With hearts of gold for the sport of mixed martial arts and able to, if needed, ore any silver lining, Titan Fighting Championship (Titan FC) liquefies the idea of a hashtag acting as merely a trending moment. Fast approaching Titan FC 37 on March 4, 2016, the promotion’s first event since escaping the debacle surrounding the cancellation of Titan FC 36, Jeff Aronson, Titan FC’s CEO, took to the airwaves, visiting Mile High Sports (link here), to cast the values held in #FansFightersFirst as stronger than any other alloy.
Hooked up to a microphone, Aronson loaded listeners into a time machine, flashing back to when Titan FC 36 was stopped in its tracks because he experienced severe complications following abdominal surgery,
“I think the funniest thing about all of it was: here I am on my death bed, right? I went, literally, and Titan went, literally, from being America’s darling—the MMA community’s darling promotion to, all of the sudden, all of these horrible things being said.”
After Titan FC aborted the event, rumblings of scandal bubbled to the surface in connection to the possible cause. Aronson documented several of the standout accusations,
“There were rumors of financial instability; there were rumors that I didn’t have surgery; there were rumors of the craziest things, like aliens abducted me. It was just crazy!”
Saving the best for last, Aronson recalled an example of a reporter’s malleability with truths,
“I remember, I wouldn’t even call him a journalist, someone Tweeted out: ‘It turns out that Jeff Aronson has his house up for sale.’ And I sat there and looked, and I go, ‘Yeah, my house is up for sale, it’s been for sale for four years. It’s a product of a divorce from four years ago. Yeah, it’s on the market and for sale. It’s never come off the market in four years.’ All you had to do was a little bit of research.”
Just when Aronson believed the backlash subsided, a new piece of gossip found its way into the switchboards and began passing from stop to stop like a game of telephone,
“Then, there were rumors that we weren’t going to pay the fighters, which was never the case, and something that was never even spoken about.”
Anthony “Shark Bait” Gutierrez (7-2), a stapled poster boy for Titan FC, appeared as a guest on episode 94 of Jon and Mike’s MMA Corner (link here) leading into his contest against Benny Vinson (7-3-1) at Titan FC 37, and he pronounced his perspective on the issue, as he was one of the contracted assassins expected to compete on the Titan FC 36 card. Demonstrating a profound level of professionalism at twenty-five years old, Gutierrez’s disappointment didn’t blind him to the good will proposed by the promotion,
“Titan did end up coming through. They gave twenty-five percent of the show money, which, for me, I get paid a decent amount, like more than the average guy on Titan. I definitely appreciated the gesture. Technically, they didn’t have to do anything because in the contracts, it actually does state: They can cancel a show at anytime. They didn’t have to pay us anything, so the fact that they did, it’s a really nice gesture. Some guys are happy, and some guys aren’t. It’s in the past.”
The initial attempts to blemish Aronson and his brand revealed a contraposition to all the unwarranted scrutiny. Appreciation pulsed through the speakers, and Aronson reflected on how deeply he was moved by the many sentiments rallying to construct a support system. Aronson shared the positive climate created by those who cared,
“The flip side to that was: You really get to see who your friends are, the fans, and you get to see the emotional outpour; the other side of this business that you don’t get to see every day. It was unbelievable, including many fighters, many, many fighters.”
Turning the other cheek to all the downtrodden comments, the Titan FC brass huddled up to assemble a phenomenal roster, worthy of a ten-dollar subscription to the UFC’s online membership site: UFC Fight Pass,
“The only thing I could do is go sit down with Lex McMahon and the whole team at Titan: Bryan [Levick], Joe Wooster, and all our guys and put together a card that was going to knock people over, get major names on there, put together fantastic fights, and put together an incredible production, again on Fight Pass.”
Eager to pick up where they left off, prior to any lambasting, Aronson and Titan FC plan to inject enthusiasm into their fans with three title fights and project a spotlight onto a canvas engineered to foster MMA stars of tomorrow. Concluding the night’s affair at the Clark County Event Center in Ridgefield, Washington, #TitanFC37 will fade into a fond memory, whereas, #FansFightersFirst unbreakably endures.