“It was a very good year for us,” he said. “It was our first year on HDNet. They really made a commitment to MMA and growing the sport, so it was really exciting to have a TV partner like that. We did five televised shows and I think they were pretty successful on all counts.
“It was kind of our soft launch for our goals of expanded shows and an expanded schedule for 2012.”
Kelly can’t understate the impact being on live television has had on Titan.
“It’s tremendous. You go from just a regional promotion to a nationwide promotion,” he said. “That’s what everyone wants to do: show their brand and product to as many people as possible.”
According to Kelly, the tone for 2011 was set in the main event of the company’s first televised show in January.
“I think Tim Sylvia and Abe Wagner started off the year in a way that you couldn’t have asked for any better,” he said. “That really set the stage for everything we did the rest of the year.
“There was also the dramatic fight between Bobby Lashley and John Ott, and Phil Baroni and Nick Nolte (in March). I think the key to those (fights’ impact) were unknown guys fighting name fighters and by all accounts putting on great performances. In two of those fights the underdog ended up winning. That’s very exciting for us and creates great drama and makes for great television.”
Kelly told MMAWeekly.com when it comes to 2012; growth is the name of the game for both the promotion and the fighters.
“We’re going to expand and do eight to 10 events this year,” he said. “Throughout the course of the year we’re going to leave our home base of Memorial Hall (in Kansas City) and actually do some shows in Omaha, Neb., and Junction City, Kan.
“The main goal is to have a blend of recognized stars fighting young, up-and-coming prospects. We want to showcase the best fighters in the world that no one knows about. The stars of tomorrow fighting here in Titan on HDNet before you see them a year or two years from now competing at the highest level in the UFC.”
When it comes to setting the stage for this year, Kelly feels the promotion’s March 2 show at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City could just do the trick.
“The main event is right up there with the best fights we’ve done,” he said. “Jorge Santiago, who was one of the best middleweights in the world coming into his UFC run, is fighting Leonardo Pecanha, who is a world jiu-jitsu champion. It has a really great jiu-jitsu versus stand-up striker dynamic that everyone likes.
“We also have Joe Wilk fighting one of our newly signed prospects Andrew Carrillo in a fight that’s going to have some high drama. Joe Ellenberger is going to be making his Titan debut against Jesse Zeugin in a fight that’s going to be great. And then we’ll have the HDNet Prospect of the Year Anthony Gutierrez fighting someone who is almost a mirror image of himself in Brandon Pfannenstiel. It’s going to be top to bottom our best card.”
Having used last year to set a foundation for his promotion, Kelly is expecting 2012 to continue the growing process and take Titan to its highest point ever.
“It’s going to be an awesome year,” he said. “I would definitely people to check us out on HDNet, because we will offer non-stop excitement at our events.
“Our matchmaker Ryan Stoddard has done an excellent job putting this card together. This is an awesome card, and from top to bottom it is our best one yet. It will be the most competitive one we’ve had yet.”