Stephane Patry: Canadian MMA’s Future from the Past – Part 2

Jeff Harrison / September 23, 2016 - 4:45pm

MMA_StephanePatry

 

Click here for Part 1 of Jeff Harrison’s exclusive profile on Canadian mixed martial arts promoter Stephane Patry.

I looked down at the recording device’s screen as it rolled through the decimals, seconds and milliseconds. Twenty0three minutes and change into the interview. I glanced at the digital clock on my dashboard’s display. I had to be at the gym to train the pros in 38 minutes and was hoping to grab a bite to eat first, which might not happen now. It would be completely alright if that was the case though, as the flow and content of the conversation was indicative of what I anticipated to be great writing material, and that was of far more importance than mere physical hunger.

The digital thermostat on my dash next to my odometer read 32° Celsius. I wiped a few beads of sweat from my forehead and moved on to the next question I had for Stephane.

“What in your opinion has been the greatest moment of your career in MMA?” I asked him.

“When Georges won the title in Sacramento,” Steph parried back without a second of hesitation, like it was something that he was so proud of it was always on the tip of his tongue ready to be jabbed out into any conversation.

I thought back to that perfectly placed left high kick that changed the richly talented welterweight division and the perception of what could be achieved by our nation’s fighter forever. Like most fan boys I was jumping around pointing at the television screen in excitement screaming all sorts of expletives and fist pumping the air in salute of the truly great moment in combat sport I had just witnessed.

“Yes, that was awesome,” I agreed.

“It was amazing,” he explained. “The whole week was incredible. We had such an amazing team. It was awesome. We had Victor, myself, Loiseau, Georges… Mark Colangelo was there. We had just an amazing time, and then he topped it off by winning the UFC welterweight title against the greatest UFC champion of all time in Matt Hughes. That was the greatest moment. It was just thrilling. Definitely that was the biggest night for me as an agent or a manager.”

“For sure,” I said, not truly being able to relate, but appreciating it nonetheless.

“As a promoter, I would say the first show at the Bell Centre,” he recalled. “What a crazy night. We sat there cage side together and just kind of were like, ‘wow we made it.’ The pressure was off to actually reach that achievement and now we had to reinvent ourselves every show, which was fine.”

“Those shows were amazing man,” I responded, thinking back to the epic road trips and taking part in the best MMA shows outside of the UFC to ever hit Quebec soil. “I was only at the second one. But man they were good!”

“The beauty of the Fight Pass deal is now we are able to do it, do it better, and do it for a long time.”

“Yes that is amazing,” I commented. I wanted to dig further into the details but again was being urged by the boxy numbers on my cash’s dashboard screen to push down the list of questions.

“What was the worst moment of your career?”

“The worst moment?” Patry repeated and sat in silence on the other end of the phone line for a moment or two.

“Yes,” I confirmed. “I am almost done,” I said. I didn’t want to steal too much of the man’s time, although was completely appreciative of the longwinded and in-depth answers I was receiving.

“As an agent the worst was when GSP lost to Matt Serra. It was heart crushing. He didn’t really train as he should have, but we were all so confident. In the dressing room before he was just so sharp and after it was just shock. Not only did he lose the fight he f*cking got killed,” he lamented. His voice actually lowered a bit, maybe out of some form of genuine respect for the lesson learned from the experience which was one of the greatest upsets in mixed martial arts history. “It was very hard. He was so very depressed in the back. That was a really tough moment.”

“I bet,” I offered, unsure of what exactly to say.

“You never want to stay in a situation like that, but I learned a lot from that. It was hard,” he told me. A few ‘oh- oh –ohs’ left his mouth into his phone’s microphone and travelled through the Bell Network and out my device’s earpiece into my car, serving as an excited verbal alert that he had something truly important to tell me. “Let’s actually go back to GSP for a minute! I forgot to tell you the biggest part. I told you about the woman wanting to take over sponsorship management from me. That was the start; a little rift. But there was something bigger than that I forgot to tell you. When Georges started in the UFC, I wanted him to get better with his hands and his kickboxing.  He was a karate guy and we wanted to improve that aspect of his game, so I got him to start training with Victor Vargotsky, a former boxing and Muay Thai champion from Russia that lives in Montreal.”

