XFC President John Prisco: ‘UFC does not have the most talented fighters in our industry’

XFC President John Prisco — photo by Jack Bratcher for ProMMAnow.com

With XFC 20 scheduled to broadcast live on AXStv this Friday, Sept. 28, from Knoxville, Tenn., XFC President John Prisco joined us on Thursday’s episode of Pro MMA Now Radio to catch up and discuss the card.

One of the fighters on XFC 20 will be Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Joby Sanchez. He is a fighter the XFC discovered by winning their open fighter tryouts earlier this year. Prisco talked about the success of their tryouts.

“We’ve been doing the open fighter tryouts since 2007 and they’ve been showcased on national TV since 2008,” Prisco said. “There’s been quite a few stories told on HDNet, now AXStv, about our tryouts and it’s just grown to this monster. So now when we announce a tryout they start registering right away to be there. Now our tryouts have traditionally run 150 people trying out. Sometimes we have to cap it because we have so many.”

“And then we get in there very early in the morning and we have our trainers with us, we have the top trainers in the area, and then we put these guys through it. We put them through every aspect of the game in MMA. There’s ex-UFC fighters, there’s Strikeforce, Bellator, XFC fighters; they’re all there. The talent in the room is unbelievable.”

“But even with all that talent, many times the person that wins that tryout is a person you’ve never heard of, never been on a major promotion, but they out-shined everyone. So what does that say about what’s going on in our industry? It says that the most talented fighters are undiscovered.”

“And that’s why UFC does not have the most-talented fighters in our industry. I keep saying it over and over again and people are finally starting to believe it. It’s only because the UFC has the marketing ability to make these guys look like the best in the industry. But that’s an illusion. They have great fighters. They are a great promotion. But there’s no reason why we can’t have the best fighters in our industry, and we’re going to. And we’re building this stable of fighters that’s amazing.”

MMA fans may recall the last time Mr. Prisco was a guest on Pro MMA Now Radio back in June; he caused quite a stir with some of the comments he made regarding the current state of MMA and his feeling the UFC is not going to be able to hold on to their spot as the number one MMA promotion forever.

It was the first time since the XFC began in 2007 that Prisco had ever said anything like that. Based in Florida, he and his XFC crew have been building, branding, expanding to different states and tending to their business. Now five years in the game and coming up on their 20th event, Prisco feels the industry has changed. He spoke about that change, some problems he sees occurring with MMA’s premiere organization and why he dares in effect poke a stick at the “800 pound gorilla”.

“The momentum has shifted,” Prisco said. “When I came out and said that, I knew it would draw a tremendous response. But you know what’s interesting, a couple years ago… One, I would have never have said that. But a couple of years ago, when people would make statements that hey their goal or aspiration was to be the number one [promotion], people would say they were nuts. Back then it was only UFC. UFC was it, end of story, and nobody ever could compete against UFC. And you know what, it’s changing. The Industry is changing.”

“Listen to the fans, look in the forums. You’re seeing it. It’s changing. They see that there’s opportunities for other MMA promotions. They see UFC making a lot of mistakes. They see the UFC making mistakes where they’re pissing off a lot of their fans. They’re growing too aggressively. They don’t have enough names to support all these pay-per-views. And now you’re seeing a backlash from the fans. You never saw that before.”

“But it’s better for the industry. It’s better for the industry to have more promotions that are healthy, and making money and well known. UFC is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but they caused a problem for themselves by eliminating all the competition. Because nobody else could brand fighters or make their names in the industry other than UFC up until now. Well now they’re running out of name fighters because they’re doing so many shows.”

“They created their own monster. They really did. It’s not good for the industry to have just one major promotion. It’s good that their are numerous promotions. Not just the XFC but other promotions. There are so many fighters out there man. I mean there wasn’t an MMA school 15 years ago. You couldn’t find one. Now there’s one on every block.”

“Doesn’t it stand to reason that there are so many talented fighters out there that need opportunities to be showcased? It makes sense that the next generation of fighters are going to be more talented because there are more opportunities for them to train. You know what I mean? It’s just a numbers game, sheer numbers.”

You can listen to the entire interview with John Prisco, as well as our interviews with XFC 20’s Joby Sanchez and XFC 20 headliner Eric Reynolds below. Pro MMA Now Radio airs live on the ProMMAnow.com Radio Network page and on BlogTalk Radio each Thursday evening at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.

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