Ray Sefo may be the president of World Series of Fighting and a renowned trainer in Las Vegas, but the 41-year-old insists he hasn't hung up his gloves yet either.
As if Ray Sefo wasn't wearing enough hats already, serving as the president of the newly-announced World Series of Fighting promotion, and continuing his position as a full-time trainer based in Las Vegas, the 41-year-old New Zealand native says he's not done fighting yet either.
"I'm still very active. I want to fight seven more fights to make it 100 (pro fights) then retire," Sefo told Ariel Helwani Wednesday on The MMA Hour.
"I promise. I really don't know when that final date is gonna come, but that's what I have set in my head."
But Sefo admitted that balancing his own career, instructing a strong stable of fighters, and juggling the responsibilities of the WSOF has been a challenge — but one the former kickboxing champ would not trade for anything in the world.
"I love being involved … martial arts has been my life since I was five," Sefo continued. "Being a coach is another part of my life I love and enjoy. I would say being a head coach and being president of a company goes hand and hand. It's all about making the right decisions.
"At some point I'm gonna get busy with World Series of Fighting stuff, but right now I can do all this. If it gets to a point where it's going to compromise certain things, I will make adjustments to it."
Making the right decisions and adjustments for the WSOF — which hosts its first event Nov. 3 at the Planet Hollywood Casino & Resort in Las Vegas — is what Sefo believes will separate his NBC Sports-backed organization from a handful of other MMA upstarts.
"The mistake is a lot of these guys come out and try to be bigger than the UFC, bigger than life," Sefo said. "For us, we're not trying to compete with UFC, we're here to start small.
"We're gonna take the talent that's available or don't have a home to go to. We're going to build our own young talent. There's so much talent out there. With that mindset we're going to be around. We're just taking it one step at a time.
"We got to crawl before we walk. We are definitely keeping eye on our budget and what we can do and what we can't do. I'm blessed to have the team that we have, smart people, very levelheaded people. We're not trying to be more than what we are. We are crawling, eventually going to walk and then run."
Despite hosting the event in the UFC's hometown, Sefo believes there is remains an untapped MMA audience that could be watching the sport for the first time on Nov. 3.
"With the card that we have I think it's worth having on a network like NBC Sports," Sefo said. "It's free on television, it's going to hit markets with non-MMA fans and hopefully they became MMA fans."
It certainly won't hurt the company's initial offering that a scheduled Strikeforce show featuring a main event between champ Daniel Cormier and former UFC champ Frank Mir set for the same night in Oklahoma City was canceled.
"I was kind of 50-50 to be honest. Being a fighter I know a lot of the guys on the Strikeforce card had trained eight or nine weeks and put in their camps. This is how they make their living; this is how they get paid. So I feel for those guys," Sefo said. "But am I happy that we're the only show on that night? Yeah. I'd be lying if I said otherwise.
"It's very important for us for the ratings to be good. With the card that we have, I don't doubt that a lot of people will tune in. And now being the only show on that night, thank God. I hope it's a million. But I have no idea to be honest."
Even though the card — which features a main event between former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski and Devin Cole as well as former UFC fighters in Anthony Johnson and Miguel Torres — is loaded with former talent from the top MMA league in the world, Sefo reiterated that WSOF's goal is not to go head-to-head with the UFC.
"As many shows as the UFC has put on, there's still the need for another stage to showcase talent," Sefo said. "With MMA is such a young sport, but it's still growing.
"If we can all share that piece of the pie and provide that stage for (more) guys to showcase their talent, why not?"
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