I knew exactly who he was talking about. He was a legendary striking coach, although unfortunately unknown.

“He was a former Tristar coach, right?”

“Yes, he was at Tristar. Victor became his standup coach and Georges improved like crazy, and started knocking people out in the UFC. Victor was doing an amazing job with Georges, and I was 100 percent the guy that brought him Victor. It changed his whole standup game. He had great success with this coach, obviously because he became UFC world champion.”

“Yes he was a different animal back then,” I recalled, thinking sentimentally back to the days when Georges would use incredible kickboxing and Muay Thai to win his matches.

“After he became the world champion, he was young and he became a little less serious with his training. So when he fought Matt Serra and lost, and he will admit it, he lost that fight because he didn’t really train. He showed up but…”

“He was just so overconfident for that fight, too,” I added. “I remember the interviews.”

“In the ring I don’t think he was, but in his training camp I think he was for sure. Let me tell you, Victor was ex-military, and very hard on the fighters. It kind of bothered Georges a bit I think, but he was successful so he put up with it. So during the camp for the Serra fight, Victor was calling me every week ‘Stephane he didn’t show up for training!’ and he was yelling at me because Georges simply wasn’t training as he should have. So after the fight we are on the plane flying back to Montreal, and he just lost the title and he was obviously depressed and he told me ‘Stephane I am going to get rid of Victor.’ I said ‘what!?’ He said he wanted to change his training and he didn’t want to be with him anymore. I was like ‘Georges, Victor is a great, great trainer… But you are the boss… If you decide you don’t want to train with him anymore I will support the decision, but you shouldn’t decide right now. If you are training in Montreal and don’t train with him anymore people will say you lost because of Victor.’”

“Yeah that makes sense.”

“I told him he didn’t lose because of Victor. He knew why he lost that fight. But in the end he didn’t want to train with him anymore and I was one million percent against the firing of Victor. Still to this day I am against it. But he decided he was going to the Tuesday after the fight and I was very angry about it. So that plus the woman built a rift.”

“I had always wondered why his Russian Muay Thai coach and he had parted ways,” I told Patry.

He was humming to himself as if thinking about what to say next.

“As a promoter it was right after TKO 35,” he told me, getting back to my original question about his lowest moment. “I walked into the dressing room at the back and I knew it was over. Man, I cried. I was with my girlfriend at the time who I had promised it would be the last one…and it was just hard. TKO was my baby and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t deal with some of the stuff that was going on, so I was done. After the last fight… who was it?”

I had been fortunate enough to fight on the main card of that last amazing show and the Bell Centre. I thought to the front of the French language fight program printed on stiff card stock that was piled among the other mementos from my obscure career as a pugilist somewhere in a box in my Kanata/Ottawa basement. “Quenneville versus Hatsu Hioki. That was great fight.”

“After that match, I gave Hioki his belt and if you watch that fight you can tell I was upset. I thought it was the last time I would be giving a belt,” he told me. If I had time maybe I would try to catch it on Fight Pass to have a peak. I didn’t really remember the fight as I was tending dejectedly in a spare seat on the arena floor to the broken face I received from Mr. Mien as previously mentioned. “So it was a heartbreaking decision, but I wasn’t going to go back on it at the time. I spent like three hours after the show there. I didn’t want to leave the Bell Centre. I was crying in the back. It was very emotional.”

“Stephane what it the craziest story from your entire MMA career? Anything you want. The craziest thing that has happened to you at an event, on the road or whatever. Tell us a crazy story! It doesn’t have to be about Georges or anyone famous, just a story of complete lunacy from your MMA career.”

“Hmmm” He hmmmm’d. “Let me think…”

“A story you would tell your buddies sitting around having a drink,” I coaxed.

“Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…”

I laughed out loud. He was a little caught off guard and I am sure was combing through his memories in an effort to offer the people that would take time to read this a good read/chuckle.

“There are a lot of crazy fucking stories bro,” he told me. “I will tell you one that wasn’t funny at the time. Pain Peters…”

“I knew you were going to say his name!” I yelled with a smile on my face. “One hundred percent I knew it!”

I had never met Pain Peters; however the late great Shawn Tompkins had lent my coach Chris Kew the VHS cassettes of the original UCC bouts which I had watched over and over. The only apt way to describe Peter’s appearance would be to compare it to that of a long bearded biker-villain with a shaved head from Middle America. The kind that could be seen bullying the protagonist at a gas station in a low budget made for television karate film from the early 90s. His act was legendary and an eloquent cross between The Undertaker and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz.

“Pain Peters…” he laughed.  “He is such a great guy. He was actually amazing to work with, but he was also very intense come fight week. Like his opponents would just hate the guy. You probably know you could beat him, but you would just hate him. All the fighters who ever fought him will tell you they liked him, but they are lying. They all hated him. He was fighting a guy, and I don’t really remember which fighter it was, or which show it was, but listen to this story Jeff, it’s a good one…”

“Okay,” I said in anticipation.

“We are at the hotel the day of the weigh-in but after the weigh-in,” he began. “The girl at the reception was very nice; she talked to all the fighters, was very sweet and was always helping them out… Sauna, towels, anything they needed. She was great. We invited her to everything; all the parties and what not. Just a great girl, but she was also very shy. She called me two hours after the weigh-in and told me there was a guy there asking for a copy of Pain Peters’ hotel room key. I said of course not. She told me he kept arguing with her and he was really adamant about getting that room key. So I asked her who he was, and she didn’t know anything except he was with one of the fighters. So we are now trying to figure out who the f*ck is trying to get Pain Peters’ key.”

He paused as if to let the image of the stage for his dramatic recollection sink in.

“It was a mystery,” he continued.  “Pain is like, ‘who the f*ck wants to go to my room?’ So it’s a funny story though at the same time…just listen! The girl’s shift ends at six in the evening and a new guy is sent to replace her. And this dude who we still don’t know who it was asks him for the room key and the guy gives it to him apparently, but it’s later so we are not at the hotel. It’s late and I am out and Pain Peters calls me and he is crying. Not because he is sad…but tears of anger. He wants to kill someone. He is so upset he is crying… which is crazy,” he revealed.

I internally agreed as I have never experienced the phenomenon of shedding tears of anger, and was completely unaware it was even close to a possibility.

‘What’s going on?’ I asked him and he told me to come to his room. I get there and someone, we don’t know who for sure but we know he was from the opposing fighter’s camp! It had to be! We walk into his room and right in the middle if his shower was a shit. Like the biggest shit you have ever seen in your life Jeff… and this guy had been trying all day to get the key just to give this giant shit in his room. Like this guy must not have eaten for days!”

Stephane was actually all out laughing joyfully now remembering this story from a wild west-ish era full of simpler times where obviously unstable fecal ninjas could Jedi mind trick hotel lobby staff into allowing them entry into an opposing team’s quarters to wreak havoc on their focus with massive bowel movements. How would I react if someone did that to me? Would I cry with anger or roll around laughing? Too bad the incident was before the era of cell phone cameras. It would have gone viral for sure! “Bearded MMA bad-boy cries tears of rage when he finds sh*t in his bathroom.” I’d hit share for sure…

“So we get there, and there is this giant pile of sh*t and Pain is so pissed off. It was just so crazy.”

“That is really funny, bro,” I said as his laughing subsided.

“The story about The Rock is funny too,” he continued. Apparently Mr. Patry felt like chatting. “We did a show in Hawaii. We are maybe 30 minutes from the show starting and it was just a crazy experience leading up to it. The set up, the state of things, so many crazy things had happened, you know?  It was my first show in Hawaii and it was just crazy. Like so crazy you would be mad about something but also would have to laugh about it.”

