and high level sprawl and brawl game will wreak havoc on that organization for a long time to come. Amazing work this year Justin!…you’re a monster!
In 2014, we also got to see the emergence and resurgence of American Kickboxing at its best in the year 2014 with the European kickboxing promotion known as GLORY. The European kickboxing promotion GLORY showcases the art of American kickboxing by pitting the best “stand-up fighters” in the world and places them in a tournament format. When GLORY 16 came to Denver in May for the entire world to see, our local kickboxing stars like: LT Nelson, Justin Houghton, Danny Mitchell and Brian Camozzi got the night rolling with some of the best action during the entire night. LT Nelson and Brian Camozzi put on an absolute striking show for the hometown crowd, while budding kickboxing professional, Danny Mitchell took on and unanimously beat Marcus Sursa, a fighter with almost 5 times the experience. All that aside, we saw just how exciting GLORY can make Kickboxing and Muay Thai to a very saturated & rich MMA landscape. We now know that the art of kickboxing and Muay Thai are definitely here to stay.
Then we had our local promotions bring their best as well in the year of 2014. All of our Colorado promotions hit or exceeded their lofty goals for the year and they all matched up some truly brilliant fights. Those fights cultivated the right environment to bring up some of our local champions up to compete on the biggest of stages in the MMA world. We saw a record number of local events this year, a record number of actual fights, a record number of event “sell-outs”, and a record number of money raised to help out our locally communities. The thing that really stands out to me is the amount of charitable money that was raised by our local MMA community. Thousands upon thousands of dollars (that never would’ve been there) were raised to help out some truly unfortunate families here in Colorado, and our MMA community is the one that raised it. This is why the Colorado fight scene is so special….our “fight community” literally does EVERYTHING it can in good times & bad…for our “public community”. For that reason alone, we will continue to lead efforts of assistance when our friends & foes need us the most. Kudos to you Colorado fight fans….you are without a doubt a gracious, selfless and willing community of givers for the right reasons. I’m proud to be associated with you all and may your 2015 be the best year for all of us to date!