Shamrock FC - Promotional Update
There's been a beehive's worth of buzz coming out of the Shamrock FC / Finney's MMA.
Last Wednesday, it was announced that Adam Cella had been selected for the cast of the upcoming Ultimate Fighter, which premiers January 22nd. Cella began his training with Finney's Kickboxing in 2004 before making the jump to MMA in 2008.
Of the thousands that tried out, Cella was chosen as part of the 28-person starting cast for the 17th season of the Ultimate Fighter. Coaches for this season are UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen.
"He's obviously on the show, but he has to fight to get on the house," Finney said. "So all I can say is stay tuned."
Cella has trained under the careful eye of Finney from the onset and has made his coach proud.
"He's really made the breakthrough." Finney said. "And to represent our gym, he doesn't drink he doesn't smoke, he doesn't party, we're lucky"
The 27-year-old Cella began training to learn self defense but took to the sport so naturally that it quickly became his favorite hobby.
"He doesn't have to do this and that's exactly what is so special," Finney said. "He's doing this because he wants to do this."
The middleweight is 4-0 as a pro and on the cusp of a career in the UFC.
"He walked into the gym at 252 pounds with glasses on, never been in a fight and never been hit." Finney said. "His dad said, 'We own a heating and cooling company in a rough part of town and I want him to learn how to defend himself.' It's a really neat story."
This news follows the announcement of a new local MMA radio show set to hit the airwaves in two weeks. Aptly named "The Hit Squad," the show will debut on January 19th before the UFC on FX event and will air every Saturday from 5-7pm.
"We signed a deal with 101 ESPN Radio. It's a good deal for local and national MMA," Finney said. "We're going to be talking about fitness, getting your kids into martial arts, and we're going to be talking about local shows going on and national shows going on."
Joining Finney on the show will be Chad Range. Range is a veteran announcer who has worked for both CBS and with the World Combat League on the Versus network.
"Each week we'll have a local guest, a national guest, and more depending on how much time we have," Finney said. "We'll be doing some live remotes from the casinos."
This announcement adds to the already long list of his responsibilities including husband, father, coach, and promoter.
"I'm a lucky man to have my wife," Finney said. "I'm here at the gym, that's my full-time job. Training my guys, doing the promotions every day. I sleep from 12:30 to 5:30 if I'm lucky. I have a year-and-a-half old daughter and another one on the way. I'm going a million miles a minute every day."
Finney is quick to make it clear that this is not a one man show.
"One thing I do best is surround myself with good people," Finney said. "We have over 100 people employed throughout the gyms and the promotion company. I'm able to do all these things and keep expanding the brands because we have such a good staff and that is really the key to everything for me. It's a busy lifestyle but I wouldn't have it any other way."
But with continued growth also brings added pressure.
"One thing people don't realize is the pressure when you have to sign people's paychecks," Finney said. "You realize you have over 100 people who depend on you every week. That's my biggest fear, letting them down."
Part of Finney's expansion plans include opening a third training facility in the St. Charles-area.
"We're opening a Hit Squad in St. Charles. This is the first time I can actually say that," Finney said. "We're 100-percent signed in St. Charles with the Hit Squad."
Veteran boxer and fast-rising MMA prospect Kevin Engel (4-0) will help run the facility when it opens.
"You can look for it to open in the spring." Finney said. "We're franchising the Hit Squad, and Kevin will be running it. We're going to hold on to announcing who will be doing the jiu-jitsu, but everybody knows him."
The promotional side of Finney's business, Shamrock Fighting Championships, has announced an expanded line-up of pro/ams this calendar year with shows at both the Lumiere Place Casino and also for the first time ever, the River City Casino
"We're going to be doing eight shows with the Missouri Athletic Commission with the possibility of 12," Finney said. "Which will happen pretty quick."
The 2013 season kicks off with Shamrock FC: Fury on January 26 at the Lumiere Casino.
Shamrock FC has recently relaunched their website to include photo galleries, event info including fight cards, and more athttp://shamrockfightingchampionships.com/
Lumiere Casino, St. Louis, MO
Shamrock FC: 284 | Sat, February 25th
Lumiere Casino, St. Louis, MO
Gateway Fight Series | Fri, March 3rd
Heart of St. Charles, St. Charles, MO
Shamrock FC: 285 | Sat, March 11th
Ameristar KC, Kansas City, MO