I thought to the loads of amateur shows I have promoted over the years, and the recent Wreck MMA pro event which I was involved in. It was a comedy of errors. It’s never easy. “Yes of course I understand.”

“I’m talking with my colleagues Joe Ferraro and JC cage side and I get this call from the front gate telling me The Rock is there and he wants 10 tickets front row. I’m like, ‘dude leave me alone, the Rock isn’t there and I’m busy…’ I thought he was joking with me because of all the crazy things that had happened at the arena. He calls me again and tells me that The Rock was there and I respond the same: ‘Leave me alone I’m busy’. He is like, ‘no The Rock is here he wants 10 tickets!’ I didn’t think it was true you know? Yeah, okay,” I said.

“One more time he calls. ‘Stephane what do you want me to do? The Rock is here and he wants 10 ringside tickets!’ I thought it was someone maybe trying to get in for free so I told him to just give him the 20 dollar tickets. I thought it wasn’t true. He called me again and I got mad I said, ‘I told you! Just sell him the 20s!’ And I hung up.”

“So I’m talking to JC and Joe and I told them he was playing a joke and saying that The Rock was at the gate and we kept discussing whatever it was we were discussing.  I’m facing the ring and they are facing me and all of a sudden I see there expressions changing. They both had big, big eyes! I turn around… and there is Rock!”

The idea of the Brahma Bull in all his gigantic Samoan glory peering down an emphatic people’s eyebrow at the short-statured French-Canadian promoter painted a smirk across my face.

“Crazy,” I commented. “Was he nice about it and shake you hand or did he give you the smackdown?”

“No, he was nice,” he told me.

“Okay,” I replied, not knowing what else to say.

“He told me he heard the conversation with my guy and I didn’t seem to believe him so there he was,” he chuckled.

“That is funny man,” I said.

“So he asked again for the front row tickets and I said, ‘Yes sir just wait here!;”

“You charged him though right?”

“I didn’t!”

I was honestly surprised. I couldn’t envision Steph giving anyone a free ride, even if it was an international 270-pound superstar that was larger than real life.

“Probably a smart move,” I commented. It was time to steer this interview out of the past lane. It was time to find out what was next. “Okay, on the TKO now. Why the comeback and why now? What made you decide to do it now?

“Well obviously the whole fiasco with S-1 Thaiboxing kind of discouraged me a lot in regards to how our province is governed. When we announced and planned the show, we had the greenlight or actually three greenlights to go ahead but it didn’t happen.” I recalled the call I received from Stephane on the eve of the weigh-in for his S-1 Thaiboxing debut show.  OAMA had three fighters on the card, including the main event. Patry was literally in tears, I am assuming partly because of the $250,000 he lost, partly because of his dream being squashed right then and there and partly for letting the whole roster of fighters down. It was a real f*cking mess. “Everyone knows the UFC and I have always been very close. After November 27th, which is when S-1 was canceled I went to Vegas because Kevin Lee was fighting, and I sat down with UFC. They pretty much asked me straight up what it would take to get TKO back.”

“Really? So it was their idea?” I asked in surprise.

“Well it was emerging in my head because I had discussions with Joe Silva in my head a few years prior. He wondered when I would be relaunching MMA in Canada.  Because ever since TKO left the state of the sport in Canada has been very…”

He paused to mull over the choice of words. Offending people or creating enemies with a series of shows on the horizon wouldn’t be the smartest move.

“Especially Quebec…” I added.

“It’s missing something. The East Coast, even on the West Coast I went to some of these shows and even though the promoters are doing a good job, it’s not like TKO was,” he said with a dignified air of achievement.

“No,” I agreed wholeheartedly.

“The thing that came from TKO is this. GSP, Cote, Loiseau, Hominick, Stout and the list goes on and on…” he told me proudly. “When they showed up in the UFC they were ready. TKO was exactly like the UFC except for the three letters and the fighters in the ring. The whole set-up, the interviews, the big screen, the lights, lasers and effects were all the same. So these guys would show up to the octagon and it was business as usual.”

