House of Fame, founded by Paris Tsitos, has brought MMA to Jacksonville and there’s no question why since it’s the largest city in Florida. Paris is not only an Expert Mixed Martial Artist, he has created something the MMA world has never seen, and did it with his talent and knowledge while moving to Jacksonville from the DC Area just six months ago. HOF MMA is Jacksonville’s newest professional sports franchise and is differentiated by the fact that they are part of the Mayor’s Sports Council. The business is modeled after traditional US-based professional sports franchises just as fans are used to seeing in the NBA, NFL or MLB.
“A New Dawn” which is not just an arbitrary name, it symbolizes a “historic paradigm shift in Professional MMA”, (Vailati). HOF has partnered with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, which is the largest multimedia company nationally. The fights are dedicated to the Wounded Warrior Project and the HEAL Foundation for Autism. The weigh in for the fighters is scheduled for Sept 5th at Latitude 360 and the big fight event is expected to take place on Sept 6th, 2014.
Fans may have seen the fighters and some eye candy, “Fame Girls by Manikin”, at local business establishments handing out flyers to promote this event, “A New Dawn.” Recently, a VIP event was held at EverBank field where promo videos of the fighters were played on the world’s largest screen. Some of the fights include heavy weights Ken Deuce Garner VS D.J. “Da Protégé” Linderman and many more.
Damon Vailati, director with HOF, answered a few questions in an interview with Melbourne Celebrity Examiner, Jae Monique.
“My Father is a past Golden Gloves Champion (boxing out of NYC) and my Grandfather, fought Willie Pep (who is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time). So, you have the best of Gladiator history in Paris and My families- He is Greek (Like the Empire) and I am Italian (like the Romans)”, Vailati said.
What are the fighter’s backgrounds? Each of our Fighters are Top-Level Professional Fighters, all chosen specifically by the most qualified Matchmaker in Florida for the event. They each have their own unique stories, but we guarantee each will put on a tremendous show for the fans!
What are the fighter’s doing or HOF doing to get them ready for fight night? Each HOF Fighter is being trained at their individual “home” gyms, with the best Instructors and Teams in Florida, including American Top Team. They are all required to show up to each of our Events as Professionals – prepared, fit, and up to our high-level standards. We work diligently with each Athlete and their Managers to ensure this is done, and they are ready on September 6th.
Are there fighters who are your favorites or that you have closer relationships with? No comment – I Love them all. We went through a rigorous selection process and have both seasoned Veterans, like Linderman Da Protégé who holds numerous Championship Belts, to the best-of-breed newcomers, including Abdiel Vasquez who has generated a great buzz in the MMA World with his technique and style of Fighting. Each Fighter brings something unique, and this is done to give the fans, our sponsors, the community, and the fighters themselves a World-Class Show
Who is gaining the most popularity so far? Each Fighter has a strong embedded fan base, and that is one of the things HOF looks for in our selection process.
Do the ring girls have a fan base so far? We are fortunate to have MANiKiN Model and Talent as a Strategic Partner, and, along with our chosen Hostesses and Waitresses for the VIP Areas (front row table service), I can assure everyone, they will generate quite a following.
Aside from the fights, what can fans expect on Sept 6th? Pre fight Block party, street closed down in front of the Arena etc. An Electric halftime show with live entertainment, HD Production and Photography, with live broadcasts showing on large Networks (which we will announce in the coming week).
HOF MMA was created to fill the large gap in true Professional MMA Mediums in relation to the increasing large number of highly-qualified Professional Mixed Martial Artists who need a platform to showcase their talents and grow their careers accordingly. This is what HOF provides, and we are the First to create such a business model in the MMA World, and are here to support the City of Jacksonville, protect our Fighters, Give Back to the Community, whether it is our philanthropic partners (WWP/HEAL), help give the largest city in the US (per-capita) much needed Entertainment at a World Class Venue.
Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growth sport in the World. We truly appreciate what the likes of UFC and Dana White have done to bring this amazing sport to the forefront of the Fight World and we are taking it to another level by providing Fighters who work sacrifice their jobs, stable incomes, and give up so much, with a large opportunity cost. A very small percentage of Fighters make it to the big stage, if you will, and we now provide that Medium. Our Fighters are as qualified and talented as any in the world, and HOF gives them a chance at a real career.
We are honored to be part of this new initiative, as it is time to create an MMA League, and we are the first to do so. Jacksonville has a great fighter, fan, and community for our start and we are here to stay. Our ultimate goal is to expand into other major cities and offer Fighters the same opportunity.
“Again, I stress, this is a historic paradigm shift in the sport. Mixed Martial Arts is not boxing, the product is different, so it is time to map the product to the right medium. HOF is doing that, and are very excited for the continued growth of this fantastic sport”.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Professional MMA Inaugural event, “A New Dawn.”