ByJesse Finney, writer at
Jesse Finney

I grew up around combat sports. I can't remember a time when I wasn't involved either by helping my stepfather (Robert Biggs) with his various projects, as a fighter myself, and now as an owner of a successful regional promotion.

I started training when I was just nine years old. I would travel with my stepfather all over because he was still fighting and training too. I competed all the way through college and beyond. Fighting has always been in my blood, but I soon realized there was no money in fighting, so that's when I started promoting.

I started doing kickboxing shows in 1997 in the St. Louis area for the most part, but was still competing myself until about 2010. Once I retired from fighting, that's when I dove in full steam, and things really began to take off.

is known for our live experience; not many promotions pay as much attention as we do to the fans in attendance. Most focus solely on the televised portions, but we understand that those people who are buying the tickets are the ones we want to come back. We want them to enjoy all aspects of the night. Bellator is the best at this, and I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a few shows and really respect how they set up their fight nights.

We have done some upscale shows for the Ritz-Carlton, private shows for the Shriner's Club, and we started doing shows in the casinos about seven years ago.

We do about 20 shows a year, and we have fights booked up until January 2019, and with a full staff, we are about five people (there's more on fight nights of course). We are one of few promotions that have a payroll, meaning we have employees on staff full-time. We have a war room of sorts where all the planning goes down, and fights are made.

My advice to anyone interested in getting into the business would be to love the sport — you will not succeed if you do not love what you are doing.

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