For Mark Taffet, the president of MMA Pro League, Saturday’s debut event is a homecoming of sorts.
Taffet was part of HBO PPV 30 years ago that launched with Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman from Atlantic City.
MMA Pro League’s debut event also takes place from Atlantic City, streaming live on FloCombat and featuring two teams led by Dan Miller and Daniel Gracie.
“We’re going to create a legacy in this sport that is going to last for generations to come. I had the privilege of launching HBO PPV 30 years ago and I saw a lot of history be made. Now I have the chance to do it again, along with my partner Hani Darwish,” Taffet said. “My first fight at HBO PPV was right here in Atlantic City for Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman. It’s very significant for me to be back here in Atlantic City at the brand new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to have a chance to create another chapter of great moments.”
With Miller and Gracie, MMA Pro League found two perfect coaches to plant as the faces of the teams.
“One of the most important things to MMA Pro League is to have the right coaches leading the teams,” Taffet said. “Dan Miller and Daniel Gracie are both natural leaders, mentors, great former fighters and great teachers. They represent everything we want to represent with MMA Pro League.”
The event features Miller leading Team New Jersey against Team Pennsylvania and Gracie. The action kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.
“It means a lot to be coach for Team New Jersey. It’s my home state and it’s a big event for it. I love the team concept and I’m proud to be in this position,” Miller said. “We’re here representing the whole state. We’ve had the team training together and building camaraderie. It’s like a wrestling match style where each team is sending people out.
“Everybody looks good and healthy in training camp. I think we’re ready to go. All of these fights are going to be fantastic. These are matched very well and it should be a fun night. Team Pennsylvania better be ready, because our guys are.”
Gracie believes the format offers fans “something new.”
“I think that MMA needs something new that can draw people’s attention. This is a great chance to bring in the fans who don’t pay attention to MMA and give them a chance to get behind their local teams,” he said. “Everything in training has been perfect. I’ve been working with most of these guys for a long time already so we just kept up what we’ve been working on. With the team concept we have a lot more people to focus on instead of just one or two. We already had good chemistry though, so everything went smoothly.
“Our amateur guys turning pro are going to show that they belong in these fights. It’s time to grab the spotlight. Your first fight is the best opportunity to make an impression.”