urijah-faber-35.jpgIncluded in this week’s UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas will be an event a pair of UFC elite fighters hope takes MMA to the next level.

The first MMA Draft Combine takes place Saturday as part of the Expo and is an opportunity for amateur fighters to get noticed a little bit quicker.

Created by UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis and current bantamweight contender and former featherweight champion Urijah Faber, MMA Draft has its own website devoted to upping the ante for amateur fighters.

The UFC Fan Expo takes place Friday and Saturday in conjunction with UFC 162, which takes place Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Fan Expo takes place at the nearby Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

“I think that’s the next step in the evolution of our sport – having the top amateurs celebrated like they are in football, basketball, baseball, soccer,” Faber told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “You know the top guys from the college teams, you know the No. 1 draft picks and stuff like that. In MMA, it’s a real crapshoot and everyone’s washing dishes and mowing lawns until they’re 6-0 or 7-0 as a fighter.”

Davis said Faber’s long standing as the founder of Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male, where he consistently works with fresh talent, played a role in helping develop the idea for the program.

“He has a great amateur team – they’re all super talented,” Davis said this past month in Las Vegas. “So when I came to him with MMA Draft, he was all about it.”

But more than anything, it’s about helping the best amateur fighters get a leg up in a sport that can be hard to succeed in.

Davis and Faber both have backgrounds as elite-level college wrestlers, and when college wrestling ends for those athletes these days, many are turning to MMA.

“I really wanted to develop something to be able to give back to the wrestling community,” Davis said. “So we came up with this idea to give back to the amateur athletes. MMA is nine-tenths at the amateur level, and even to be a professional athlete, you struggle most of the time. I’m struggling right now. So it’s just a way to give the amateur guys a platform to be seen, to get their name out there and to really gain some traction before they start their professional career.”

The dedicated MMA Draft website is used as a starting point for amateur fighters. But Faber said in some cases, he and Davis sought out top gyms and fight teams to get their amateur prospects interested in coming to Las Vegas for Saturday’s combine.

Faber told MMAjunkie.com the combine will include sport-related physical tests as well as tests of mental acumen.

“We have some standardized testing like they use for basketball, football and baseball, measurements for pure athleticism, we’re going to be doing interviews with a sports psychologist there, working with physical therapists,” Faber said. “And we have MMA-specific testing that we’ve come up with to test their MMA abilities. We’re going to have a ton of my peers there, top fighters and coaches and media to cover it and get some exposure to this next generation of fighters so we can build opportunities for guys and build names for guys before they become pros.”

Although the MMA Draft is not an official UFC-branded event, Faber said getting the promotion on board to host the combine as part of this year’s UFC Fan Expo was fairly easy. UFC co-owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have highly recruited sons in football – which Faber believes played a role.

“I have a good relationship with (UFC President) Dana (White) and Lorenzo and I had a conference call with them and kind of explained to them what the idea was,” Faber said. “Lorenzo is a big football fan. His sons and his nephews are really talented football players, and I described the website as kind of like a MaxPreps or Rivals.com, which are websites for amateur football, basketball and baseball. We’re just creating content for our site that’s similar for mixed martial arts. We’re not associated with the UFC in any way – it’s all MMA Draft, and we’re holding the combine separate from the UFC and they’re allowing us to be at the UFC Fan Expo. They were pretty cool about it.”

And holding the event in conjunction with the UFC Fan Expo, Davis believes, will help bolster the attention placed on it not just for the amateur fighters, but for outside observers.

“Some of the top kids in the nation, we’re actively recruiting ourselves,” Davis said. “But luckily, the Expo is such an amazing event that most of MMA’s top studs are going to be in town, anyway.”

For the latest on UFC 162 and the UFC Fan Expo, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Urijah Faber)

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

My First Fight: Urijah Faber | FIGHTLAND

  • 21 days ago
  • 3 views

Photo by Harry How/Zuffa LLC Everyone—or almost everyone—loves a good origin story. From the New Testament to the neverending deaths of Bruce Wayne’s parents and Peter Parker’s uncle, we’re fascinate read news >>

One to Watch: Urijah Faber vs. Jimmie Rivera | FIGHTLAND

  • 20 days ago
  • 9 views

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC UFC 203 has been hotly anticipated for some time now. September 10th will see the UFC enter the Cleveland, Ohio, market for the very first time and their hometown hero, read news >>

Fabricio Werdum, Urijah Faber, Other Fighters Stuck in Elevator Before UFC 203

  • 20 days ago
  • 52 views

Every bad guy in the hotel had to be counting their lucky stars they weren't on this elevator. It wouldn't have ended well for them. Not when Fabricio Werdum, Urijah Faber, CB Dollaway and a host of read news >>

Urijah Faber vs. Jimmie Rivera Results: Winner and Reaction from UFC 203

  • 19 days ago
  • 31 views

Win or lose, Urijah Faber was going to give fans something to be sad about at UFC 203. The California Kid is officially the California Middle-Aged Man at this point, and while fighters such as Dan He read news >>

UFC 203 Fight Highlights: Jimmie Rivera Decisions Urijah Faber | MMAWeekly.com

  • 19 days ago
  • 27 views

Second-ranked bantamweight contender Urijah Faber took on Jimmie Rivera on the UFC 203 main card in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday. Check out the highlights of the fight. read news >>

Urijah Faber's Eye Poke Was 'A Little Bit Intentional,' Jimmie Rivera Says

  • 17 days ago
  • 40 views

In the later minutes of Urijah Faber's loss to Jimmie Rivera at UFC 203, the action was temporarily stopped after Faber poked Rivera in the eye. That eye poke was "a little bit" deliberate, at least read news >>

Urijah Faber's Eye Poke Was 'A Little Bit' Intentional, Jimmie Rivera Says

  • 17 days ago
  • 9 views

In the later minutes of Urijah Faber's loss to Jimmie Rivera at UFC 203, the action was temporarily stopped after Faber poked Rivera in the eye. That eye poke was "a little bit" deliberate, at least read news >>

Urijah Faber, Travis Browne and 5 Pokiest Eye Pokes in Recent UFC History

  • 15 days ago
  • 34 views

If UFC 203 felt a little familiar to you, maybe that was on account of all the eye-poking. When Urijah Faber caught Jimmie Rivera, it wasn't his first eye-poke rodeo. It wasn't even his first eye-pok read news >>

Liam McGeary vs. Phil Davis Headlines Bellator 163 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 6 days ago
  • 9 views

A light heavyweight title fight pitting current belt-holder Liam McGeary against Phil Davis will serve as the main event at Bellator 163: McGeary vs. Davis. read news >>

Bellator 163 takes shape with Liam McGeary vs. Phil Davis title headliner

  • 6 days ago
  • 8 views

The lineup is taking shape for November’s Bellator 163 event.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>