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Pro MMA business profile: Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz

Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz

Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz

Mike Afromowitz has benefited from his many experiences. A strong family bond, desire to educate himself, ambition, and loyalty are some of the qualities that have earned the 33-year-old New York City resident an impeccable reputation within the business of mixed martial arts.

From his beginning as a student of martial arts, to writing fighter bios and web content that helped shape the public’s perception of an upstart K-1 North America promotion, to becoming a top executive in the number two MMA organization in the world, Afromowitz has achieved the goals he’s set out to.  However, the man and the company he works for have yet to reach their full potential.

A native of Long Island, Afromowitz went on to graduate in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from national top 30 ranked Brandeis University located in Waltham, Mass.  In the year following his graduation, Afromowitz remained in metro Boston where he pioneered the growth of a guerrilla marketing company that had recently been launched by hip-hop bible The Source and, at the same time, launched an event promotion company dedicated to staging live hip-hop concerts and other special events.

It was during his post college graduation stay in Boston that Afromowitz also returned to his roots in martial arts, a way of life he had been introduced to at the age of eight by his father, a Karate black belt and former Judo player.  During this second go around, it was Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do that Afromowitz chose to take up.

Upon returning to New York in March 1999, Afromowitz quickly found a local Muay Thai school and made a concentrated effort to truly learn and understand the striking art with his dedicated work ethic.  This devotion helped Afromowitz establish a foundation for success throughout his life.

In was during this run that Afromowitz attended his first live kickboxing fight and became suddenly inspired.  “I found it to be an amazing form of entertainment.  The crowd really loved it, every fight I went to the crowd was involved.”

After attending these first few events in 1999, Mike took away an idea this could be done on a larger scale.  He quickly began diving into traditional martial arts publications, including Black Belt Magazine, where unearthed coverage of Japan’s tournament series devoted to K-1.

K-1 was the premier stand up organization in martial arts at the time and Afromowit purchased the K-1 USA event DVD which took place in Las Vegas. This type of event was exactly what Afromowitz envisioned while attending the smaller Muay Thai events a few years ago. This event happened to be the first K-1 event promoted by Scott Coker.

Afromowitz had never met Coker, but managed to track down the long time martial arts promoter’s email address and subsequently reached out to him expressing his appreciation for the K-1 event.  He also inquired about the possibility of working alongside Coker.

With a sharp mind for business, Afromowitz informed Scott of his skills as a writer alongside his journalism minor.  Wisely, Coker offered Afromowitz a position writing full page fighter biographies for his organization, along with editorials for the K-1 USA website.

As the organizations Scott promoted including K-1 and Strikeforce grew through the new century, so did the responsibility that Afromowitz shouldered.  Hands on experience and a constantly improving track record have allowed him to also manage sponsorship duties along with international television distribution.  These new responsibilities were aided with Afromowitz’s continued pursuit of education in the areas of marketing and public relations.

Mike Afromowitz with one of the men he admires most, Strikeforce President Scott Coker

One of the men Mike Afromowitz admires most is Strikeforce President Scott Coker.

Coker and Afromowitz worked seamlessly despite the three thousand mile separation between their offices.  The character and integrity that Coker exuded led the young New Yorker to admire his superior more and more with each passing day.  “He is pretty much the greatest guy I know. I aspire to be like him,” said Afromowitz.

This feeling is one that is truly shared among all of the Scott Coker’s employees but especially his right hand man.  Mike is thankful every day for reaching out to Coker nearly a decade ago and owes him greatly for the initial opportunity Scott presented him.

A close family is another strong value and belief with the Afromowitz clan.  It is this tie that has kept the burgeoning executive from leaving the east coast for the San Jose headquarters of Strikeforce.  Having spent his entire life on the eastern seaboard, Afromowitz feels that he would miss his loved ones too much.  With the growth of Strikeforce from a regional promotion to a national contender in the past year, Afromowitz also feels his presence in New York can also be a strategic advantage.  The frequent travel to California is a small price to pay.

The single biggest event to happen for the Strikeforce organization, making them a contender on a national scale, was the asset acquisition of ProElite in early 2009. Strikeforce, acquired most of the quality talent from the defunct organization. The one thing they did not absorb in that deal was the enormous debt that buried Elite XC.

Some of the biggest names and characters in the world of mixed martial arts were obtained in that deal, including Jake Shields and Gina Carano.  Along with an improved roster, Strikeforce also forged a television deal with the Showtime network and CBS.  This broadcast partnership allows Strikeforce to be viewed by millions of homes within the US and throughout the world.

Another avenue which Afromowitz has taken much pride in is Women’s competition.  Strikeforce has made it a major focus of their promotion to promote equality among the sexes with the combat sports.  Afromowitz and Coker see the value in quality fights regardless of the gender of the combatants.

So with his roots firmly planted, and an even stronger future ahead, Mike Afromowitz has experienced his fair share of success.  To say the future is bright for the New York native is obvious.  Afromowitz has worked diligently and planned thoroughly to make sure failure is not an option for himself, his mentor Scott Coker, and the company they are part of.

By: “Fast” Eddie Constantine

  • http://mmaopinion.com Josh Stein

    Glad you liked that picture of Mike and Scott. It’s from the Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg press conference, taken by yours truly.

  • http://mmaopinion.com Josh Stein

    Also, great profile. Mike’s a fascinating guy and, for those of us who are around Strikeforce all the time, we know him as the guy who makes stuff happen.

  • http://www.alliancecollectionservice.com Ken

    No doubt a winner. Mike has been nothing short of impressive. It is great that you are doing a story that allows us to know a little more about those that make this sport happen. Without people like Mike, I would still be sitting on the couch and not in the gym. Inspiring story.

  • http://www.alliancecollectionservice.com Ken

    Maybe he and some of the Strikeforce guys will come down south sometime to see some of the fights at the Mississippi Casinos and some of us fans might get the chance to shake their hands and say thanks.

  • Fast Eddie

    Thanks so much Ken for the kind words. Hope to do more features like this in the future!

  • bungalo

    excellent article
    I like all your work especially the reporting about “behind the scenes” possabilities, fights and contracts. Keep up the good work!

  • Fast Eddie

    Thanks so much bungalow! If you attending either of the either of the Strikeforce events do forget to come up and say hi!

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