I wrote a little bit a while ago about Rise of Champions – a new promotions company I started this year with my coach and good friend, Mickey Papas. We were very clear when starting out that we want to consistently feature up and coming talent – the majority of the fights on our cards would be amateur.

Our first event, back in October, was a great success – we had over 900 in the venue watching a night of first class action, and hundreds more tuned in from around the world to our live stream. Not bad for our first go! Our second event is scheduled for April 23, 2016 – but I’ve got the little matter of a fight of my own to take care of first, so we’ll not be making many announcements for a while.

Anyway, I’ve started yet another venture – it’s as if training every day and having a new born son weren’t enough to keep me busy! – which actually ties in really well with what we’ve been doing at ROC. I’ve co-founded a PR company that focuses on MMA.

I’ve said it before but when I started out in MMA it wasn’t really an available  career choice. People didn’t grow up thinking they could make a living out of doing this! All that has changed in the last few years though – MMA has grown and grown and I’ve been privileged to be a part of that.

Twitter didn’t exist back then, Facebook wasn’t around and the media was a very small group of people. Everything has changed now – and I’m doing my best to keep up with the Vines, the Periscopes and Robert Whiteford continually texting me videos of himself in the bath.

I’ve teamed up with Becky Laverty, who helped us out a lot with the publicity for ROC, to set up Pioneer Sports Press. She’s been working for years in the music industry, coordinating press and publicity for international record labels, artists and festivals. We’re using our combined experiences and knowledge to work with hand picked group of athletes, and we’ll grow outwards from there.

We’re working with Bill Beaumont – who is on a huge winning streak and next scheduled to appear at UCMMA in February. Nathaniel Wood is under our watchful eye – and should be very much on your radar as he’ll be fighting for a title at BAMMA next year. At BCMMA at the beginning of this month, both Corrin Eaton and Luis Gonzales took home the W in impressive style. It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding training alongside these guys – I have a huge amount of confidence in their abilities.

In this day and age, being a skilled sportsperson isn’t always enough. We want to equip our roster of athletes with the knowledge, confidence and experience to publicise themselves. Not everybody is born with the gift of the gab like our pal, Conor – but that doesn’t mean they haven’t got something to say worth hearing.

Although we come from very different backgrounds, both Becky and myself really believe in being part of a positive change in terms of the way MMA athletes are perceived – both in our own little bubble and outside. You’re reading this – so you (hopefully!) already know we’re not all as bad as some mainstream media would have you believe!

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now – if you’d like to know more, have a look at ourwebsite and follow our Twitter. You can find info on us all there, and if you’d like to speak to any of us, drop Becky an email – same goes if you’d like to discuss working together in any other way. We’re always open to ideas.

In other news my money’s on dos Anjos for the main event this weekend. I think he’ll grind out a decision win – like he did against Pettis. Dos Santos will knock out Overeem… I think. After predicting Aldo vs. McGregor the wrong way, I’ve proven that I don’t always know what I’m talking about! It will be good to see Cole Miller back in action too!

Have a great weekend!

-ONE PUNCH