Q@A with Karyn Wesch of Premier FC on one-night tourney, the futureby Brian Woodman Jr. on 08/31/21
We chatted with Karyn Wesch, the CEO of the CT-based Premier FC, about her professional background and the organization’s upcoming one-night tournament – an eight-man event in the mold of the earliest UFC shows. The MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts will host the event on the evening of September 18. We will provide updates on our blog and Facebook page as the event approaches.
Nutmegmma: What sparked your interest in organizing an eight-man tournament?
Wesch: The one-night tournament is something we have talked about for a few years. We actually had a tournament back in 2012 or 2013 but it was spread out over several months to determine the champion. Since that time, we discussed how we could throw a one night tournament with the best fighters in a given weight class. After Invicta successfully had a one-night event back in June we knew it was a possibility and put our minds together to make it happen.
Nutmegmma: Will the tournament include weight classes?
Wesch: This tournament will consist of the best fighters in the lightweight division. We discussed which weight class appeared to be producing the most high-level fighters at the moment and agreed that the 155lbs division was the logical choice. That’s not to say the other weight classes aren’t exciting but at this moment the 155lb division is highly competitive and exciting. But every few months the excitement changes from weight class to weight class.
Nutmegmma: Have the fighters been selected?
Wesch: We have received a lot of interest from fighters both regionally and nationally. We have selected half of the participants and we are still gathering names and choosing the best candidates. The ones who have been selected are clearly top level fighters and have big names in the sport. The remaining spots will be filled soon as there is a solid choice to choose from. We wanted to ensure everyone who wanted in had a chance to put their name in. There are still a few fighters we want in the tournament and are awaiting their response to the opportunity.
Nutmegmma: What is the prize?
Wesch: If you win this tournament you will walk away with $12,000 and runner-up walks away with $9000. We wanted the payout to equal the risk of the tournament. It takes a special fighter to sign up for this type of tournament. It has a very “old school” feel to it. A lot of modern fighters want to take fights that pad their records with hopes of making it to the next level. There are plenty of promotions to help that type of fighter. We wanted to go in a different direction and we were willing to put up the money to show the fighters we are willing to invest in them.
So basically, every fight you win in the tournament increases your pay dramatically. To win it all you need to win three fights that night.
Nutmegmma: How often will you hold these tournaments?
Wesch: Excellent question. We are still trying to work out the details but our hope is we can host these tournaments at least three times per year. We have received an overwhelming show of support and interest from fighters, coaches, and fans regarding the tournament. As long as the fighters enjoy these types of events and the fans continue to support there will be no reason we won’t continue to produce these tournaments.
In fact, we have already announced that our next tournament will be held in February 2022 and the weight class will be middleweight (185lbs).
Nutmegmma: Will you still hold regular events?
Wesch: Yes. We will still hold regular events outside of the tournaments. The tournament will be part of larger events and will occur within the shows. But we will also be hosting events that will not have tournaments in them.
Nutmegmma: When was Premier FC established and when did you hold your first show?
Wesch: Premier Fighting Championship was established back in 2009 in the office of a fight school. Myself and Jason Franklin were building American Fight Team and said we were sick of watching all our fighters be brought in to other states as the opponent because the promotions in WesternMass were a free-for-all joke. At that moment in time I didn’t know anything about running a promotion but jumped in the deep end head first!! The state was not sanctioned at the time but wanted to be so the UFC could do shows here. I spent months going to Boston from Connecticut to watch as the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission changed laws to allow MMA in the state. I held my first show one year later in 2010. From there, it was a journey that has enriched me with years of knowledge and I am still excited to say I am 100% still in it almost 12 years later.
Nutmegmma: How many venues have hosted your shows?
Wesch: Premier has been invited to host our shows in five different locations. All different layouts but helping us organically grow into where we are today. I still hold great relationships with all of them but we just don't fit in them any longer. We can't thank the fight fans enough for coming back show after show to enjoy amazing MMA fights.
Nutmegmma: Could you recap your professional background?
Wesch: As I stated above, I spent months in Boston while Massachusetts was getting sanctioned. At the time, I owned a cleaning company and had lots of little ones at home. My professional background was in Business and Marketing thanks to my amazing parents who owned businesses when I was growing up. I took every lesson learned in being a parent, a hard worker and a business owner and poured it into building what today is Premier FC!
Nutmegmma: What are your long-term professional goals regarding MMA?
Wesch: I have been blessed in my career to have met some of the most influential people in the sport of MMA. Every one of them has brought me knowledge to help me grow in this sport. From Dana White to amateur fighters, they all have something to better me as a promoter and matchmaker and I thank every one of them for it!
Nutmegmma: Could you provide more details regarding the Muay Thai shows that you are considering?
Wesch: Premier FC started back in 2009 with the first show being held in 2010. It was organically grown without putting itself deep into debt. My goal back then was to grow it as big as I could and go from there. We are thrilled to say we have implemented a new division under our umbrella. We will have our first Boxing event "Premier Fighting Championship Boxing" in November 2021. We are looking to also add Muay Thai under our umbrella somewhere in the summer of 2022.