Las Vegas-based promoters of the Muay Thai fight show at the downtown Fremont Street Experience last Friday are parlaying that nationally televised live event into expanded fight deals for 2014.
The company, Lion Fight Promotions, is negotiating with the Hard Rock Hotel for a six-fight show deal in 2014, while planning at least two more fight events at the Fremont Street Experience next year, said Scott Kent, CEO of Lion Fight.
Thanks to the publicity around Friday’s fight show, Lion Fight also is looking at staging events in Southern California, Arizona, Colorado and India, Kent said Tuesday.
Plus, one of Friday’s big-name performers who made her Muay Thai debut — female MMA star Cris “Cyborg” Santos — will be invited to a Lion Fight world title bout in 2014, Kent said.
He hopes she will fight a Lion Fight middleweight championship bout.
Muay Thai fighting is different from mixed martial arts bouts such as the shows in Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship. MMA fights include grappling and fighting on the ground. Muay Thai, the national sport of Thailand, is limited to stand-up punch and kick strikes without the ground wrestling.
Friday’s Muay Thai fight show — the first sports event to be televised live from the Fremont Street Experience — was sold out with 1,750 tickets ranging in price from $25 to $95, Kent said.
In addition, thousands of Fremont Street spectators watched the fight show from behind a fence, he noted.
“We had a 4-foot fence where we had thousands of people stretching down the west side. From the camera angle, it looked like 20,000 people were at the fight,” Kent said.
Andrew Simon, chief executive of the TV network fight division that televised Friday’s Muay Thai fight, expects to broadcast more Lion Fight shows next year.
The national broadcast on AXS TV placed the spotlight not only on Lion Fight 11, but also on downtown Las Vegas, Simon said.
The event “reached new demographics and was the perfect marketing piece for Lion Fight, The D Las Vegas and Fremont Street Experience to get out their message that downtown Las Vegas is the place to be,” Simon said.
The D Las Vegas was a sponsor of Friday’s fight show.
“Lion Fight elevated their game ... and showed the world that the best strikers in the world fight for the promotion,” Simon said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Friday night helped cement Lion Fight as the number one promotion in the U.S. to see stand-up fighters. 2014 will continue the growth trend for both Lion Fight and AXS TV.”
On Friday, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman proclaimed it “Lion Fight Muay Thai Day” in Las Vegas. The mayor stayed to watch some of the fights after her announcement.
Alan Snel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow @bicyclemansnel on Twitter