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Get to Know the MMA Pro League with President Mark Taffet



Mark Taffet and Hani Darwish have known each other for some time and while both men met working in the world of boxing, they both had an interest in bringing their experience and vision to the sport of mixed martial arts.

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Taffet said he got his first taste of MMA at an event when current Ultimate Fighting Championship Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner, brought him while he was working with HBO. What he noticed and shared with fans in the arena was what the sport would grow into years later.

“It was a heck of a night,” Taffet said of his first event. “I was incredibly impressed and immediately became a fan. I was even a little but jealous of how fun of an event it was in person.”

Taffet went to more events and said he saw that his first one “wasn’t a novelty; I became more of a fan.”

Darwish, MMA Pro League’s CEO had been looking at bringing the team based concept for many years and after a few meetings, Taffet said, “we were off to the races.”

The inaugural event will feature Team New Jersey vs. Team Pennsylvania with Team New Jersey being coached by Dan Miller, and Team Pennsylvania being led by Daniel Gracie. The team concept was done before and Taffet had been aware of the IFL when it was around, but the approach and timing seems right for the concept.

When asked about the feedback from the first try at team based MMA, Taffet said he had actually talked with former IFL President Jay Larkin about the advantages and disadvantages of getting into MMA. One thing Taffet mentioned was that outside of wearing similar jerseys, the team concept was not really in play. “The fighters rarely trained together, it was just a group of individuals that wore a common jersey one night.”

Along with training together, when the MMA Pro League launches its full season in the spring of 2019, Taffet said we are to expect more teams. Eight teams total, four east division teams and four west division squads with a 12-14 week regular season followed by a four to six week semi-finals and finals period. Taffet called the September event the “introductory phase” of the MMA Pro League’s plans.

Taffet is credited with helping build the pay-per-view model for boxing that HBO has been successful with, and looks to duplicate that success in the streaming industry featuring these events. Being from New Jersey and familiar with hosting fights on the boardwalk in Atlantic City in the past, Taffet is confident that what the MMA Pro League is bringing on Sept. 15 will certainly be refreshing for MMA fans.

Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu Karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since UFC 1. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.

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