A chat with Scott Kent of Lion Fightby Brian Woodman Jr. on 02/03/18
Scott Kent, the CEO and president of the Muay Thai promotion Lion Fight, had straightforward advice for prospective promoters considering a future in combat sports.
"You are not going to make a lot of money during the first few years," he said. "I have been in this business for eight years now. I was lucky. I had good investors. You have to love the sport."
Foxwoods Resort and Casino will host Lion Fight 40 tonight, Feb. 3 as of this writing and the event will be special to the organization, according to Kent. Tonight's main card will include a fight for a North American title -- the first time the organization has held a bout of this nature. He plans to have a North American ranking system within the next four months.
"One of our original ideas was that to really grow our American fighters and try to give them a greater opportunity to get a belt," said Kent. "It allows them to build a fan base and to build their careers up before competing against European and Asian fighters that may have considerably more experience."
He described fighters from Thailand that have more than 400 career fights. It is the national sport of Thailand, he said, and they often start at a younger age -- they do not distinguish amateur from professional bouts, he said.
"This is how you become a rock star in Thailand," he noted, adding that many viewers do not always understand the depth of the talent.
He anticipated that in six or seven more years audiences would see Americans competing with the top tier of European and Thai fighters.
He admitted the sport was not getting as much publicity in the United Stares as he would like but that MMA has boosted the profile of combat sports in general.
"We are still swimming upstream against the MMA media but the fan base is there," he said.
Due to the stand-up fighting nature of the sport, he observed, there were less lulls in the action than in MMA. This made up more entertaining to casual spectatos who may not fully understand or appreciate the nuances of MMA's ground game.
He acknowledged that there are discussions to make it an Olympic sport in 2020 but nothing has been confirmed yet.
He said Lion Fight is actively courting fighters from organizations on both coasts to participate in qualifiers. He is willing for Lion Fight to promote other shows but is focused on pushing the brand, he added. He said the brand would be expanding its presence and social media and online video streaming.
Lon Fight is also in negotiations with a new television partner and details were forthcoming, he added.
Lion is also planning another London show in partnership with Muay Thai Grand Prix on April 7 and another Foxwoods show later that month (the organizations hosted Lion Fight 39 in London last year). Kent hopes to promote a Paris show during the summer.
"There are groups in Australia whose fighters are interested in us," he said.
He commented on the growing number of MMA fighters that are switching to competition under one style. He referred to Chip Morrazo-Pollard as an obvious example.
He said that although California has traditionally yield several American Muay Thai competitors, the North East was growing -- particularly Massachusetts. He said interest in Connecticut has grown due in part to the Foxwoods shows.