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RFA and Legacy promotions to merge into LFA, the 'NCAA of mixed martial arts'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The future is now, at least for the springboard promotions for upcoming talent in MMA

On Monday, Resurrection Fighting Alliance president and longtime fight manager Ed Soares broke the news on The MMA Hour that two prominent second-tier promotions are merging into one.

"Well, I'm here to tell you that the RFA and Legacy Fighting Championship has merged," Soares said during his appearance on the show. "We merged into one organization, and we just signed a five-year deal with AXS TV. Starting in 2017, we're going to be doing 30 shows a year on AXS TV, and it'll be called the Legacy Fighting Alliance. LFA is the name of the new company."

Soares, who will act as the CEO of LFA — with RFA's Sven Bean acting as COO — said that the FC merger has been in the works for six to eight months. Soares said the reasons for coming together were to unify efforts as a developmental league for fighters to gain experience before joining the bigger shows.

"I just felt that between RFA and Legacy we were the two organizations that were sending the most people to the UFC and to Bellator," Soares said. "We were the two premiere development organizations.

"I felt that when we joined forced, we'd be much stronger together as a unit that we would be separately, and that's what we wanted to do. We wanted to create the NCAA of mixed martial arts. And by Legacy and RFA coming together, that's exactly what we've built.

The LFA press release that was sent out on Monday further explain the thinking behind the merger.

"Our athletes will have an unrivaled platform to compete in front of a nationally televised audience — not to mention in more than 40 countries around the world — and prove they are worthy of a spot at the sport's highest level. Our existing companies have placed more than 100 fighters in just the UFC and Bellator, alone. Quite simply, for the fighters on our roster, the future is now."

According to Soares, Legacy FC's Houston-based owner/promoter Mick Maynard will not be involved in the business side of the newly formed LFA. Bean, who also appeared on the show via speaker phone, said that the RFA champions will battle the Legacy FC champions when the promotion launches to create the inaugural LFA champions.

Overall, Soares and company felt it was a good time to join forces, given the current MMA landscape. Part of the allure of meshing companies was to give up-and-coming fighters a prolific platform -- thus the 30 shows per year -- to showcase their talents.

"You know this year, Legacy did 14 shows, and we did 13 shows," he said. "So us together as LFA we're going to do, starting off in 2017, 30 shows, and hopefully in the future even do more."

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