Aggression FC’s Jason Heit Talks Canadian Expansion, Vancouver Market And Kalib Starnes
By Kelsey Mowatt
While Canada is well known for its continued support of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and as being the home of thriving promotions like the Maximum Fighting Championship, there have been no shortage of MMA organizations that have come and gone. Although Aggression Fighting Championship is relatively new to Canadian MMA, it has captured headlines in recent years by not only signing big name talent, but by holding events in several different markets. It’s an approach not many other promoters have taken “north of the border”.
“Originally it was the Armageddon Fighting Championship, Aggression out of Edmonton, and AX Combat and we were all working on our MMA promotions independently,” Aggression FC producer Jason Heit relayed while appearing on Full Contact Fighter Radio this week. “But we found it fairly difficult to do enough shows, you saturate the market when you do shows over and over again in the same place….we ended up coming together under one company to do more shows in more places.”
Under the Aggression FC banner, the promotion has held events now in Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria and Winnipeg. Organizations like King of the Cage Canada have also held events across the nation, but traditionally, most promotions have elected to stay in one city or one Province.
“Our main thing is fan support,” added Heit, who also said they hope to hold an event in Quebec at some juncture. “If we get the fan support we can expand the AFC into communities across Canada and get these local athletes the platforms to compete on.”
One of the country’s biggest cities is of course Vancouver, and although the west coast city has hosted two UFC events, it remains a difficult market to utilize according to Heit.
“Vancouver has been, I wouldn’t say a difficult market , I would say almost an impossible market,” Heit noted about Vancouver, which hosted UFC 115 and 131 in 2010 and 2011 respectively, during a trial period the city council had enacted for MMA. “It was banned for years, it was forced underground, and it wasn’t very pretty but there were some shows…the Vancouver City Council came up with their trial period and really made it that the only people that could go in there was the UFC.”
“The UFC did their two events, and had tremendous support, and that window closed and nobody else could go in there,” Heit furthered. “Now we’re not too sure what we’re going to do about Vancouver. Our plan is to go there, we’re actively pursuing it, but the city council will hopefully support it. There’s some regulation changes going on with the government right now to regulate it at the provincial level, so that should be taking place shortly.”
Up next, the AFC will return to Victoria for an event on May 19th, which will feature UFC vet Kalib Starnes taking on David Perron at middleweight. Then, at AFC 19th on July 5th in Edmonton, Starnes is scheduled to battle former UFC heavyweight Tim Hague.
“Kalib is very well rounded, a very good fighter, and when he has the fire in him that is a tough guy to beat,” Heit noted. “Kalib also fought Joe Doerksen recently in the AFC, and again, absolutely amazing fight…That is definitely a lot of weight to come up but it makes for an interesting fight.”
The May 19th, AFC 18 show will be hosted by the Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria.