Urijah Faber wears many hats.
He is a coach, mentor, fighter, Hall of Famer – and now a promoter.
On Sunday, Faber will promote his first event under his full-fledged Northern California regional promotion Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat. The event takes place at Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Wheatland, Calif., and streams on UFC Fight Pass.
Faber’s latest venture is spearheaded by a business partnership with event planner Tom Anderson and matchmaker Chad Shepherd. Three events are already on the docket for its inaugural month of existence.
Faber points to seeing the lack of opportunity for Team Alpha Male fighters in the area as his main reason for his involvement in fight promotion – but now that he’s entered the business, he’s aiming to take it as far as possible.
“I think the biggest thing is California makes it difficult to do business,” Faber recently told MMA Junkie. “That’s one. It’s expensive and you have to jump through a bunch of hoops. People that want to be in this space are not always the most savvy when it comes to business. Putting together the perfect storm is the key. Timing is another thing. A lot of people have held shows and it’s just not been something that’s wet the whistles when it comes to putting money in the bank. You have to have a passion above that and then also have to understand how to do business. That’s the key.
“… Honestly, it’s going to get big quick. I can already feel it, the way things are going. We sold out our first show before we even announced it. I know it’s a small venue, but this is the first at-bat under this banner along with UFC Fight Pass and an amazing venue like the Hard Rock. I can just feel it’s going to do really well. … I’ve got friendships with CFFC and LFA and Cage Warriors. Those guys have all been contacts of mine and they do a great job and I want to bring that to our region and beyond.”
Faber is the latest in a wave of MMA notables to turn their attention towards the promoting side of the fight game. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jorge Masvidal, Derek Brunson, Kamaru Usman, and Calvin Kattar are among the names of fighters-turned-promoters.
One name who hasn’t delved into fight-promotion, Nate Diaz, is a target of Faber’s for a cross-promotion. There are already preliminary plans in place for an A1 Combat event in Stockton, Calif., according to Faber – and Diaz will be involved.
“(Diaz) was in Hawaii last when I spoke with him,” Faber said. “We were waiting to get on the phone and talk details, but we’re already scheduled. We have a venue in Stockton that we’ve got locked down. I’d love to do something with Nate. He seems really open to it. I just have to nail out the details with him on what that’s going to look like. Moving forward, if he wants to do anything in the future, I’d love to do something with him. People don’t know that I’ve been friends with Nick and Nate since 2004ish. There’s always that connection, so we’ll see. We’ll see what he wants to do but I think it makes sense.”