Shine Fights COO Jason Chambers Interview
Shine Fights has had more than their fair share of problems in 2010.
The promotion’s last event, “Shine Fights 3”, was good to go this past May, but an injunction caused the cancellation of the event on the same day it was scheduled. Then, earlier this month, Shine Fights’ latest event ran into some problems in Virginia, learning just one week before the event that the Virginia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Program would not sanction the event.
Shine Fights’ most recent debacle would give anyone a massive headache, but the promotion’s Chief Operating Officer Jason Chambers knows how to stay cool under pressure and take care of business.
“It was a monstrous headache,” Chambers says of the situation. “We’ve got a bunch of fighters and tickets and venues. You know, it’s a big undertaking. We got dealt a bad hand and we could have said, ‘You know what? We fold.’ Or we could say, ‘This is not the best hand. This is 7-2 off-suit. Let’s figure out how to make this four of a kind.’”
Chambers realized he was coming into this situation with a poor hand in terms of dealing with the commission. He had heard a lot about the commission he would be dealing with, and what he heard was not good.
“Everyone going into Virginia had said the commission is at best suspect and at worst atrocious,” Chambers says. “I had put in place that fighters get examined between the rounds, and giving the doctors full ability to pull a fighter if they felt it wasn’t safe. I wanted to look back… what mistakes in the last event did we have? We can’t allow that to happen (again).”
“What I think what really happened is, he (official Dave Holland) got cold feet. He fumbled to look for excuses, and, at the end of the day, I’m not going to wait for five days and try to reason with the guy. He wouldn’t return my phone calls. I left six messages. I even left word with his boss to try to rectify the situation.”
Regardless of his efforts, Chambers could not convince the regulatory body to allow the event to move forward. The reasoning behind the lack of sanctioning is believed to be due to the fans voting on the match ups they wanted to see for the opening round of the tournament.
While the idea may have cost them sanctioning in Virginia, Chambers believes that the voting which allowed the fans a say as to who they could watch fight in the opening round was well worth it.
“It was something that I actually brought to the table, but we all decided (that it was the best route),” Chambers says. “I think it’s like if you walk into a restaurant. You sit down and you’re like, ‘I’m hungry’. And the waiter brings you a plate and is like, ‘let me explain to you why this is the best situation possible.’ That’s one way to do it. I always thought you should be able to order what you want.”
And that’s exactly what the promotion did, giving the fans the menu and the ability to have a say in the matchmaking. The result is four match ups set for the September 10 event. Included in the four-man tournament are fighters such as the controversial Charles Bennett and former UFC fighter Drew Fickett.
Looking at the list, Chambers is impressed with the fighters participating in the event. However, he is even more impressed with the fighter’s willingness to participate in what will most certainly be a grueling night of fighting due to the tournament format for the event.
“The people in this tournament, win or lose, they show the mental fortitude and the heart to even set foot in the ring,” Chambers says. “This isn’t just one fight. (This could be) two fights or three fights. Some people don’t even know what it takes to get in there and battle and be a warrior.”
With the event just days away, it is impressive to see the recovery Shine has made within the last few days. The problems seemed more than capable to doom the event, causing yet another late cancellation, but the promotion’s officials managed to make the quick turnaround.
While the quick fix may be surprising to some, Chambers is definitely not shocked at the ability for his team to solve the problem. The former host of “Human Weapon” on The History Channel feels he is surrounded with the absolute best people to be working with, the best people to promote an event with, and, apparently, the best people to push an event forward even with so much adversity.
“I think that I’ve got the best people here,” Chambers says. “Within 24 hours, we were able to flip this around, get a brand new venue. Everyone’s looking forward to it, and people are actually shocked at the debacle and what came out of it. I think it’s a testament to the growth we’ve made within the company and that we are able to execute on it so quickly.”
“We had no choice. The only choice we had was not to do the event or make this event go well, and I think we did a great job. We’re ready to roll on September 10.”