Rowan University’s Sports Communication and Media Program and the Center for Sports Communication and Social Impact announced — partnership and internship opportunities for students with Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) on Monday, Feb. 13, at “Pizza With the Pros.”
Consider the CFFC to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as you would the G-League to the NBA or Triple-A to the MLB — it’s a direct and developmental pathway to the professional ranks. The promotion currently fields just three full-time employees and resurfaced after nearly collapsing in 2008. In 2010 Vineland native Robert Haydak purchased the company and oversaw its resurgence. Haydak is now the CEO and managing partner.
“When it comes to the MMA landscape, when it comes to developmental organizations, we’re always in the conversation for the number one, number two developmental organization in the world — not just the US, but the world,” Haydak said.
With this partnership between Rowan and CFFC, students have been presented with over two dozen internship opportunities. Students can apply to write for the CFFC website, design graphics and work with social media content, assist in fight matchmaking, develop ad campaigns, photograph the fights, and work with the TV production team — among many other things.
“We’d like to believe that we’ve covered every aspect of what your interests are in this room,” said Neil Hartman to students. Hartman is Rowan’s director for the Center for Sports Communication and Social Impact. “It could expand or it could be different than what we originally think it might be, but that’s great for you because you’re going to be able to learn a new skill set.”
The CFFC is trending towards branching away from its East Coast birthplace and has become an active partner of the UFC as one of its many pipelines. The promotion began in the Atlantic City and Philadelphia areas but has brought in fighters to participate in Tampa Bay and Memphis.
“At the lower levels, outside of the UFC, it’s not just shows that take place in high school gymnasiums with a bunch of fold out chairs, there are people who do almost what they [UFC] do, just at a slightly smaller scale,” said CFFC President Brad Boulton. “They [CFFC] produce it for TV, they have the big lights, the bright lights, the big fights, they put together the best athletes that we can find and get them ready for the UFC.”
The UFC as a company, and mixed martial arts as a sport, are growing at exponential rates and making prominent names for themselves within the international sports landscape. And, while regional and still developing, CFFC is an evolving product of that growth as both a business and a sport.
“We’re not looking for people completely from the outside and bringing them in,” Haydak said. “So this opportunity here to start off as an intern — I can tell you in five years from now this organization will look completely different.”
Students have until Feb. 21 at midnight to send in a cover letter and résumé if they’re interested in applying for any of the available positions.
Michael Barkann, a sports anchor and host for NBC Sports Philadelphia, will headline “Pizza With the Pros” next Monday, Feb. 20, fresh off of the Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance.
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