In the August 2015 issue of Fighters Only magazine we interviewed Mick Maynard about his Legacy FC promotion and how he took it from a Houston country bar to national exposure on AXS TV…
As he sat in front of his computer, anxiously tapping his finger on the desk inside his office and staring at the screen, Mick Maynard realized his next decision could change his life.
The native of Sydney, Australia had tracked down the email address of AXS TV chairman Mark Cuban and wrote to him explaining why his burgeoning promotion, Legacy Fighting Championship, should be part of the then-called HDNet Fights programming.
He clicked send, and, to his surprise, it didn’t take long for Cuban to get back to him. “Within about two hours he responded, which was pretty cool,” laughs Maynard.
“I wasn’t expecting him to respond. I just did it. I just figured I’d give it a whirl. It was an absolute trip and I’ve actually still got the original email. It was crazy.
“He moved me on to Andrew Simon who is the CEO of AXS TV fights – it wasn’t quite that easy. I had to harass Andrew for quite a long time before we got the opportunity. He gets harassed by a lot of people and it took me a long time before I got that shot.”
The 44-year-old wasn’t the type to back down from the challenge of getting his organization on TV. He’d already faced plenty when he first started up Legacy with his girlfriend, now wife, Andrea.
While fans are now used to hearing the voices of MMA legend Pat Miletich and Michael Schiavello announcing the fights, and seeing packed shows in venues across the South and Midwest, it wasn’t always this way.
“We met at a newspaper called the Houston Press but we opened up our own newspaper at a college station – she went to Texas A&M (University),” Maynard says. “I was looking for a way to promote our newspaper, and you know people do concerts and things of that nature, but I’d been training for so long, so I put on a show at a local bar – a big country bar.
“Anthony Njokuani was our main event in our very first show ever. It was pretty crazy. The cage was 16 square feet; it was a square and it was tiny. It was falling apart and I had to run out to Walmart to get a dog leash to keep the door closed because we lost the lock.
“Now you can get a cage anywhere, but in those days nobody had a cage. We didn’t even have a cage in the state. We had to leave Texas and get someone to bring one in from Louisiana to be able to put on these fights.”
The show, in 2009, was a resounding success, which convinced the Maynards to sell their newspaper and put on more events. Mick, however, still had to deal with issues on the legal side.
“We weren’t allowed to use any government facilities or a local events center that was operated by the local government. We weren’t allowed to be there because the judge said, ‘We don’t see any entertainment value in that type of thing.’ It’s funny how much things have changed from that standpoint. Then the sport just kind of blew up.”
As MMA quickly grew in popularity, so did Legacy. With a slot on AXS TV, promising fighters like Daniel Pineda, Chas Skelly, Darrion Caldwell and Thomas Almeida were given national exposure before moving onto the UFC and Bellator MMA.
Maynard, however, wasn’t happy with running just another regional MMA show. He’d already got the promotion on TV and created a place for Texas fighters to showcase their skills, but he was hungry to do something no other promoter was willing to do to set his show apart from the rest.
The idea of a ‘promotion vs. promotion’ event had been thrown about for many years, yet had never come to fruition. The Australian decided to give fans what they wanted by pitting his Legacy fighters against those from the Resurrection Fighting Alliance.
“About a year ago, World Series of Fighting called out Bellator. Then we said, ‘We’ll match up our guys against your guys’ and then it became AXS TV promotions matching them up against WSOF. But quite frankly, none of those things were ever going to happen,” he says.
“There was a lot of talk but it was highly unlikely because we’ve all got different TV deals and there’s just certain things that make it very difficult to do – egos also being a big part of that too. But with RFA and Legacy FC we both have very similar goals.
“Our principles and philosophies, as far as our organizations go, are very similar. Plus, we’re on the same network, and we get along. In this day and age in MMA, it’s very difficult to put on interesting shows. I think the UFC even battle with that just because of the sheer numbers they’re doing.
“This was an opportunity for all the prospects that both organizations currently work with… This is a higher stage on another level. Even though it was nerve-wracking it was one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life in MMA.”
Even though Maynard’s group of fighters came up short in the end, the show itself was successful. While events like this are usually a one-off spectacle, Maynard hopes there will be more Legacy vs. RFA in the future.
“I think it will become a series that we do consistently, at least that’s the plan. We’re tentatively looking to do it again later this year. We all get a long well and it was a really good experience for everybody I see continuing for sure.”
* This article first appeared in the August 2015 issue of Fighters Only magazine – for more monthly exclusives subscribe today.