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Spotlight On A Local MMA Promoter: Catching Up With Kenny Letts

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 2009 has seen Fight Lab Promotions emerge as one of the top local promoters of mixed martial arts in North Carolina. After their first successful outing in April they returned to the Charlotte area in June and put on another great pro/amateur show at the Grady Cole Center. Lead by Kenny Letts, Fight Lab seeks to continue to build upon the success of their first two shows and put on more quality events. I recently caught up with Kenny to discuss their  future plans.

More after the jump:

Rich Wyatt: What is the latest and greatest with Fight Lab Promotions?

Kenny Letts: Fight Lab Promotions is doing great. Our Misery Loves Company II show was a lot of fun with 4 KOs/TKOs and 4 submission finishes. It was a fast paced, action packed event with some of the best we could find in the Southeast. We were pleased overall - but now we've got to do it again! Tom Bakley came on running operations for us and really took charge and ran a great show. Michael Allen, AKA Corn Bread, came on with our team as well helping with match making and coordinating fighter and team logistics. He also guest MC'd the event as well and a did a super job interviewing the competitors post fight - the highlight being dancing the Scottish/Irish Jig with Joey "El Dingo Loco" Carroll following yet another upset victory, this time over a very game Keith Richardson.

Rich Wyatt: Any tentative date for a next event?

Kenny Letts: At this point we are looking to put on a 3 night series, each night roughly 6 weeks apart. We'll be running 8-Man tournaments in 4 different weight classes - 155, 170, 185 and HW. The first two shows will be lower cost tickets and smaller venues, (we are dubbing this THE ROAD TO MISERY) with the 3rd and final show being back at the Grady Cole Center for Misery Loves Company III - where the finalists in each division will be fighting for title belts. As part of this tournament format, we have plans to possibly do an upcoming outdoor show. We're talking with several potential venues, one of them being Piedmont Town Center in the South Park area of Charlotte. The competitors in the first round would obviously be fighting to win, but there are two higher level reasons: 1 - they stay in the tournament, hopefully on the way to a title shot, and 2 - The 2nd stop is likely at the Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC. We've been asked to put on a show for incoming troops from the Middle East. The competitors will get a private tour of the base as well as the opportunity to get strapped into a fighter jet - my understanding is that they won't be taking them up into the air, but still, what a thrill. Winners from the second stop on The Road To Misery will get a title shot at Misery Loves Company III back at The Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, early 2010. One other thing that we're going to be working on is helping with the Fight Night for Kids charity event that will be held in Charlotte on January 28th.

Rich Wyatt: I understand that some of the fighters from your last card are working together at Chris Frye's gym in Charlotte. Can you tell us a little about that?

Kenny Letts: Great question. I personally think they should change to the name to Hell's Gym or something more appropriately descriptive. There's no air conditioning. It's loud and raucous. It's painful. And guys keep coming back bringing their friends to see if they can take it. It's located in the Southend area of Charlotte. Chris has a unique environment and system for strength and conditioning that many MMA competitors are finding challenging and helpful. Former pro MMA fighter, Daniel Ancheta, is instructing a very aggressive Muay Thai strategy and the ground game is instructed by current MMA pro Joey "El Dingo Loco" Carroll. His brother Roger "The Leprechaun" Carroll, also a MMA pro in NC , instructs as well and there are occasional instructional visits from Gracie Baja Black Belt Joe Hurst. Rumors have it they have some fairly monumental sparring sessions on a weekly basis as well. Guys are coming from Asheville, Gastonia, Claremont, Rock Hill, Concord - all over really - to get a crack at each other as well as see how they stack up physically. Funny thing, about 70% of the first timers (pro and amateur) have to quit halfway through their first few work outs to either pull themselves together or puke in the parking lot. MMA vets are puking! I think it's funny.
Chris and Daniel employ a grueling series of challenges using kegs, kettle bells, ropes, sleds, plates, water tubes - as well as other more commonly found workout equipment. He's got a HUGE stereo system that was amped up by DJ Arod (the DJ from our Misery Loves Company shows), so we play a lot of loud raucous music to get through the workouts. The guys training for upcoming fights get to play and sample their walkout music while they train and during sparring sessions in the cage. Chris Frye's gym is a fun environment to get challenged, skilled and motivated like no other I've been too, read about, or had nightmares about.

Rich Wyatt: Thanks for the updates. Anything else you'd like to say?

Kenny Letts: Thanks to MMA For Real for checking in. Fight Lab Promotions is doing great. We're excited about upcoming concepts like The Road to Misery and Misery Loves Company III.