Fusion Fight League amping it up with next big event at Billings MetraPark
There’s a moment in every entrepreneur’s life when he either makes his dream his full-time job, or he drops the idea it completely.
For Fusion Fight League promoter Terrill Bracken, that time is now and he has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Fusion Fight League in Billings has been in the Mixed Martial Arts promotions biz since 2008, but only recently has it grown beyond a part-time venture for Bracken.
And with another successful show under his belt already, it doesn’t appear as if Bracken needs to wonder if he’s doing the right thing.
Bracken said he felt because Fusion was already doing well, he had to find out what it would become if he was able to put his all into it.
“My feelings were, ‘well, with Fusion doing well with a part-time effort, what could it become if it were getting my full time effort?'” he said.
It also helps that they have an upcoming bout already filled with drama, intrigue and high stakes for both fighters when Fusion moves into the Metra in December for a bout featuring Lloyd “Cupcake” Woodard taking on rival Travis Coyle of Rapid City, South Dakota.
It’s a grudge match sure to turn some heads.
It’s also Bracken’s first show as a full-time FFL promoter. He said seeing others do it full time, such as Cory Smith with 221 Industries, encouraged him to do it and leave his day job as a law enforcement officer.
“Cory started after I did, but Cory made the jump right away to go full time and he put his full heart and soul into it, and that’s paid off for him in huge ways,” Bracken said. “That’s actually been an inspiration for me and one of the biggest things that got me to pursue my dream and go from being part time to a full-time promoter.”
And if their last event is any indication, Bracken is heading into it with a running head start.
Fusion’s Oct. 11 event saw Nekah “The Russian Bomb” Dmitriyeva defeat Tasha “The Wrecking Machine” Fourstar via submission in the final seconds of the first round and Skye Folsom defeating “Skinny” Ryan Ibsen by referee stoppage in the other co-main event bout at the Shrine Auditorium.
Bracken said he was pleased that the event was well attended and that the video recordings of the two main events have had thousands of views on Facebook already. But, more important than that, he’s pleased that the event helped put a spotlight on a cause that’s near and dear to both Dmitriyeva and Fourstar.
“This last event we did was a benefit for domestic violence awareness because October is Domestic Violence Awareness month so we wanted to donate some of our proceeds to that cause,” Bracken said. “As a law enforcement officer, I saw first hand the devastation domestic violence caused. We also did a women’s self defense seminar before the event which was presented free thanks to our sponsors. Plus, our main event, and it just so happened like this, it wasn’t planned, but both of the female fighters are both survivors of domestic violence as well. We also support a cause for every event we do, focusing on either illness, hunger or violence.”
As for the next event, while the rest of the card is still being decided, Bracken said there’s some history between Woodard and Coyle that already makes it an intriguing match-up.
“We do another event where both Lloyd and Travis were there cornering other fighters. And, they had a heated exchange in the locker room,” Bracken said. “They just don’t like each other at all, and plus Lloyd has been a Bellator fighter and Travis is trying to get the attention of Bellator after trying to get on with them for quite a while. If he’s able to convincingly beat Lloyd, or compete well against a previous Bellator fighter such as him, the thinking is it’ll get him some well-deserved attention. Whichever fighter wins is sure to get some notoriety in that regard.”
Coyle also defeated the “hometown hero” from Billings Sean “Cubby” Peters earlier this year.
Bracken got his start working with Thursday night fights and was the owner of the American Fusion Martial Arts, which he owned for 20 years.
Bracken said he’s been able to succeed as a promoter with the help of people like Matt Powers, who he calls the “Godfather of Montana MMA.”
“Unequivocally, none of us in the Montana MMA community would be anywhere close where we are today without help and influence of Matt Powers,” he said.
Powers is the founder of the Dogpound Fight Team in Missoula and either has trained or continues to train some of the top fighters in the state including Tim Welch, Leo “Bushido” Bercier, Woodard and Frank Ramsay among others. Ramsay and Welch now train at the MMA Lab in Arizona under John Crouch, a friend of Powers.
Bracken said Powers loves Montana MMA of all varieties, be it women, local promotions or promotions across the U.S. big and small.
Bracken said he shares that feeling, as well, in that he doesn’t see other promotions companies such as 221 Industries or Fight Force as direct competition for him.
“I think the Montana MMA community needs to support each other and all grow together because it’s Montana vs. the world for MMA, really,” he said. “It’s not like we’re competing, I mean to a certain extent we are, but for the most part everyone sticks to their own area and there’s some cross promotions going on, but at this stage of the game we don’t compete with Cory or Bryan Deats. In fact, Cory has become a very good friend and our promotions support each other in any way we can. It is more important to establish that Montana has quality MMA and compete with anybody than competing against anyone in Montana.”
Deats is the owner of FightForce. He’s been involved with MMA for more than 30 years and is the head of Flavio Behring Jiu-Jitsu in Montana. He’s also the owner of the Montana MMA gym, which started as a club at Montana State University in 1994. In 1998, the gym moved to a garage and, over the years, grew into its current location on North 7th in Bozeman.
And while Bracken says he considers himself the “up-and-comer” in the world of Montana MMA promotions, he said they continue to make a name for themselves with both women’s fights, Bracken said their fan base is 40 percent women and that they typically have at least two to three female fights on each card, and by presenting each fight in high-quality video.
Fusion is also the first Montana MMA company to offer a free mobile app, which is available to download on both Android or Apple devices. The app has Fusion photos, videos and social media updates, along with other soon-to-be-announced features.
Bracken, also a father of a 3-year-old son and a 6-month-old daughter with his wife Katherine, said he’s excited to see where the company will go now that he’s doing it full-time.
He said in particular he’s ready to continue presenting intriguing fight cards to go with their top-of-the-line video presentation.
“I guess if I step outside of myself, our claim to fame to this point is our video production,” he said. “We do a caliber of video production live at shows that nobody else in the area comes close to. We have full-motion 3D graphics, instant replay, multiple cameras and we’re always shooting in high definition 1080p. I think that’s one of the things that is going to help us go to the next level and we’re working hard on bringing in better and better quality fights all the time so we’re improving the level of the competition in our shows and just growing from there.”