Thursday, October 28, 2010
Nichole Long Interview
I knew of Nichole Long, but didn't really know anything about her till I covered the NAAFS Eve Of Destruction all female MMA card. At that point I realized how incredible she is. Nichole makes the amateur and female fights for this great MMA company. Needless to say she does a great job at it, because the NAAFS puts on some great shows. I enjoy watching the shows in part just to see Nichole. She is always running around always busy and it amazes me because she seems to be doing ten things at once and doing them all great. Nichole is a real asset to a great mixed martial arts promotion and this interview is an honor for me to post.
Q: First Nichole, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Anytime, thank you for asking me.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I work for the NAAFS at the Amateur Series and Female Series Matchmaker. I also am a full time mother of two wonderful kids and I model and work out for fun in my spare time.
Q: Now you are the amateur matchmaker for the NAAFS. How did you get involved with that?
A: I started in the MMA business back in 2005 with a very small promotion in Ohio. I've done a little bit of everything from design work for posters and tickets, being an event coordinator, managing fighters, announcing fights, being a ring girl, judging fights and my specialty....matching fights.
Q: Were you interested in the sport before you got involved with the NAAFS?
A: Well my first official fight with the NAAFS was June 2008, but I had been around doing the same job for 3 years prior to that so I had the experience behind me and Greg took the leap of faith to hire me into his organization. I grew up watching boxing with my father as a child so when MMA came on the scene I was of course interested in learning about every aspect.
Q: Have you done any training yourself?
A: Funny you ask this question, I just started last week. Though my brain comprehends on what I should do from years of researching and watching the sport.....lets just say my body does not listen lol. In my eyes training can only make me better at my job and get in better shape, so why not do it!
Q: What all does the job of matchmaker entail?
A: More than most people can imagine. Your literally building the event from the ground up one bout at a time until you get a finished product that your audience can enjoy.
Q: What would you say is the best part of the job and the worst?
A: I would say the best part of the job is getting to see all my hard work come to life every event. That and the fact that I have met so many amazing people throughout the years thru my work. The worst part of the job I would have to say is definitely collecting contracts and replacing injured fighters or fighters that merely just back out with zero notice.
Q: I know during shows you are always running around staying busy. Do you ever wish you could just sit and enjoy the show?
A: I do get to sit and enjoy the last couple bouts of every show, which is very nice. I used to think that I would love to go to a show and just relax. Well I did that not too long ago and all I wanted to do is get up and help lol....so I guess it's a sickness and I love my job and wouldn't change the things I do at every event for all the relaxation in the world.
Q: Recently the NAAFS put on Eve of Destruction. Ohio's first ever all women's MMA show. I know you took a lot of pride in that show. Why was it so important to you? A: Eve of Destruction was my baby. It was my dream card that I had asked Greg to do about a year before we actually did. He finally told me that if I thought I could pull it off....lets do it! It was the hardest card I have ever matched both being time consuming and also getting enough fighters for the card....our female fights here at NAAFS are not a novelty. The girls are all legit!
Q: Would you like to make it an at least annual event?
A: Greg and I discussed it being an annual event....as of now look for EOD 2011 :)
Q: What were the major differences between putting together and running an all women's show versus any other show?
A: There are barely any local fighters on an all female event compared to the regular NAAFS events. So arranging travel and hotel for every fighter and also selling the show to an audience who doesn't know most of the girls was really a difference. But I would have to say the funniest difference is the fact that I learned that we need to start fighter physicals earlier....26 pregnancy tests took a long time!
Q: DO you ever see a major women's only company being a viable option in the U.S.? A: I see that it is a possibility but I also hope that if it ever does happen that it is being run for the rite reasons, to promote the women in MMA and not for the it's a hot trend and someone is trying to make a quick buck and do not care about the fighters.
Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or enjoy watching?
A: I am a fan of soooo many fighters but instead of naming all of them I will tell you that my favorite fighters go into the cage aggressive and push the pace....they come to fight each and every showing.
Q: There are a lot of good fighters fighting for the NAAFS, but since this blog is mainly about females, I want to mention, Jessica Eye. How good can she eventually be?
A: Jessica Eye has the potential to take her career as far as she wants in this business. Lets be brutally honest shes got the tri-fecta of a powerhouse career in woman's mma.....she is pretty, talented and well spoken. She is definitely not just the hometown girl from Ohio. She is the real deal, mark my words and remember her name because you will be seeing it a lot in the years to come at the top of this sport.
Q: Male or female, who are some of the the fighters fighting for you that you think fans should keep an eye on?
A: As stated above Jessica Eye is one for sure. Also, her teammate Chris Lozano had an impressive win over Jason Dent and then most recently won his Bellator debut. I've always been a fan of watching Victor O'Donnell and Sean Loeffler, both very exciting fighters to watch who I think we will be seeing a lot of in the next year. There are so many other fighters I can list but they are all at the beginning of their pro careers and it would definitely be a long list.
Q: When you actually have free time, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy? A: What's free time? lol....honestly in my free time I enjoy hanging out with my kids and friends, working out and doing an occasional photoshoot.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Nichole Long?
A: Wow, it would bore you to death. My life other than on fight weekends is much like the movie "Groundhog Day". Kids to school, me to work, homework, cook dinner, go to gym, with the day concluding with the ringing of my phone about fights at about midnight....wake up and repeat lol
Q: Describe Nichole Long in five words.
A: Outspoken, Blunt, Honest, Real, Outgoing
Q: Do you ever see a point where you say "I have accomplished all I can as an amateur fight maker, I want to do more"?
A: I already do more. I also match the pro females and anytime a bout falls through at the last minute I pitch in to help Greg. We are a team and a family and I always help out however necessary. I will never say I have accomplished it all when it comes to my job or my life....I will always want more and will go out and get what I want because nothing is handed to you in life....it is earned!
Q: Where can people find out more about the NAAFS?
A: Log onto NAAFS.tv for more info on our company and the fights. You can also follow us on facebook, myspace and twitter under NAAFS Cage Fighting.
Q: Any shows coming up you want to take the time to mention?
A: We have several shows remaining in the 2010 series. Naafs Kickboxing (a show we put on once a year) is November 13. Then we have shows November 20th in Akron, Ohio. November 24th in East Liverpool, Ohio. And Night of Champions, a night of fights that you will not want to miss because it concludes the 2010 season and we have title fights at every weight class in the amateur divisions and also feature a full pro card!!!
Q: Any company sponsors or anything else you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I'd like to thank everyone who supports the NAAFS and also my group of pros who fight. You are all very appreciated. AKI, Intimidation, Cage Walker, Trampstampchick.com and Clinch Gear have all been really good to my fighters so I needed to mention them for sure.
Q: Nichole, thank you so much for doing this. I think you are amazing at what you do, and you are a real asset to a great MMA company. Any last words before you go? A: Anytime....and remember...."Life is a fight, you can tap out or kick its ass!!!!!" If anyone would like to fight for the NAAFS please contact me at Nichole@naafs.tv or call me at 330-979-0234.