We recently spoke to Lex McMahon. McMahon is the chief operating officer of Titan FC. The promotion, whose fights stream on UFC Fightpass have their 60th event in the pipeline. Titan FC 60 will be held in the Dominican Republic. McMahon provided us his insights on running an MMA promotion in the current state of events.
Titan FC 60 was set to air on 25 April later this year. Titan FC postponed the event to May 29.
“We want to get back to work, but we are not the subject matter experts” said McMahon, in reference to the global pandemic. McMahon stressed that the public, fighters and promoters, would do well to listen to the experts. He stated that the restrictions put in place were there for a reason. With some luck, the crisis will abate and the fights will resume.
We asked if it would make sense to take the risk of going forward with an event in the hope of building a brand. McMahon disagreed. ‘Titan FC already has a presence’. He would not want to disagree with the experts on the issue. McMahon also added that they may have more to lose than gain with this risk.
We enquired if closed door events were an option. He agreed that it was, but that it did affect the revenues for the promotion. Being a smaller promotion every dollar counts. The adjustments and sacrifices are necessary when the world is dealing with such a large issue.
Working with the UFC
Lex McMahon and Dana White have known each other for 12 years. In 2015, the UFC and Titan FC signed a deal by which the former would be broadcast the events of the latter. UFC Fightpass thus became the official platform for Titan FC.
McMahon fully endorsed the UFC team. ‘We even talked about the negotiation process with the UFC. Like most good business deals, the deal has to be even’. McMahon says that his best approach was when he would try to present win-win situations to the UFC, as opposed to pushing the case for Titan FC.
“If you want a really one-sided deal on your first deal, guess what, there’s not going to be a second deal” says McMahon.
He also added that White has a strong sense of integrity when it comes to honouring hand-shake obligations.
Paving the way
In the last few years, Titan FC have sent 84 fighters to the UFC. Other premier organisations are also taking talent from Titan FC.
The UFC will touchdown in Kazakhstan for the first time in June this year. This comes in the wake of Titan FCs efforts at exploring the country. In 2017, Lex McMahon explained that it made sense to explore the idea of a show in Kazakhstan as the country has a history with combat sports.
Titan FC successfully pulled off a show with over 11,000 fans in attendance. McMahon said he knew it was a success when the top executives running UFC Fightpass started calling him to ask about the country.
Since then Titan FC has also reached the Dominican Republic and looks to return there once more.
The promotion handles all the paperwork and visa requirements for their athletes. They have their athletes fly in advance. This is a good practice because the athletes have an adjustment period. For athletes that make a longer journey, they sometimes make the journey almost a week in advance. For athletes that have to make a shorter journey, it’s often just a few days akin to a domestic flight.
We also discussed the possibility of Titan FC making their presence felt in India. McMahon says he is still on the lookout for the ideal partner. The Indian market is a large market which is still untapped. There is a strong warrior culture which will make it ideal for a martial arts promotion.
One of the bigger stars to leave Titan FC in recent times is Mohammed Usman. Usman is the brother of UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman. However, the former Titan FC champ has nothing but kind words about McMahon and the rest of Titan FC.
McMahon opened up about his personal relationship with Usman. Usman, McMahon and Brian Butler are close friends. Usman recently suffered the tragic loss of his child. Usman’s departure from the promotion comes as a result of a very lucrative deal along with the chance to compete for a million dollars of prize money.
McMahon also stated that Usman wanted to build his own brand and not just stay in the shadow of his brother.
Lex McMahon has seen his fair share of action. Before Titan FC, he served as a marine. He trains in combat sports with different coaches. He has even worked with Owen Roddy, who is Conor McGregor‘s striking coach.
McMahon has high praise for Owen Roddy. Striking in mixed martial arts is different from striking in other combat sports. McMahon is very savvy in describing framing as a key part of MMA striking. For those unaware, framing is essential to guard against the takedown.
Caring for the fighters
So what is it that really builds the Titan FC brand? Is it McMahon’s marine experience? Is it his training background? Or is it a great business strategy? When we asked McMahon, he said it’s because they care.
In the wake of the Coronavirus, one of Titan FCs fighters was stranded. The fighter had given up his accommodation in Florida. However, his home country of Lebanon had closed its borders, so McMahon opened up his own house.
Usman too had nothing but good things to say about Titan FC.
So let’s leave with these parting words from Lex McMahon, “If you put the fighters first, it will come back to you”.
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