Resident Forms Professional Fight Club
MMA fighting league is putting on eight fights this year, including one in Teaneck next week
25-year-old Chris Splendorio hasn’t wasted much time looking for a job since graduating from Fordham University in 2009. Instead of entering into a “still tough” job market, the lifelong Mahwah resident decided to form his own company, Universal Combat Championship, in 2010.
UCC is a professional fight league that puts on Mixed Martial Arts tournaments throughout North Jersey, and is expanding to other areas. Splendorio and his employees handle all aspects of each event – from logistics, set up and choosing fighters, to promotion, and securing sponsors.
“It’s a very different style event, they’re exciting,” Splendorio said of the fights UCC hosts. “MMA has really caught on in this area, so the market is there in terms of audience, and fighters is there.” The 2005 Don Bosco grad comes from a wrestling family, and took up jiu jitsu fighting in college. “I don’t fight anymore, but I still love watching fights.”
A finance and marketing major in college, Splendorio said he quickly realized that jobs he took after graduation at banks and financial institutions were not for him. His entrepreneurial drive paid off.
“We had about 1700 people attend the first event we put on in 2010,” Splendorio said. “The most recent one we did had 3300.” Bigger sponsors have also started taking interest in UCC’s fights. Spledorio’s next event is being financially sponsored by Coors Light and Red Bull, among others, he said.
Fighters, too, are anxious to be part of the events. “Most of these guys are attracted to MMA because they wrestled in high school, and you can’t be a professional wrestler.” There is also ample opportunity for fighters to make money, he said. They make money for being in tournaments, extra if they win, and a “sizable commission” on ticket sales, he said.
For his audiences, Spledorio said he tries to set his events apart from what other fight leagues in the state are doing. “We have DJs, so there’s music in between fights, and a full liquor bar. The first two rows have bottle service,” he said. “And, our fights are always really exciting. We have lots of knock downs and submissions.”
This year, UCC will put on eight fights, including one three-day tournament in Germany.
For local fans, UCC is hosting UCC5: Unleashed, a live cage fighting event, at the Teaneck Armory Arena next Thursday, June 28, at 8 p.m. Spectators can expect between eight and 10 professional matches, and music by DJs David S. and Yonny from 92.3 NOW-FM. General admission tickets are $25, and front row bottle service tickets are $125 a piece. The event is being promoted as “exciting fights in an underground atmosphere.” Get more information about UCC, and its upcoming fight, here.
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