After rainy weather cut the “Battle of the Centuries” mixed martial arts fights short in June, promoter John Kiser wanted to make sure to hold another fight to make it up to sponsors, fighters and fans.
This past Friday, Kiser delivered as the Universal Combat Leagued hosted the “Battle of the Centuries 2” at the Riverfront Community Center.
“This show was about the sponsors, fighters and their fans,” Kiser said.
Kiser planned the show right after the previous event was cut short. Combining the two events, Kiser has been working nearly non-stop over the last four months.
The preparation was filled with lots of stress for Kiser, including various fighters dropping out just a few days before the show. Kiser scrambled to get new fights put together, including teammates going against each other.
“These fighters kept this show alive,” Kiser said. “They kept MMA alive. If this show wouldn’t have gone off, I can 100 percent guarantee that UCL would have been done.”
This was the fourth MMA event hosted by the UCL in Leavenworth this year and despite the struggles to make it actually happen, Kiser felt like it was the smoothest.
“The event went almost perfect,” Kiser said. “The only issue we really had was an altercation in the crowd, but it was quickly handled by security.”
Kiser mentioned that a big focus for this event was getting the seating perfected, which he felt like they were able to do with this event.
An estimated crowd of 700 watched the various bouts on a Friday night at the same time as the Kansas City Chiefs preseason game. While this was smaller than the previous events, the crowd was able to see a variety of fights filled with excitement, and a comedic moment when one fighter’s shorts fell down.
More viewers tuned in on the YouTube livestream, which Kiser said got about 2,000 hits in the first 24 hours. Like the fights itself, the livestream went smoothly with only a hiccup with the stream freezing during the opening fight.
This marked the final MMA event hosted by the UCL in Leavenworth this year. Kiser wants to take time off to not over saturate the product. The UCL will continue to work joint events in the future with the military veteran MMA organization, Never Surrender. The two will co-host an event in Junction City, Kansas, on Oct. 27. Other events are also planned, including one in the Kansas City area in December.
It is just part of the success that the UCL has had since it began. The growth, especially by social media, has allowed the UCL to become more known. Kiser believes that they are the fastest growing MMA promotion in the country after how much the social media reach has increased. The success by the UCL has even caused bigger MMA organizations to reach out to do shows with the UCL.
While the UCL may be done with fights in Leavenworth until next year, the organization is not done with events for the community. Kiser said that they will do a series of self-defense seminars that will be coming soon and will run to the end of the year. Information about the seminars will be made available on the organization’s Facebook page. The events will be free, but the seminars will be limited. Those wanting to attend will have to sign up via the UCL Facebook page.
It is just one of the many ways Kiser wants to continue to give back to the community he is from.