John Kavanagh will dip his toes into the world of fight-promotion with the reformation of his old fight-show, Euro Fight Night (EFN).
The original EFN, which was also spearheaded by Kavanagh, took place back in 2013 in The Red Cow Inn and featured a ten-bout lineup of showdowns including the headlining matchup between Anthony Burger and Johnny Dargan.
According to the SBG head-coach himself, his attentions were dragged back to the realms of coaching from there on out but now, six years on, he has made his intention to return to fight-promotion clear.
Speaking in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on his ESPN show, Coach Kavanagh explained his plan to reform EFN in a tournament format designed to single out one fighter for a prize that includes a contract with Bellator MMA.
“I started a fight series in 2013. I ran my first one in September 2013. I had done them years and years ago, then got back into it in 2013. I thought I would do a few and it just never happened for one reason or another.
“Its called Euro Fight Night (EFN). Euro Fight Night 2, six years later, will be on October in Manchester in the UK. So I’m dabbling my toes back in promotion again.”
“I’m excited that we have a couple of really good partnerships with it. I think most exciting of all is that we are going to do a tournament on the night. With the winner getting a multi fight deal with Bellator. I think this is pretty cool.”
“We looked out for exciting up and coming pro’s, five fights or less.” (via MMAUK)
There’s something of an old-school feel to this tournament – one that half-throws-back to the early days of the tournament-style UFC and the other to the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, where it was not certain that 40% of the guys involved would be signed.
All in all, it will be interesting to see how the legendary coach can translate his clear skills in the gym into a very different role but with a name like his attached to it, there’s every chance that the talent-pool that they settle on will be of a high standard.
On top of this, all of those involved will have no affiliation to Kavanagh’s SBG Ireland and each will fight at the 205lb limit.
“I actually picked a weight class I have nobody in, so it won’t be anybody from my gym that gets it. Picking local UK guys. We already have four, it might turn into a an eight man tournament, which would be very cool.”
“[The tournament] will be supported by a big amateur undercard and if it goes well then we will be looking at between four and eight shows in 2020. So it’s going to be an interesting project.”
“The idea would be to kinda do what Invicta do with their eight women tournament. One round then a regular fight, so at most you’re not going more than five rounds.
“A lot of guys we have selected for 205, most haven’t got out the first round, they are big hitters. I think they will be quite quick fights. Then you know, to go through an eight-man tournament, pick up injuries, it’s tough but that’s the kind of resilience we want to see in somebody before they go to a big show, to see if they are ready for that kind of level.”
Eager to make it very clear that the winner would be absolutely certain to earn a Bellator contract with no funny business, Kavanagh doubled down on the legitimacy of the incentive to all of those who could be thinking about taking a shot.
“We’re not suggesting to get to the big show, some shows are like, ‘you become the champion, you might get into whatever show.’ This is a definite, you are getting a contract on the night.
“You win the tournament, you’re a Bellator fighter!”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena