Pandemonium Blog: Post Pandemonium VIII Recap

Promoter Craig Zimmerman with the Pandemonium Title. Photo courtesy of MEZSports.com
Promoter Craig Zimmerman with the Pandemonium Title. Photo courtesy of MEZSports.com

Pandemonium VIII was an amazing card and I hope that all of you caught it live on www.prommanow.com or via replay. It was an amazing show highlighted by a brutal and unexpected KO of Trace Gray by John Hyde, a great finish by John Robles, and the Fight of the Year candidate between Kana Hyatt and Steve Swanson for the MEZ Sports Pandemonium Fights Flyweight title.

If for some reason (and shame on you if this is the case) you don’t know who won this fight, I strongly suggest that you watch it immediately.

It was my goal to blog during the days counting down to the fight but as you will see, those plans got frequently interrupted…

As with any fight or event, you wait for the disasters to happen. Some you can anticipate and prepare for while some come out of nowhere and you just have to figure out how to deal with them. Up to about 10 days before the show, things were running fairly smoothly, and if you have ever put together any event, with things running smoothly, you get scared.

Scared that something is waiting for you in the darkness; something that will put the event in jeopardy. Before Pandemonium VI, I had routine knee surgery, my third one, and was expecting to be fine in a week, however, the doctors made some mistakes and causing me to get aspiration pneumonia while under anesthesia and nearly killing me.

I recovered and the show went off. Thankfully, things weren’t as dramatic as that for this show but we had some truly unexpected twists for Pandemonium VIII.

It all started at about that 10 day out mark when my cell phone rang. I was being called by a local police department. The officer introduced himself and asked me about my team of people who were distributing flyers for my event.

I don’t generally track where they go, I just tell them what areas to hit and expect that they do it. I asked the officer if they had placed fliers someplace they weren’t supposed be at and was informed that they were fine had they done that. OK, it wasn’t that so what was the issue?

According to the officer, an unopened box of fliers was left a local sandwich shop and someone decided that it must have been an unexploded bomb and called it in demanding that the bomb squad be called in. Yes, you read that right. The police officer was seriously telling me that my box of fliers was considered to be a bomb.

I have to admit that this is a new one for me and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle this. I have practiced law for over 20 years and while I have heard many strange things, I wasn’t expecting to be causing a bomb scare with an unopened box of fliers.

While I am on the phone with the police, I receive an email from my printer with the subject line “BOMB SCARE BECAUSE OF YOUR FLYERS”. The police found my printer’s phone number on the box and called them.

My printer told the police to open the box which I hear was not the answer that they were looking for but nonetheless what was done. Calmer heads prevailed when it was discovered that the “suspicious package” was nothing but a box of fliers.

Ok, so the major disaster was averted and now it was time to deal with some real issues. At this point, we had about 18 fights booked, which is way too many, and I was hoping that some fights will fall out. I overbook the show expecting fighter fall out. This allows us to maintain the quality of the show (by having enough well matched fights to start with) plus be able to get enough footage for the TV deal we are negotiating.

Usually by now there are some fights that fall out but at that point none had fallen out. The next day that all changed when two fights fell apart within five minutes of each other. OK. Sixteen remaining, but still too many. Soon another one fell apart and then another went down the drain.

In all of these fights, one or both of the fighters got sick or injured. Fourteen fights as of fight week. Still too many but it is much better than 18. I know those of you who watched the entire live stream are cringing about the thought of six more fights that night. Just know so was I.

Eventually two more fights fell out. The first fight to fall out was a boxing match. This one was a little more interesting as one of the fighters lives in Mexico and someone went down there to get him. The text that was sent to me said that his family’s ranch was shot up and everyone was taken hostage.

It was one of the more unusual stories I had heard as to why a fighter can’t fight and if he didn’t want to take the fight, he could have handled it differently. If he was telling the truth, then he also must be Superman as I understand that he has freed himself from his hostage crisis and was fighting this past Friday night.

We did find another fighter who would take the fight and would have been a good fight and we were going to fly him from somewhere in Mexico to Tijuana and bring him up for the fight, but we couldn’t get his medicals done in time so we couldn’t keep the fight.

The other one fell out at the day of the weigh-ins when one of the fighters couldn’t pass the required medical exams. I felt bad for both guys in this fight. One clearly didn’t understand why he couldn’t be approved to fight and the other trained only to have a fight fall out at the last minute.

More would have fallen out but we flew in one fighter on Tuesday after agreeing to the fight on Monday and another fighter took a fight on 48 hours notice. Both of these fighters put on great shows, with one winning and one losing.

The weigh-in was also an interesting experience. Things ran pretty well for a weigh-in but no weigh-in is without drama. Two fighters were over two hours late for the weigh-in and one of those fighters was so far overweight that the fight was in jeopardy.

The same fighter’s parents were at the weigh-in. There is a lot going on and there isn’t much time to socialize yet this fighter’s mother felt the need to come up to me and ask me if I spoke Yiddish (yes she asked me in Yiddish) somehow thinking that if we could bond over all of us being Jewish, I would be nicer to them and give them front row seats free. That didn’t work. All it did was irritate me.

The fighter, who swore that they sold all of the tickets they had, came back with most of them. Late, severely overweight, and returns most of the tickets they had. Want to guess if that fighter is ever going to fight for me again?

Two other fighters were short on ticket money. One kept it all and it had to be deducted from his purse. Another one was $200 short and told me that I wasn’t going to get paid it. I got paid. For whatever it is worth, I guess karma came around and bit them in the ass as all of these fighters lost on the show.

While you would think that this would be enough drama for one show, there was one major issue that was going on for about three weeks before the fight. The city decided to enforce its rules and mandated that we get engineered plans of the ring so that it can be inspected. These plans had to be basically architecturally drawn as if we were building a house.

I can’t go into detail as to the problems this caused but the plans weren’t approved until two days before the fight. There nearly wasn’t a show but thankfully it all got resolved and the show went on.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes on when trying to put on a successful show and there is always something unexpected that makes life more interesting. I promise to write more often as I am working on my next shows. Let me know what you thought of Pandemonium VIII or if you have a topic you want me to write about. I can be reached at craig@mezsports.com.

The “Pandemonium blog” is a ProMMAnow.com blog series written by Craig Zimmerman, promoter for Southern California’s MEZ Sports Pandemonium Fight Series. Check out the Pandemonium Fight Series website at www.mezsports.com and follow Craig on Twitter (@MEZSports) and on Facebook.

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