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Mike Reilly: Strikeforce Does it Right

When Brett (Rogers) fought eleven months ago on CBS, “DO WORK” was the slogan emblazoned on the back of his shirt. Big Black’s famous directive speaks to more then just what you see in the cage. Doing work is what MMA is all about and not just for the fighters but for everyone involved.

During mt first UFC experience, I caught on right away that the ship sails on the tide of people like Donna, Bert, Joe and many others putting in 18 hours days. Before crashing up on the shores, EliteXC likewise was populated by hard working passionate people like J.T. Steele, J.D. Penn and Jessica Hudnall.

Like the UFC and EliteXC, Strikeforce is no exception when it comes to how it operates behind the scenes. Hard work by staff members such as Carrie, Jeff, Jamie and Jamie’s sons created an environment where all fighters had to do was worry about fighting.

Matchmaker Javier Mendez did an outstanding job constructing a brilliant main card full of hard hitting action. Meanwhile, every minute of Saturday’s show was captured by Tom Casino’s ever-blinking lens. At the head of this hard working train is the engine who could, Scott Coker. Coker’s Strikeforce has been a case study in working from the grassroots to the mountain tops: smart risks, faith in fans and fighters, and most of all hard work.

The work goes beyond those involved in the running of promotions. The growth of the sport over the years has been supported by a wealth of sponsors, reporters and merchandisers who have brought us to the mainstream. However, one sponsor/merchandiser does stand above the others: TapouT.

Starting out in the first days of the game, the TapouT crew would travel from town-to- town and show-to-show. Like the sport itself, TapouT is an American success story. With a memorial for Charles “Mask” Lewis being held this week, I would like to acknowledge all of TapouT’s contributions to the sport. Hundreds — if not thousands — have tried to mirror the success by thinking their business was just about hanging out at fights and partying like rockstars. However, some of the competitors neglected to realize all of TapouT’s hard work that was put forth before fight night.

Success inside and outside the cage always comes back to hard work. For fighters, training partners, and coaches, the hours are long while the tasks are brutal. On Saturday night, fans saw the effect of Brett’s knees on Abongo’s body. Back in Minnesota, dozens of training partners know all to well what the camera showed. One more round, one more rep, one more time. Oceans of sweat and buckets of blood went into Saturday night’s show. Inside and outside the fence. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. On behalf of Brett and our entire team we want to thank everyone involved in the game.

For those who want to be involved in the sport, no matter if you want to be a fighter, a coach, promoters, journalist, referee or merchandiser… from commission members to ring girls, announcers to camera operators, I have two words of advice for you: DO WORK!!!

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