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The Brief But Destructive Wake of Praetorian Fighting Championships


Praetorian Fighting Championships

by Matt Lo Cascio

This is a journey into the short but shady history of Alex Martinez and his Praetorian Fighting Championships promotion.

While Praetorian’s time in the Chicago MMA scene was brief, it damaged a wide wake of people. Promoters, vendors, managers. Fighters and their friends and families. All frustrated. Some asking why. Many owed money. And a few plotting legal action.


I received a message from Mani Santiago on Saturday, November 2. Santiago is the managing partner of Mio Fight Gear, a local MMA gear and apparel company, but he’s also a jiu-jitsu practitioner who trains at Valko BJJ. He planned to make his MMA debut — at the age of 35 — at Praetorian’s October show. That show was canceled, and his fight was moved to Praetorian’s next event, which was slated for November 22, according to a Facebook post by Martinez.

Santiago told me he called the venue for the fight to inquire if it was booked for an MMA event on November 22. The staff told him nothing was booked. I followed up with a call of my own and received the same response. That revelation made it evident: Praetorian would not be putting on a show in November.

Frustrated that his fight would again be postponed, Santiago decided to vent on Facebook. It was a heart-wrenching account that almost read like the death of a dream. Martinez must have read it. Shortly after that post, Martinez added his own post to Facebook, announcing that Praetorian was done promoting amateur events.

“Due to situations beyond our control and certain parties (none of you) not fulfilling their agreements, Praetorian Fighting Championships simply cannot continue hosting amateur events and continued to be extorted, taken advantage of or be put in a position where we align ourselves with individuals whose only purpose is to hurt this sport.”

In what became one of his signature moves, Martinez deleted that post from his page shortly after posting it.

Martinez also said in the post that he plans on taking the rest of this year off and returning in 2014 to put on four pro shows in the Chicago area. The goal of this piece is to help tell the stories of people that Martinez has already hurt, but also serve as ‘Caveat Emptor‘ to fighters and businessmen that might be considering a venture with Martinez in the future.

I chose not to write about Martinez and Praetorian before because Praetorian was still putting on shows, albeit sporadically, and it was a place for local fighters to do what they love to do. I wasn’t about to get in the way of that. But when news broke that he was done promoting amateur events, I started to gather more information. There was a domino effect. I would talk to one person and they’d refer me to another person. They all had similar stories. And those need to be told.

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About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is the former play-by-play announcer for the XFO and other organizations, and he has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided, and more.

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