“So they didn’t have the jitters?”

“No jitters. No butterflies,” he explained. “They were used to the process and what was going on.”

“That is true actually. A lot of your guys did well right off the hop,” I nodded to myself, thinking back to the War of ’04 UFC event when Canada squared off against our southern neighbours and did remarkably well. Was that honestly 12 years ago? I felt old.

“They were used to dressing for the press conference and all these things. And now the guys from Canada that go to the UFC; Makdessi, Aubin-Mercier , MacDonald are all good fighters but they never had the charisma or results of the previous guys. They showed up with jitters and weren’t quit ready for all the spot lights, press conferences and TV interviews and 9,000 people in the arena.”

“Hmm. I never thought of that,” I replied. “Interesting point.”

“So I went back to the UFC in December we kind of intensified the discussion, and I told them to give me until May. I wanted to talk to the government because I really had my heart and soul in making S-1 Thaiboxing work. So I asked them to give me until May 30th. If I didn’t get a 100 percent ‘yes’ from the government I would just pull the plug, maybe sue them, do whatever I have to do… But I asked them to give me at least five months. I did that, and continued negotiating and discussing how to legalize S-1, and then May 30th I didn’t hear a solid answer so I went down to Vegas and negotiated the deal with Fight Pass instead.”

“Gotcha,” I responded as I glanced again at the time. I had to wrap up within the next ten minutes. “What is your plan for the league? You’ve talked about a series of shows. Could you sum up the plan for the readers?”

“Yes, of course,” the promoter began.  “It’s going to be season-based. Fighters accumulate points by winning bouts. When they win a fight they get two points. If you win by KO, TKO or submission you get an extra point. Depending on who you beat you will get another bonus. For example, if Derek Gauthier beat Horodecki on November 4th…”

“Are they fighting?” I interrupted. “Is that a fight?”

“Yes, Gauthier versus Horodecki.”

“Good scrap.” I said. Two of the younger soldiers that had claimed blood on the battlegrounds in Montreal before TKO’s demise. Two great athletes that almost surfed into the big show on the cresting wave of their own hype would duke it out in an Ultimate Ontario versus Quebec matchup.

“If Derek wins he would get an extra 15 points for the win, because Chris is 21-6. Subtract 6 from 21 and you get 15. If Chris beats Gauthier he only gets 1 extra point because Derek is 7-6. That way the guys at the top of the rankings will deserve to be there the most.”

“I love that!” I said excitedly. Finally a promotion that would reward taking the hard matches! Could it be the answer to record padding? Could this point system cast a light of truth down on a whole stable of athletes with wise management schemes and giant zeros in their loss columns? Could this put the “ fight” back in the word fighter and light a flame of desire within the hearts of can crushers to seek out greater conquests than thrashing another opponent with a sub .500 record!? I loved it. To get to the top you would have to take hard fights.

“If you beat the tough guys you will be at the top. A guy that is 5-0 but has only beat nobodies will be under the guy 5-0 that has fought the toughest guys.”

“Yeah, that is so great.”

“So the league will be ranking based. The first season is the 2016/2017 season and will consist of six shows. The first is November 4th, followed by  January 13th, April 7th, June 16th, September 8th and November 24th. So guys will fight for points, and then on show number six which is the November 24th show we will do a world premier. 10 fights will be on the card and all will be championship bouts. We will put all of the titles on the line the same night. Number 1 ranked vs number 2 for the title,” he told me.

“That is a really awesome idea,” I said enthusiastically. “Amazing, actually.”

“So it’s six shows all at the same venue which is the Cirque Du Soleil venue name Tohu.”

“Yes.”

“All six shows will be there, and then when we start season two we will go to bigger venues like the Bell Centre, the Videotron Centre in Quebec City and move around a bit.”

