A1 Combat Aided by UFC Fight Pass Deal

Image for A1 Combat Aided by UFC Fight Pass Deal

It was a little less than two years ago when UFC Hall of Fame inductee Urijah Faber switched hats from competitor to promoter. In 2022, what was then known as Firepower MMA became known as A1 Combat.

It should be noted that the Firepower MMA moniker has still been used for its “Future Stars” events taking place within the amateur ranks. With the change in moniker came a bump in exposure.

Effective with the May 1, 2022 A1 Combat 1 event, the promotion’s cards would now be seen live on UFC Fight Pass. Right from the start, A1 Combat made headlines around MMA circles, even though the first headlines to come out of the organization weren’t the headlines they wanted to make by any stretch of the imagination.

First A1 Combat Show Marred by Postponed Main Event Due to Brawl at Weigh-Ins

Flashback: April 30, 2022: A1 Combat was set to debut live the next evening on Fight Pass in a 6 pm ET timeslot with A1 Combat 1 originating from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Wheatland, CA, near Sacramento. That weekend’s headliner was to have been a battle for the inaugural A1 Combat Flyweight Championship between Jesse Tafoya (6-5 MMA) and Jack Duffy (6-0 MMA, 1-0 A1 Combat).

A1 Combat’s plans for that Sunday night came unglued on Saturday afternoon. During that day’s pre-fight weigh-ins, Tafoya and Duffy had a fight before the fight, resulting in the planned championship fight, which was to have been the first title bout in A1 Combat’s history, being scrapped without a single punch thrown.

To date, Jesse Tafoya has not fought under the A1 Combat promotional banner, while Jack Duffy made his first appearance in A1 Combat almost a year after the scuffle at the weigh-ins on the first anniversary show, A1 Combat 10, last April. The latter is scheduled to make a return this Friday night at A1 Combat 17 on the campus of Sacramento State University.

Faber Still Pleased With A1 Combat 1 Despite Cancellation at Top of the Bill

Thankfully, the night as a whole went off without a hitch that spring evening. After the fights concluded, Urijah Faber said that he was happy with how the show turned out.

“It was awesome man, I mean, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Faber mentioned in 2022. “We had a bad issue with not getting our main event for the belt. We want to see those belts coming out and they’re coming, guys.”

Within the end of the promotion’s first full year on Fight Pass, a graduate of A1 Combat hit it big. Back on March 19 of last year, Payton Talbott (7-0 MMA, 3-0 A1 Combat) successfully defended his A1 Combat Bantamweight Championship during A1 Combat 9 with a third-round knockout of Cristhian Rivas (9-3-1 MMA, 1-2 A1 Combat in the main event of the evening.

Talbott Cashes In on Contender Series During Opening Night

Anyone who was watching A1 Combat 9 that evening had to be thinking to themselves “Man! That Payton Talbott is good! Wonder when he gets called up to the UFC! He’s ready to hit some home runs in the big leagues!”

After winning three bouts in succession under the A1 Combat signature, Payton Talbott’s next stop was Las Vegas and the UFC Apex on Aug. 8 for opening night of the eighth season of Dana White’s Contender Series on ESPN+. There, he drew Reyes Cortez (7-3 MMA) in the second bout of five on the card.

Although Talbott was unable to finish Cortez, his performance netted him a decision win and a UFC contract from Dana White at the end of the evening. From there, he parlayed his Contender Series victory into his first win by way of submission in his UFC promotional debut against Nick Aguirre (7-1 MMA, 0-2 UFC) on Nov. 18 (third-round rear naked choke.)

No word yet on Payton Talbott’s next UFC opposition, but keep it tuned right here to MMA Sucka for the latest on all upcoming and future bouts.

Fight Pass a Lifeline for Fighters in A1 Combat and All Regional MMA Promotions

If UFC Fight Pass hadn’t signed a media rights deal with A1 Combat in the spring of 2022, what are the chances that a guy like Payton Talbott would have gotten on Dana White’s radar? If the contract with Fight Pass didn’t exist, the odds might not have been in his favour.

For over a decade now, UFC Fight Pass has been a de facto home for regional MMA promotions not just here in America, but all over the world. It’s because of UFC Fight Pass and Dana White that great competitors like Talbott have been able to showcase their craft and further their careers as fighters.

Think of how many current UFC fighters started out in a regional promotion whose cards were streamed on the subscription-based platform. You could be sitting at your computer until at least this time next week trying to name every last one of them.

Everybody has to start out somewhere. For a number of top-tier fighters in the sport of MMA, that starting point has been and will continue to be UFC Fight Pass.

A1 Combat Inks New Deal With Fight Pass

At the start of 2024, UFC Fight Pass and A1 Combat came to terms on a new three-year contract that will see the promotion remaining on the streaming platform through the end of 2026. A1 Combat President Tom Anderson was thrilled to see the relationship continue up to and including the fifth year of the promotion’s life under the A1 Combat signature.

“Continuing to give these up-and-coming fighters a worldwide spotlight on UFC Fight Pass and a clear path to the UFC through our shows is fantastic,” Anderson said of the new media deal. “It’s a great partnership and one that will continue to flourish through 2026.”

The new media rights deal kicks in this Friday night with the previously-mentioned A1 Combat 17 from Sacramento State University. Live coverage begins with the undercard at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT on YouTube, with action shifting to UFC Fight Pass at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT.

Final Thoughts

A1 Combat is a great watch on UFC Fight Pass. If you haven’t watched an A1 Combat show yet, what’s holding you back?

Tune in on Friday night for A1 Combat 17. You’ll be glad you did, and you might even get to see MMA’s next big star in the making.

Share this article

Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

Leave a comment