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Many Thanks Are Needed

I am going to be using this blog space to share lots of stuff with you all and I’ll open it up to the rest of the staff here at 247 FC as well, but to start things off, there’s something that needs to be done.

Well where do I start? There were so many people… like a ridiculous amount of people, that took time and energy away from their families, away from their busy lives, to help to make Steeltown Throwdown such an amazingly successful first event for 247 Fighting Championships.

There were so many unsung heroes that it is almost hard to name them all. But I am going to try, regardless.

The Leadership Team

Now, everyone loves coming to the shows, but there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that almost nobody knows about. I have to tell you, I have a real gem in Liam Morris, 247’s Matchmaker. He took on the most difficult role with a mountain to climb and just kept plugging away. Kept churning. He’s a beast. The perfect partner in crime.

Jim Mooney has been along for the long haul. We’ve been MMA buddies for about 10 years now and he’s been the guy that has always been by my side. We’ve shared our dreams and he’s always been there to help do whatever he can to make my dreams happen. In addition to his role with 247 FC, he’s taken over and rebirthed the podcast, along with Luke Payson, MMA Fancast, and its amazing to see.

Brian Smith, my brother in law, man, we’ve been through some stuff together. It’s great to see him excelling in everything now… mostly thanks to his woman who finally got that kid focused! One of the smartest dudes I know and I’m so excited to have him as a part of this team.

The Volunteers and Slightly Paid

A cage and trailer for the cage were bought, but now we had to go pick it up and load it up. I could not have been more proud of my son, Austin Middleton, for his hard work, as the two of us loaded the entire cage and all components into the trailer ourselves.

Special thanks to Reid Pirain, who drove out to Altoona with me in a 3/4 ton truck when my 1/2 ton truck couldn’t do the job (I’m pretty sure I’m getting harassed by that by him for the rest of my life).

So, this cage was bought but we had never put it together before. 2 weeks before fight night, we got a team of guys together on March 22nd and Printscape Arena let us do a mock setup. We were limited with time so we got the cage up but not the catwalk or lighting tresses.

Jim Mooney, Brian Smith, Jesse Acton, Stan Drutis, Steve Polombine and I got as much set up and understood as possible in preparation for the debut event for the promotion. I am so thankful for those guys!

The set up team arrived at 7PM on Friday night at Printscape Arena. This was the beginning of a very, very tough night. We had 5 no-shows that were supposed to help setup. So we only had half the crew we were expecting. Jim, Jesse, Brian, Steve and I were there at 7, Jake Slinger joined shortly after, and Stan had a kid with a medical issue so he wasn’t able to be there… until he did show up to help at 2AM! He stayed until the crew left at 4AM! So awesome.

So figuring out the catwalk and lighting tresses was a nightmare. Never having put them together before, it was a bunch of trial and error until it was all figured out and assembled at 4AM.

There was still a ton of setting up to do and the crew was back at it at noon. Tear down ended around 1:30 or so.

This was a tremendous amount of work and we were so fortunate to have some awesome guys stick around to help. Matt Sadowski and a group of guys from Morgantown that came up and helped work the show and helped tear down as well. Jermaine Moye, Travis Cowles and Tony Terradillas… thank you guys so much, you are lifesavers!

Thanks to Dan Altieri, Bill Harmon and Matthew Lucas for pitching in significantly. I know that I am leaving people off of here, that makes me the worst person ever. But I really do appreciate everyone!

Concessions was planned and prepared by Tania Hellmann and Denise Middleton. Tania ran concession on fight night and Denise ran admissions. Tania oversaw an absolutely amazing team of Jen Mooney, Paige Hoban, Brenda Holt, Fawndessa Evanick, Monica Craig, and Paige Lubold. Denise worked with Shannon Berti, who kept her commitment to help even though she was not feeling well at all (you’re the best!).

Michele Kennell, you are awesome and I would love to have you continue to get shots for us! I’ll have a better plan for the July card if you are willing to do it again!

And what can I say about Cody Sabol? This guy is one of the most talented human beings I know and is a star. I am so excited seeing his career take off, he is becoming more and more famous every day. If you haven’t yet, check out his IG.

The Fighters and Coaches

Then there are the fighters. Khama, you know how much you mean to me. Ethan, great to see you get a big W and also get punched really hard :-). Brett, you showed a lot of heart. Tre, I am so excited to see you again and so is Dominique (she better be there next time). Adam, great win, we’ll get our act together next time. Alan, you have so much potential I am excited to see you fight when you aren’t feeling terrible. Rob, you’ll have more chances, it’s a journey and you should enjoy it.

For our blue corner fighters – Joey, you are a warrior and proved yourself big time. Elijah, thank you for punching Ethan really hard and we’d love to have you back. Dustin, class act, great win, would love to have you back as well!

To the great group of WNY MMA and Fitness fighters, thank you! Jake, you showed true determination and grit after a really tough first round for you. Jamie, thanks for hyping your fight and for an awesome performance, Derrick you looked great in there even in a loss. Pat, that was a really impressive wrestling performance from someone who calls that his weakness. You all are welcome back!

Coaches – you guys are all awesome and did a great job. Mike Wilkins, you’re a beast, keep investing in the younger guys. Mark, it was great getting to know you better. Mike Dub, thanks for filling out the entire blue side of our Ammy card. I am still mad at you that I see your face every time I hear Lady Gaga “Shallow”.

The Sponsors

I could not be more appreciative of the financial support that we received. Ken Sinagra is fully committed to Pittsburgh MMA. Seriously, this guy is the real deal. Fighters, coaches, fans… give this guy your business. He is a big reason why I was in the financial position to be able to start 247 FC – because I started investing with him 10 years ago and he is a wealth creator!

Legacy Remodeling and Jeff Moeslein have been amazing. So amazing that since they became a sponsor, they have also hired me to join the staff at Legacy. So I am only extremely biased when I say that Legacy Remodeling is the ONLY place you should even consider for your home projects, including windows, doors, siding, roofs, kitchens and bathrooms.

Crossfit Mayview is such a great sponsor, they have a family environment and are so encouraging. BJ Boering is fantastic and runs a great gym! Chris Worstell of Applied Valuation Services is an amazing and generous man and a great friend.

Promark is a Cincinnati based company that just opened an office in Pittsburgh, they provide HR services to organizations to include outplacement, career management, executive coaching and leadership development services. Bill Harmon is the guy you want to talk to. He’s also an amazing guy.

Remembered Roots is a great, new local business in the South Hills of Pittsburgh providing gravesite care and historical research. They do fantastic work and really help you to honor the loved ones that are no longer with us. Contact them this Memorial Day to honor your loved ones.

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