“Cool!” I said. It really sounded like he had a master plan to simply take over Montreal and the country again. “So Steph, as a guy that has walked out for you when I fought for TKO…” I started as I thought back to the remarkable memories of walking down the ramp into the arena.  “And you are in the Bell Centre and your face is four stories up all over the big screens, you got the smoke and the lasers and it is a really surreal experience. The production value of your shows has always been right up there or maybe even better than any show in the world. Considering the venue that you are working with for the return of TKO, are we in for even more of a production?”

“Bro, this will be even more spectacular! This place is obviously smaller than the Bell Centre but it is so high tech!” He explained. “The atmosphere and the way we are going to place our ramp, which will go straight into the Octagon.. This is going to be crazy.”

“I believe you.”

“The special effects and the lighting effects will be state of the art.” He was talking a bit louder due to the passionate expectancy he was obviously carrying in his heart for this project. “The crowd will be so close to the Octagon. People will feel so close to the action. I am telling you the fan experience at Tohu will be next level. When we move on to bigger venues in season two people will miss these shows.”

“Is it almost like a Coliseum?” I asked.

“It is crazy! Like a Roman arena. It is circular and very close to action. The atmosphere there will be absolutely electrifying,” Stephane exclaimed.

“Has the main event been decided?”

“I mumbled a lot about it,” he told me before pausing for a few seconds. “The most important thing was that this was TKO’s resurrection. I had to put a TKO veteran as part of the main event. You must understand that most of the guys that used to fight in TKO are either retired or in the UFC. The best guy on the market in my opinion that wasn’t retired was Chris Horodecki.”

“Yes, I follow,” I nodded as I pulled my shirt away from my chest rapidly to fan myself and try to dumb down the unforgiving heat.

“The first guy I turned to was Chris,” Patry said. “He was a fan favourite.”

“So that is the main event?”

“Yes. He started his career 12-0, and was with TKO for his first 5. After he left for the IFL there wasn’t a single TKO where I didn’t have at least 10 fans stopping me to ask when Horodecki was coming back.”

“He was so exciting back then,” I remembered.

“He was a fan favourite. So it was a priority for me to bring him back. Keep in mind the title of the show is TKO 36: Resurrection. And even though Chris has a very good record of 21-6, he doesn’t have the same aura as he did. He is no longer the Sydney Crosby of MMA anymore. So this is the opportunity for him to relaunch his career and go back to the top, go back into discussion when we talk about who the best up and comer from Canada is.”

“Yeah,” I agreed.

“He needs to get back into those discussions. So this event is also a potential resurrection for him as well.”

“Yes. He deserves it too,” I said genuinely. “He is a good dude.”

“Of course he is. And when I was thinking about an opponent for him, there were so many guys internationally that I could have flown in. Guys from the States, from Russia, Japan, from everywhere that wanted to fight Chris. They were all very good options, but then I had a discussion with Kristof Midoux who trains a few guys, including Derek Gauthier. He told me Derek wanted to get back to fighting. Here is a guy that had a very similar path to Horodecki. He came into the sport with five wins in a row and everybody was calling him the next GSP because they looked the same, fought the same and trained together. He was a fan favourite, very good and he too had some things not work out right for him. So here we are at Resurrection and it’s also a very unique opportunity for Gauthier to revive his career. This is the fight. If we did this fight back at TKO 31 or 32 we would have sold out the Bell Centre with that fight. So let’s do this! Resurrection for TKO, resurrection for Chris Horodecki and resurrection for Derek Gauthier. That is the fight.”

“Cool man. I’m sold,” I replied. “Last thing; any thanks to send out or final message to send out?”

“Well obviously my biggest thank you is to the fans,” he said in an intensely sincere tone. “Like I said earlier, I wasn’t expecting anything like this. It is amazing how everyone is responding and the first show is almost sold out already with zero advertising. The only advertising we have done other than a press conference is social media. Nothing on TV or radio. The fans have showed up. I mean I recognize names on the client list that were fans back in the day, and I am very happy to see them back. We have been receiving calls from people all across the country and it is just very exciting! The fighters are excited too. Not only are they going to be able to fight for TKO, they will fight in front of fans around the world on Fight Pass.”

