Promoting Promotions: Legacy Fighting Alliance

This is the first article in a series by our rising MMA journalist Dylan Knostman in which we take a look into various MMA and combat sports promotions from around the world and analyze the good, the bad, and how they contribute to the overall landscape of Mixed Martial Arts.

Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) is a Mixed Martial Arts promotion based in Houston, Texas, and is one of the higher-level feeder leagues for the UFC, and is often considered just one step below the top fight leagues. Many top fighters currently in the highest levels of MMA have fought for LFA, and they continue to grow in size and reputation, bringing even better events and better prospects as the years go on. LFA may not be on many MMA fans' radar, but it is certainly a promotion worth watching and supporting, and you’re almost guaranteed to see a future star on any of their fight cards.

Legacy Fighting Alliance History

LFA was formed in 2017 when Legacy Fighting Championship, based in Texas, merged with Resurrection Fighting Alliance, which was based out of Florida at the time. Both promotions were well respected regional organizations, but the merger allowed them to grow beyond just regional and turn into a true international organization. When the merger was agreed to, they combined rosters of both organizations and held a unifying Bantamweight championship, between now retired Stephen Peterson and current Bellator fighter Leandro Higo. Since then, LFA has hosted over 150 events, and they continue to lead the way when it comes to the development of rising professional MMA fighters. According to their website, LFA has sent over 260 fighters to the UFC, with 8 total champions across all weight divisions as well. Since the Covid-19 Pandemic, LFA has stepped up their activity as well, hosting at least one event a month, with sometimes even two or three. LFA is one of the younger successful promotions, but they are building a legacy for themselves that will remain for years to come

Notable Current and Former LFA Fighters

Between RFA, LFC, and LFA, there have been an incredible number of fighters who have fought and gone on to have success in the largest MMA organizations in the world. While there are no guarantees in the sport, winning a title for LFA is one of the fastest ways to earn a contract for organizations such as the UFC, Bellator, PFL, and ONE Championship. LFA does have strong financial ties to the UFC, therefore most of the prospects end up going that route after they finish their LFA career. Here are some of the former LFA fighters who are now on the big stage:

  • Brandon Moreno - current UFC Flyweight champion
  • Henry Cejudo - former UFC Flyweight & Bantamweight champion
  • Kamaru Usman- Former UFC Welterweight Champion
  • Holly Holm - Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion
  • Derrick Lewis - UFC record: knockouts
  • Jason Jackson - #1 ranked Bellator Welterweight contender
  • Brandon Royval - #3 UFC Flyweight contender
  • Ricky Simon - #10 ranked UFC Bantamweight Contender
Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman during his RFA career

Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in his RFA days credit @LFAfighting

While these are just a few of the names that the LFA has produced, the organization has continued to churn out high-level prospects and future stars. While it’s nice to look back and see what kind of fighters they have produced, it’s also important to see what kind of talent they are currently hosting. Here are some names to watch who have recently signed with other organizations and have yet to make their debut, or are currently fighting under the LFA banner.

  • Jerrell Hodge - current interim LFA Bantamweight champion
  • Chris Brown - current LFA Welterweight champion
  • Mitchell McKee - Bantamweight prospect from Minnesota, USA
  • An Ho - Flyweight prospect from Arizona, USA
  • Azamat Bekeov - Middleweight prospect from Russia
  • Cedric Katambwa - Lightweight prospect from Arizona
  • William Starks - Lightweight prospect from Missouri
  • Julia Polastri - current LFA women’s Strawweight champion
  • Ben Tynan - Heavyweight prospect from Canada
  • Christian Natividad - Flyweight prospect from Hawaii
Current LFA women’s Strawweight champions Julia Polastri

Current LFA women’s Strawweight champions Julia Polastri credit @LFAfighting

While these are just a few of the many immensely talented fighters who have or currently fight under the LFA promotional banner, these athletes are all names to watch moving forward. This is evidence that the LFA is truly one of the top MMA promotions in terms of hosting and developing the top up and coming talent in MMA, and that the route through this promotion, with success, can almost guarantee a chance at the big show as a Mixed Martial Artist.

LFA flyweight prospect An “The Highlight” Ho

LFA flyweight prospect An “The Highlight” Ho | credit @LFAfighting

Fighter Pay and Treatment

Unlike organizations such as the UFC or even Bellator, smaller companies simply cannot pay their fighters a large amount due to the fact that they are trying to stay afloat in the financially challenging world of mixed martial arts. Fighter pay is a major problem in the sport, with almost all fighters outside the top 3-5% having to work second and third jobs, making sometimes just a couple thousand dollars per fight even with an established professional record.

Through my research, LFA is on the higher end of pay in terms of current smaller promotions, with some of their fighters receiving purses of $6,000, with slightly higher payouts in rare situations for top-level fighters. Typically for most fighters on a given card, the fighter payout can be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. This is not adequate for professional athletes, as much of this money goes to training camps, travel, health care, and other expenses but LFA seems to do the best with what they have, as the fighter pay issue is far more systemic and there needs to be change at the top before smaller organizations can begin to follow suit.

Overall treatment of fighters in LFA seems to be very good, with no fighter having to sign exclusive contracts meaning they can fight for other promotions or organizations in between contents for LFA. This allows for flexibility and freedom, as for example the UFC has fully exclusive contracts which means the fighter can only fight under that promotion. Fighters are also able to have sponsors on their shorts, and banners during walkouts and announcements which the UFC also does not allow. As LFA continues to grow, we hope to see even better treatment and better fighter pay.

Live Events and Streaming

The LFA hosts live events monthly all across the United States. The most common locations include but are not limited to Sioux Falls South Dakota, Prior Lake Minnesota, Niagara Falls New York, Commerce California, Phoenix Arizona, and many locations across Brazil. Tickets are generally relatively cheap for these events, ranging from $30 to over $100 depending on location of the seats. LFA boasts one of the best MMA environments for a fan, with electric bouts often delivering on the action in small but raucous venues. If you live near a city that hosts LFA, it is a must that you attend the next event they host in your area.

How To Watch Legacy Fighting Alliance

LFA is exclusively streamed under UFC Fight Pass, which is the best combat sports streaming app and you can see all of their events live or on replay for just $9.99 a month, which gets you access to the full UFC Fight Pass app. LFA is one of the better promotions for a reason, and they deserve all the attention on social media, streaming, and live attendance that we as MMA fans can give.

Final Thoughts

Legacy Fighting Alliance is one of, if not the top developmental MMA league for professional fighters, as they have produced many incredible athletes since even before the merger, and continue to host incredible events with the top-notch talent from across the world. While not recognized with the big promotions such as the UFC, Bellator, or PFL, LFA is certainly one of the organizations to watch and you will find the stars of tomorrow fighting under the Legacy Fighting Alliance banner. Make sure to follow LFA on both Twitter and Instagram @LFAfighting

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