Last Sunday we dropped by the Armored Wings Promotions MMA event, Mansion Fights 7. We've attended a few of the Mansion Fights events in the past, and my hope was that their professionalism and production would have gone up a few notches. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It's unfortunate for the fans, the fighters, and for the MMA community. My hope is that Armored Wings Promotions takes some time to reflect on the negative stigma that is being attached to their name before attempting to put on another event.
In any business, professionalism is of the utmost importance. I personally made a deal with Chawn Lighfoot of Armored Wings Promotions to cover and do some photography for Mansion Fights 7. I offered to comp the photography for their event in exchange for some tickets. Also, because we've had a bad experience entering the venue every single time, I asked for these tickets in advance. He assured me that getting in would not be an issue because he would have four front row tickets, for easy access to the cage, waiting for us at the venue.
Upon arrival, our tickets were not ready, and we were not on any guest list or media list. A phone call had to be made, and we had to wait more than 15 minutes, while carrying all our photography gear, until someone came out to give us wristbands.
As we approached the cage, I didn't see our seats reserved. I ran into Chawn Lightfoot and asked him about our deal. He responded that we could sit anywhere but the front. Let's just say I was not happy! Apparently, in the Armored Wings Promotions organization, a deal is not a deal.
My feeling is that because my brother was fighting on the card, they felt they could screw me on the seats and still get the comped photography service. They chose the shady tactic of selling those tickets to others as VIP seating and then hoped this bait and switch tactic wouldn't come to light.
In any case, let's get to the show. The MMA fights were supposed to start at 6 p.m. There was a long delay and the first fight didn't go on until a few minutes before 7 p.m. Tardiness isn't anything new to Mansion Fights, as this has happened before. It's extremely unprofessional, especially when you keep in mind that this is already their seventh event.
And speaking of tardiness, I was also made aware that the fighters were told by Mansion Fights that the weigh ins would be at 12 p.m. The fighters were not happy that they didn't start until after 1 p.m. Weigh ins are an important issue. Fighters tend to dehydrate to make weight, and it is important that organizations get them weighed in on time so they can begin to hydrate and prepare for their fight. Mansion Fights and Armored Wings Promotions owe the fighters and the sport of MMA an apology for this! Not only is it unprofessional to start the weigh ins over an hour late, but it's also a safety issue.
Speaking of safety issues, Mansion Fights is the only event where I've seen all the fighters thrown in to one warm up room. Yes! All the fighters were in one common area before the fights, without even having a divider to separate the blue and red corners. This has gone on at every one of their events I've attended. You would think they would have fixed this issue. Again, this is the seventh Armored Wings Promotion Mansion Fights event. To be honest, I'm not even sure how CAMO (California Amatuer Mixed Martial Arts Organization) allows it.
Additionally, not only did opposing fighters have to warm up together, the fighters were not provided mats to warm up their ground game. And yet another safety and health issue was the fact that the warm up area is in fact a ballroom and it had just been used. Smoking is obviously allowed in that ballroom and all the fighters had to walk in to a smelly, tobacco smoke filled room. This is not a good situation for any athlete, and the athletes and their corners were heard complaining.
A few events back, I mentioned to Chawn Lightfoot that the lighting at Mansion Fights was horrible. It's bad for photos, videos, and it's not good for the fighters. They have been lighting the area with chandeliers. Those chandeliers aren't designed to light a sporting event; they're more for dimly lit dinners and ballroom dances. Have they fixed that issue? No! This is one of the reasons you get very little, if any fight action photography at all, coming out of Mansion Fights.
On the topic of photos, after a quick post on my personal profile expressing my discontent with this event, I was made aware that previous photos that I took at previous Mansion Fight events for Chingasos MMA had actually been taken from the Chingasos MMA Facebook, the logo was cut off and then those photos were re-uploaded to the Mansion Fights Instagram as their own. They did this without giving proper attribution/credit to Chingasos MMA or myself. Not only is this a disrespectful and shady tactic, it is actually considered stealing. Armored Wings Promotions and Mansion Fights does a diservice to fighters by doing this to photographers and photography companies as photos of their events will be lacking in the future, if there is a future for Mansion Fights.
Were the fans happy? Well, a $35 ticket, plus a $6 handling fee was considered general admission to Mansion Fights. That general admission ticket got you an opportunity to stand in the back of the room and catch a glimpse of what was going on in the cage. Yes, you read that right. No seat! Would you be happy?
I've been patient with Armored Wings Promotions and Mansion Fights, but unfortunately, even though they are now on their seventh event, their professionalism is still lacking. My advice to them would be to fix their production, uphold their end of deals, consider the fans, the sport and the fighters, and then try putting on an MMA event. Choosing to make a few extra bucks by screwing people over might work in the short-term, but shady tactics, bad production and unprofessionalism will always catch up and sink a business.