50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2021
The Silicon Review
MMA has turned into a big-time sporting spectacle in recent years, with the UFC hogging the headlines in almost all sports shows. And why not? UFC brings in a tremendous amount of fanfare and money to the sponsors and organizers – and unbound entertainment to people worldwide. But MMA’s fan-following isn’t limited to just the UFC as other organizations are flourishing too, including the ONE Championships (lately) and Bellator MMA. One of the greatest proponents of the MMA spectacle is the Lingerie Fighting Championships (LFC), a sports entertainment league that utilizes wrestling and mixed martial arts fighting techniques. Of course, the league’s mainstays are the lingerie-clad models, pro-athletes, track stars, and champion bodybuilders who feature as the fighters.
LFC has become quite an MMA spectacle since its inception in 2013, so much so that even in a year like 2020, where COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges, LFC was able to organize its biggest event so far – LFC30: Born To Be Wild. Held at the legendary Sturgis Buffalo Chip, the event was so well attended that the league was booked again for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally event – to be held in August 2021. The premium sports entertainment league managed to shoot two more seasons of its reality series and its third annual calendar last year too.
The MMA organization has been swamped by a huge number of fan requests since LFC30 and is now due for a return with its LFC31 event under the bright lights of Las Vegas. The event will be streamed live on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. With LFC’s fighters missing their fans and the fans missing the league, we decided to interview Shaun Donnelly, CEO of LFC, who is taking LFC live online through the organization’s own pay-per-view platform soon. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. What was your motivation behind establishing LFC?
I was doing a weekly MMA show called Friday Night Fights and watching a lot of events all over North America and during one of them, I just had this idea, “what if the ring girls got into a fight?” So, I pitched it to some cable systems and they loved the idea and Lingerie Fighting Championships was born.
Q. Challenges must be aplenty for you. But what is the biggest challenge that you encounter as the head of the LFC organization?
The biggest challenge is juggling the demands of the public company while also operating the league and the many people involved in making each event successful.
Q. How do you ensure that each LFC event is unique?
The key is finding a balance between keeping the shows fresh while also giving the fans something familiar (a consistent product). But ultimately I challenge myself to make each event even better than the one before.
Q. Do you have any plans of expanding to newer countries?
We just signed deals with FilmOn TV, Swiss-X and Claxson that will help us expand throughout Europe and South America. We have done events in Europe and are hopeful to return as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.
Q. How competitive are the fighters in LFC?
You have to be very competitive to do this. While our rules are designed to keep the fighters as safe as possible, at the end of the day they’re fighting to win.
Q. How important are partnerships to LFC?
We couldn’t do what we do without the strategic and creative partnerships we’ve developed over the years.
Q. How has your 15 years of experience in film and television helped with leading LFC?
Planning an LFC event is very similar to doing pre-production on a TV series or film. In fact, I use a very similar check list with both.
Q. How difficult was it for you to strike the pandemic curveball?
We had to cancel several events which was disappointing but we still managed to keep very busy. We did one of our biggest events ever at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, shot two seasons of our reality series and put together our third annual calendar.
Q. You have established a successful, publicly traded company from the ground up and entertained fans worldwide. What can we expect from you in the coming years?
LFC will continue to grow and do more events than ever before. My goal is to reach the point where we’re doing monthly or even weekly events.
The Leader Upfront
Shaun Donnelly, CEO
Shaun is an entertainment industry veteran with over fifteen years of experience in film and television. Some of his noteworthy features include, the recently released, John 316, The Zombie Apocalypse in 14F, and Gone by Dawn. He has created, produced and directed television series for such networks as Starz, AMI, ITV, Playboy TV, UKTV and YouToo. He has served as the head of Canada’s Mind Engine Entertainment since 2005. He worked in the advertising industry prior to film and television. He has also worked as a writer and columnist for numerous magazines and newspapers.
He earned his diploma in Advertising Public Relations and Audio Visual Communications from Grant MacEwan University.