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Promoter: Publicly-traded XFC’s relaunch to provide unique product for fighters and fans alike

XFC hasn’t put on an MMA event since 2016 – and hasn’t promoted fights on American soil since 2013.

On Wednesday, both hiatuses come to an end when the Michigan-based promotion returns – and does so prominently on NBC Sports. Its promoter, Myron Molotky, always knew XFC would be back. It was just a matter of when and how.

“It’s been a long, hard road,” Molotky recently told MMA Junkie. “Anyone that’s followed XFC understands that we went down to Brazil and went on a real strong run down there. Of course, Brazil has some issues. We went on the sidelines.”

From 2006-2013, XFC held 27 events in the United States. The promotion featured future notables Carla Esparza, Marlon Moraes, Josh Samman, Felice Herrig, Ovince Saint Preux and Nick Newell, among others. Fourteen Brazilian events later, XFC came to a screeching halt – but it never died.

“We never gave up on a plan to come back,” Molotky said. “When we were in Brazil, we got approached by quite a few people about looking into buying XFC. We vetted them out. They vetted us out.”

Eventually, the right opportunities presented themselves. Motloky and the XFC investors came across the right opportunities, which include television deals on NBC Sports, Telemundo, Globo and FITE TV. Molotky estimated 32 additional countries will be able to watch XFC soon, too.

Molotky isn’t trying to make XFC the next UFC. In his eyes, the two won’t really compete. Instead, Molotky hopes to provide uniquely structured MMA events for fans who enjoy exciting fights and athlete development.

“It’s one of those things that’s always cracked me up,” Molotky said. “A lot of companies brag: ‘We’re a feeder to the UFC’ or whatever. That’s not our business model. That’s not what we’re looking to do. We made a lot of noise in Brazil. We were considered right at the top. Obviously, UFC is UFC. We get it and we respect what they have, but we’re a whole different business model. When you take a look at XFC, we’re breaking it down much differently than anyone else has ever done it.”

XFC events will include three categories of fights. “Superfights” will include top talent fighting one another. The promotion’s tournament series will pair athletes up bracket-style with winners lining themselves up for title shots. And the “Young Guns” series is the promotion’s development program.

In addition to being paid their fight purses, Molotky said XFC offers a unique form of compensation for XFC athletes: shares in the company. The XFC is the only publicly-traded MMA promotion in the world.

“There are rules,” Molotky said. “We’re surrounded by all kinds of rules with the (Securities and Exchange Commission) and everyone else involved. But it’s good. … Our fighters, why are they going to perform to the best of their abilities? Well, it’s because they’re going to own a piece of the XFC. One of the things coming in is that, of course, we’re paying them nicely.

“They’re excited about that, but they’re also going to become shareholders in the company. … As XFC grows, so do they. So does their retirement. It’s important to us. You see so many of these fighters who have retired who just don’t have a way to make it or stay in the sport. Well, we’re going to offer that.”

XFC holds its first event Wednesday and its second Feb. 15. At a minimum, viewers can expect six events in 2021, according to Molotky. If COVID-19 pandemic circumstances allow for it, Molotky said the XFC could promote as many as 10 cards.

All you hear is fighters say, ‘I just need a chance. I just need a chance,’ right? Well, here it is,” Molotky said. “You’re going to be on NBC and it’s going to be streamed on a global basis. This is your chance. XFC fighters have always understood that, which is why I’ve always felt our events, we don’t have fighters feeling each other out and trying not to lose. We’ve got fighters who go in (and) when that cage door closes, all hell breaks loose. I mean, they go. They put out to the absolute best of their ability inside that cage right now. That’s what you’re going to see.”

XFC 43 takes place Wednesday at Tabernacle in Atlanta and airs on NBC Sports after prelims on FITE TV. The card is headlined by Guilherme Faria vs. former UFC fighter Andre Soukhamthath and also features UFC alums Jessica Aguilar, Danielle Taylor and Kurt Holobaugh. UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich and fellow MMA commentator Kenny Rice will call the action.

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