In 2010, aspiring mixed martial artist Nick Newell attended an XFC tryout in Danbury, Connecticut with some teammates. Through several grueling sparring and grappling sessions, Newell made it all the way to the Finals after capturing the attention of XFC President John Prisco. Even though he didn’t win, with his impressive performance Newell used the tryout as a springboard to get onto the promotion’s radar. Flash forward two years later, now with multiple appearances on AXStv and ESPN, Newell is the breakout star of 2012 in MMA.
The promotion is now poised to find the next XFC superstar at their fighter tryouts on March 9th in Chicago, IL. Both men and women mixed martial artists are encouraged to attend. Established pros, as well as up and coming amateurs with professional aspirations, will go through different drills to determine the fighters cardio levels, striking prowess, and grappling ability. After each fighter has been through each station, the finalists will be selected and will go head to head in a sparring session that will determine the winner of the XFC multi-fight contract. John Prisco, the President of the XFC, will also consider using talent on future shows who don’t come away with the contract.
“The XFC fighter tryout has been really big for us,” explained Prisco. “That’s how we found Joby Sanchez, Jason Hicks, and of course Nick Newell who is now one of the hottest fighters in the sport. Nick was very young in his career when we first saw him and he didn’t even win the contract that day. That’s what people need to understand. If you drive up to Chicago and you see a hundred other fighters competing for that same XFC contract, don’t be discouraged and leave. Go through the drills, show us what you got, you never know what can happen. You may not win but you could still be offered a fight on a future fight card. This sport is so young and there is so much unsigned talent out there waiting for an opportunity just like Newell was. If you think you are ready for the next level, we want to see you in Chicago in March.”
The XFC has become the proving ground for the best women’s mixed martial artists in recent years with a deep roster that features rising star Stephanie Eggink, Heather Clark, Pearl Gonzalez, Angela Magana, and another fighter tryout product, Marianna Kheyfets. Like Newell, Kheyfets didn’t win an XFC contract but used the experience to catch the eye of the XFC staff and earned a contract with the promotion.
“The XFC has always been about Women’s MMA,” said Prisco. “Other promotions are finally starting to take notice and get onboard with what we’ve been doing for a few years, but we want to continue to shine a spotlight on these talented ladies who train just as hard as the guys do. We found Marianna Kheyfets at one of our very first tryouts and she blew us away with her talent and potential. We gave her her very first pro fight against Kim Couture, who was one of the top names in Women’s MMA at the time. Marianna lived up to our expectations, when she submitted Couture in the first round. I really do hope we get some talented women at the tryouts in March, we’ve got a couple great fighters registered already. We are looking to fill out 4 divisions in 2013 and there will be opportunities to be had at 105, 115, and 125 pounds almost immediately.
The next XFC Fighter Tryouts will be held on March 9th at FLO MMA in Palatine, IL. The XFC asks you bring headgear, a mouthpiece, cup, shin guards, boxing gloves, and a positive attitude. For more info or to register, please visit www.officialxfc.com. Follow the promotion daily on Facebook & Twitter ‘@OfficialXFC’.