Ben Vickers here. I’ll be writing every week giving my thoughts on all things MMA, Australia-based and worldwide.
‘Who is this guy?’ I hear you cry. Well, I wear many hats. I am first and foremost an MMA fan. I have been following our beloved sport for decades and my love only grows stronger. It’s been crazy to watch the evolution of the sport and see it grow into the juggernaut that it has become today, surpassing boxing maybe?
I am also the owner and head coach at The MMA Clinic in Perth. I moved over from London in 2012 (where I was a coach at The MMA Clinic in London, Essex and Cork and did some work for Cage Warriors) and have really loved getting my teeth stuck into the Australian MMA scene. I am very passionate about the growth of grassroots MMA here. The success of the ANZACs at the moment is a testament to the strength of the gyms and promotions in this country right now.
My last hat is that of Director/Matchmaker/Promoter and general dogsbody for Eternal MMA, one of Australia’s biggest and best MMA promotions. I am no Dana White, thankfully (although I wouldn’t mind his cash), but I do have a genuine drive and ambition to develop MMA here in my adopted home.
I’ve had a few boxing and MMA fights, I’ve competed in BJJ and freestyle wresting, so have dabbled, pretty averagely, in the competitive arena myself.
Anyway, enough about me, let’s get into it.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but it must be noted that Alex Volkanovski smashed his way into serious title contention over the Christmas break with the biggest win of his career over Chad Mendes. It was a cracking fight and Alex showed he has all the attributes to be champion. He also showed what those closest to him have known for a long time: There isn’t much he can’t do and he can more than hang in the top echelons of MMA. He’s a true servant of the sport and had to wait a while for his shot, but having done everything the right way in his career, he is now reaping the hard-earned rewards. He’s definitely a man of the people, and could it be too far-fetched to believe he could be our second Australian UFC world champion? I don’t think so!
There is little to report on the local scene because, as is customary, the calendar of regional MMA events never gets underway until late February/early March to give the fighters and fans a well-earned break. That schedule is about to kick off big time. For all those that have missed being able to watch local MMA, be it live at the venue or via live stream, hold on to your hats. The ‘season’ kicks off with Coastal Combat on the Sunny Coast on February 23; DFC in Adelaide the next night; six days later is XFC in Brisbane and Eternal in Perth on March 2; then Hex round off a busy five weeks with a Melbourne show on March 29. A veritable feast of MMA after a long lay off.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to support local MMA. We are all trying to grow the sport and create platforms for fighters to learn and develop. By buying a ticket if you’re able to go, or buying the stream if you can’t, or even sharing posts which costs nothing but a bit of time, it really helps promotions grow and provide bigger and better opportunities to the real heroes: The fighters.
At Eternal MMA, we are super excited to be kicking off the year at the fabulous HBF Stadium. We have a huge night of fights with lots of local talent, as well as a bunch of fighters coming in from across Australia to have a crack at the West Aussies. I can guarantee a fantastic night, so if you are in Perth on March 2, please come and check us out.
I’ll leave the UFC for next week, I have waffled enough. But in summary: It is the start of an exciting new era for the industry leader with ESPN taking over from Fox; hopefully Henry has saved the flyweights; hopefully Greg Hardy is relegated to the undercard, at the very least; and hopefully Cowboy and Conor set a date.
The EMG Blog is a space for opinion and colourful takes from contributors on the weird and wonderful world of MMA.