“Millions of people man,” I said shaking my head as I spoke.

“And I will be honest with you. The UFC executives will be watching  what goes on,” he disclosed knowingly. “Whoever is fighting for TKO is going to be in the f*cking living room of Dana White, Joe Silva and Sean Shelby.”

“It is right back to being the gateway without skipping a beat.”

“Exactly. We are very happy with this event too. From top to bottom this is easily going to be the best TKO card ever,” he began. I smiled as I thought of OAMA’s Maxime Dubois who was working frenetically under Pat Cooligan, Nick Castiglia and I as well as the rest of the coaches at our Academy to try and ensure a solid performance against up and coming killer T.J. Laramie. “I look at the matchups and they are all exciting fights, but on top of that after the weigh-in I will take them all into a room and say, ‘ guys tomorrow is your opportunity to fight on Fight Pass and you are all fighting the most important fights of your careers tomorrow night.’ I look at the list of fighters and I can’t imagine any one of those guys will not leave their heart and soul in the ring on November 4th. If there is a guy who shows up in the ring and doesn’t show desire in his fight, I will never use that guy again, because if you can’t show desire on November 4th on this big of a show on this big of a stage then maybe you shouldn’t be fighting in that cage. So we are going to have barnburners.”

“That sounds great Steph. I can’t wait to be there. I can’t wait to see it man. I really appreciate your time. Anything else?”

“That’s it man!” he said happily.

“Thanks again, see you at the show.”

It crossed my mind just then that I should insert some form of definition of the word plastered across the event posters (excluding  its religious connotations) to initiate the conclusion of the article. I wrote down a short-form reminder of the idea in a plain Bic blue pen at the bottom of my question sheet so I wouldn’t forget.

Res·ur·rec·tion  (rĕz′ə-rĕk′shən)

Noun

The act of restoring the dead to life.

The condition of having been restored to life.

The act of bringing back to practice, notice, use, or vibrancy; revival.

All three boasted a glaring relevance that was undeniable. The reanimation of TKO was indeed all of those things and a story worth noting like so many tales of revival before it. The entire concept is pure nostalgic gold for my demographic; an army of millennials raised and escorted into adulthood by the comic book, novel and film industries that shovelled back-from-the-dead tales into our consciousness in epic proportions. Neos, Supermans, Aslans, Gandalfs, Harry Potters and so many others; purveyors of the eternal hope in life after death. Maybe our generational symbiotic relationship with pop culture partly explains the legions of (slightly) aging and now career/family oriented fight fans from Canada frothing in excitement at the fact that the legendary mixed martial arts spectacle from their teens and early twenties is coming back.

Resurrected.

Indeed! The bold leader of our national fight culture which suddenly died in 2008 is now clawing it’s way out of its eight sided grave in the hip, scattered downtown district of Montreal, Quebec, bringing memories of great times, great performances, and great fighters with it out into the open air.

Bringing with it a contagious hype that old school and new school alike are buzzing about.

Bringing with it a hope for bigger things.

The Hominicks, GSPs, Cotes, Stouts, Grants and other notable members of the old guard forged the way for the development and recognition of the Canadian MMA athlete. They set the bar high for future generations in terms of character, skill, accolades, class and good old Canuck-style work ethic. Our talent pool and grassroots fight scene has been organically growing, cultivating and improving without the bright TKO lights for eight full years now… It’s been adapting, evolving and producing serious results in the darkness. Now we once again have an arena to pit the best against the best, providing a much needed step ladder for athletes looking to not only get into the UFC, but to become contenders and champions. Our amazing fighters will once again have an in between to help them transition from being athletes at rough and tumble hockey rink and casino pro shows across the country to being bon afide stars ready to tackle the sold out stadium and center spectacles of the big show. The stage is set. A battle arena is being prepared right now that has all the potential to create an even richer, more spectacular version of Canadian mixed martial arts… And as always, the guy behind it all calling the shots will be the promoter from both the past and the future: Stephane Patry.