Friday night at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, World Series of Fighting will hold its inaugural 8-man, single-night tournament. Eight lightweight fighters will vie for the tournament title and cement themselves as the top contender to the promotion’s 155-pound championship.
“We’re already working on the second tournament. We’re just going to see how this one is going to work out. If it goes well, we’re going to go ahead and do a second one, a third one, and fourth one,” WSOF Vice President Ali Abdelaziz told MMAWeekly.com. “We’re going to put on regular events and we’re going to put on tournaments.”
The tournament format is a throwback to the early days of mixed marital arts, and Abdelaziz believes the American fans enjoy watching tournaments unfold.
“I’m probably one of the biggest MMA fans you’ll ever meet. I train every day and I talk to people all the time. People are kind of getting tired of fighting. There’s too much fighting. I thought about it and thought what if we bring something completely different.
“It’s not completely different. UFC 1 was a tournament. Pride had tournaments, and this is something that hasn’t’ been done for a long time,” he said.
“America loves the brackets. Everybody loves March Madness, and they do brackets. To have eight warriors come in, and in one night try accomplish what not too many people have accomplished. Why not gives these guys the opportunity to fulfill their dreams,” added Abdelaziz.
Tournaments can be brutal physically and mentally. Not every fighter likes tournaments, but one-night tournament winners can gain instant notoriety.
“A lot of guys didn’t want to be in the tournament. Everybody has a dream. Many people have a dream, but they won’t accomplish their dream because they won’t do the extra work. These eight men chose that they’re not going to take that dream to the grave. They went through the extra work to be in this tournament and fight for the gold,” said the WSOF vice president.
“You’re watching this one guy beat three guys in one night. It builds fans in one night. For a lot of fighters, it takes years to build fans. You win fans in one night just because of the courage and the push to win the tournament.”
Tournaments are cut and dry. The path to the title is laid out and easy to follow. There’s no politics involved, and Abdelaziz believes that’s a good thing.
“If you win the tournament, we’re taking all the politics out of it, all the, I like this guy more or you like that guy more. Whoever wins is going to determine who is the No. 1 contender.”