Courtesy Burnt Images/Ryan Hall
It has been a busy month of May for 221 Industries and Intense Championship Fighting.
With their all-female card a smash hit among fans and gaining new sponsors, ICF president Cory Smith has taken his first steps to expanding as he is planning his first show in Washington this summer. Smith also announced he will be a part of the Montana State Fair this year, which will bring tens of thousands of fair-goers to check out the ICF product.
We talked to Smith about the sudden popularity and growth of the company.
Wombat Sports: The All Female card recently got a lot of heads turning in the Montana MMA scene. What reactions have you been getting and how did you think it went?
Cory Smith: I have heard from everyone that the All Female card were the best fights we have ever had, I was so worried about it, besides the fact of injuries and freak accidents shorting the card, the VIP and ticket sales were slower than ever. The night ended up being awesome, an awesome crowd, and some all out brawls. We got a ton of national attention, so now we are going to add female fights to every ICF event, starting with August 22nd having 5 male fights and 5 female fights.
Wombat: You landed a major sponsor in Miller Lite. Can you tell us about the new relationship and what it means to have a solid national recognized sponsor on board?
Smith: We have been working with Miller for 4 years now, they have always treated us so well, but it came time to lock in a long term deal, we threw them a number, and they said yes! This is the most money any sponsor has every committed to, which shows Miller Lite’s confidence in us as a company that we will continue to provide great shows with big crowds. I am very excited to continue working with these guys and represent such an awesome brand.
W.S.: You recently announced an expansion into Washington. Can you tell us about how this came about and what we can expect?
C.S.: This is a huge huge deal for us, expanding into the Seattle market. We have been in on again and off again negations with the guys out there, with the talks breaking down, then firing up again. We flew out to the Point Casino the day after the all female card, and went to a show at the casino, we were treated like royalty, CWC gave us VIP, sat us cageside, and invited us to the VIP Cigar lounge after to talk.. We finally got an agreement down to see how the Seattle Casino MMA shows work, and we will do our first show, in conjunction with CWC on July 19th at the Point Casino, with a team format of Team Montana VS Team Washington. I am beyond excited to finally get to do this, the guys from CWC have been so awesome in the process, and im excited to see the ICF in Seattle, but make no mistake, Montana is still our home, and we will continue to do shows in the Big Sky State!
W.S.: You have landed your next card during the State Fair, which always draws huge crowds. Any ideas on how the card will progress?
C.S.: I have gotten phone calls from ALOT of fighters wanting on this card, I am going to be picky with this card because we have the Seattle Card 2 weeks before and the Centenne Show 3 weeks after. The fair show is going to draw a huge huge huge crowd seeing that it is the first ever MMA show at the state fair, so I want it to be action packed so it doesn’t disappoint, ya never know who is going to be main event, might just be a HUGE name coming out of a BIG promotion (wink wink).
W.S.: Anything else going on at 221 Industries we should know about?
C.S.: Excited for the summer, got some awesome Interns coming to work for us, along with my awesome staff that as of late has totally just stepped up and knocked it outta the park. We just keep landing knockout blows, landing big sponsors, outta state shows, the fair, and July 11th, we will do our first ever Motocross Freestyle show, expanding the 221 brand more and more into the Extreme Sports market. Our sponsors are awesome, our fans are awesome, and the support of Montana has made us a national brand, so I am very humbled to be in the position we are!