Spanish MMA promotion Ansgar Fighting League (AFL) is planning a super-event, AFL All-Stars, in a blockbuster show targeted for Barcelona, Spain, this November. The event is set to feature a variety of fighters, both from Spain and beyond, and will be the biggest event in AFL history.
Oh, and it will be crowd-funded.
“The idea [to crowd-fund the event] came out of my experiences so far in promoting,” AFL promoter Fran Montiel told The Body Lock. “I want to put on a big event in Spain, but it is a very big risk financially.”
And Montiel would know: he’s been promoting MMA events in Spain since 2014, and he has reported financial losses while promoting events on many occasions.
“So far, it has been very difficult to run a promotion in this country, and oftentimes, I take a loss on shows. But my love for Spanish MMA and my desire to help this sport grow is what keeps me going. To put on this sort of event on your own would be a huge risk, but with crowd-funding, it provides a safety net – but already I have invested a lot of time and money in creating this campaign,” said Montiel.
The campaign, which is available on crowd-funding platform Verkami, seeks to fund “the biggest event and most spectacular show ever seen in our country,” according to the on-site description.
Montiel echoed that sentiment, adding that MMA in Spain is still on the fringes of mainstream sporting culture.
“I want to bring the biggest MMA event Spain has ever seen,” Montiel said. “The sport is still in its infancy here in Spain and not very popular. So, I want to create this event to celebrate the best fighters we do have, and also to help bring extra awareness to MMA in Spain.”
There are over fifteen reward tiers for subscribing to the campaign ranging from €5 to €10,000 euros. Rewards vary from €5, which earns the donor a “Thank you” from the promotion, all the way up to €10,000, which grants the donor an official sponsorship bid, a logo on the canvas, ten VIP tickets, and more.
Montiel is optimistic about how much his campaign, which has already brought in €10,000 euros, can raise.
“In total, we hope to raise €240,000, and this money will go towards creating a fantastic event and one of the best fight cards in Europe outside the big promotions.”
Montiel reiterates that the money is set to go to the fighters, event production, and the promotion of the event – and MMA as a whole – in Spain.
“We want to pay the fighters well, create a huge fan experience and also use the money to promote not only this event but the sport of MMA in Spain,” Montiel said.
On the campaign’s Verkami page, Montiel goes into detail regarding what the promotion will use the potential €240,000 for, chiefly, €120,000 for fighter salaries, travel, and related expenses; €66,000 for event production and the venue, €22,650 for the promotion and marketing of the event, €16,350 and €15,000 for employee pay and merchandise, respectively.
The AFL promoter is targeting some of Spain’s top domestic talent, including Enrique Marin, Lionel Padilla, Juanma Suarez & Acoidan Duque, but adds that AFL “will use these guys and bring in some big show veterans for this event like [UFC vet] Yan Cabral and [UFC and WSOF veteran] Ronys Torres, plus many more names to be announced.”
Montiel continued, adding that AFL has “verbal agreement[s] to many national and international top fighters that at the moment we cannot reveal at the moment.”
Ultimately, Montiel’s ambition is to create a great event. And as for what makes an event great, Montiel is clear: “High-quality fights, [a] professional-looking arena, a good environment for fighters and fans are what makes a great event, and we will create an event like this for AFL All-Stars.”
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.