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The show must go on

This post was never meant to be written. I had originally thought that I wouldn’t have the time for the blog this week due to the Fight Before Christmas being on this coming Friday, but the snowy weather outside means that I have a day of doing pretty much nothing.

So, lots to catch up on and lots to do this week too. There are things to be organised for Fridays show which range from the banal (buying an air horn) to the important (ensuring the cage can make it down from the North). I’d like to say that I’m excited, or nervous, or anything at all really, but I’m not. It’s going to be a busy day on Friday but I’m happy and confident with the preparations my fighters have undertaken and I’m well prepared myself having put a lot of spade work into putting on the show.

So no nerves, no jitters; but it could be so different. The snowy weather forced the cancellation of another show last weekend and while I believe the weather will abate come Friday, it’s still a small concern. Every time I hear of a show in trouble I don’t laugh, I think “there but for one slip up go I”. There’s so much to do and think about when organising an event, and it really only takes one thing to go wrong before the whole thing comes crashing down around you. It can be as simple as a snow shower, or as simple as a guy being too stingy who presses the “avoid toll roads” button on his SatNav.

You see, that’s what almost happened 2 years ago. I was in the venue setting up, and the lighting and sound guys arrived. That was great. Then the security guys arrived. Then the ushers arrived. After that, the fighters began to arrive. All of this was good. Everyone was on time and looking good. Except for one thing: the ring. It was coming from Tipperary. On a Friday evening. At rush hour. In December. In ordinary circumstances, this would be enough to heighten the stress considerably, but when you ring the man in the van and he says that he’s in James’ Street at 5.30pm in those circumstances, you know something’s gone wrong. Whitehall is a good hour from James’ Street at the best of times but with Christmas traffic and all that goes with it, I had no idea when he’d arrive. I had been told that the ring would take 90 minutes to put up and the door was opening at 7pm. You do the math.

Several frantic and panicky phone calls later, I talked the guys in at 6.30pm and we got unloading straight away. In fairness to the boys, they got the ring up in record time and we opened the doors 30 minutes late but got the show running just ten minutes late. It was a hugely successful night for me personally and for the gym as a whole, but it could have been so much different.

Last year was a genuinely difficult show. From the beginning, I took on a huge workload in converting our gym into a venue for the evening. I thought, for a long time, that this was going to be one of those “it seemed like a good idea at the time” occasions, but it turned out well and we had a good time on the night. Unfortunately, the sheer workload involved in hiring lighting, chairs, moving equipment, and then the massive clean up job involved the next day was just too much to bear, and when the fight card began to fall apart in the week beforehand, I was fit to stick myself in an asylum for a while.

Ah yes, the fight card. Every time I meet another promoter, he says something that I told him when he was getting into the game back to me. “Fighters are a pain in the hole, everyone else just wants your money”. I should amend that. Some fighters, specifically some clubs, are a pain in the hole, but yes, everyone else just wants your money. Last year I had 8 pull outs in a week and only some friendly and reliable clubs came to the rescue I would never have had a fight card to put on. One guy agreed to a fight, then went on holiday and refused to answer his emails. Oh yes, the same guy signed his mate up to fight and never told him. I will never deal with that gym and 2 other gyms again. That’s the one positive I took out of that experience- I now select the clubs I deal with carefully and it has paid off with the fighters I’ve had on this card so far. No pull outs, and we’re 2 days out. Remarkable. They say that good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement.

It’s going to be a real Christmas show with the snow outside and the show inside. I’ve changed my mind too. I AM excited, it just took writing this all down to realise it.

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