221 Industries and Intense Cage Fighting has come a long way in the past two years. Only after one year of fights, the Montana based promotion has held sold out shows and inked a TV deal with the Montana CBS affiliates. This Saturday at 10:30 p.m., ICF will air it’s second televised card.
We caught up with ICF President Cory Smith to discuss the impact of television on the promotion, and expansion in the near future.
MTCage: You are coming into your second televised card. How has that been and how much impact has that had on ICF?
Cory Smith: The impact of having a TV Deal for a fight promotion is huge, not very many fight promotions can say they have a TV Deal, So I think it attracts the best of the best in the talent pool, fighters want to fight on the TV Cards, because it helps them gain sponsorship oppurtunities and gain a bigger fan base. As far as making an impact on the ICF Brand, its great, because just like a fighter, the TV Deal helps attract Sponsorships for us also, picking up Rockstar Energy Drink and the Air National Gaurd in the past few months shows that bigger sponsors want to be exposed to a bigger audience, case in point, our first TV Show we had 1 TV Sponsor step up, and this show, we have 12 TV Sponsors, just shows the interest.
MTC: We are seeing more and more Montana fighters getting fight opportunities on the national level. Several have fought for ICF. What are your thoughts about Montana’s future as a place to develop talent?
Smith: Montana’s future is so bright with drawing attention, the talent up here is an up tapped resource. Just cause you are from a smaller population, doesn’t mean you cant go on to the big show. Montana has some of the talented, classiest, and professional MMA Fighters in North America, I’ve been to shows in California, Washington, Vegas, and Atlanta, and from what I’ve seen, Montana Fighters are right there in the running for top fighters.
MTC: You have talked about expansion to surrounding states and to Canada. What has prompted the growth and what will we expect?
C.S.: We as a company have decided its time to make the jump, we have been doing shows in Montana for 2 years now, with record attendance and beer sales, and now, we have gotten great TV Ratings, so its just time, there is no time table for when we will be heading out on the road. Shows in other states require a lot more planning, so we are in no hurry. We just feel that our promotion can compete with other promotions in other states, the company continues to grow, and with that, so does the need to seek other markets. I can say this though, I don’t care if we are in Great Falls or Seattle, there will be Montana fighters on the cards.
MTC: What is next for the ICF?
C.S.: We do not have a date for the next ICF yet, there is a plan in place for a March show that will be happening due to Sponsor Contracts, a date and location has not yet been determined.
MTC: Anything you’s like to add?
C.S.: Just want to thank the Fans, the people that have come to the shows, the people that buy our clothes, the people that support our athletes, the people are what make 221 what it is, we at 221 are so blessed to have the outgoing support of everyone. Also, the staff of 221 Industries Inc, we are so lucky to have the group of people who work for us, these people represent 221 in such a professional manner.
And of course our sponsors. These companies have stepped up because they believe in what 221 is doing, with out these companies, we would be shutting our doors. I’m truly blessed to have made the relationships that I have with these guys. We aren’t just business associates, we are friends, we know each other’s families. We invite each other to different occasions, it goes beyond the sponsorship and I’m grateful for that.