Mark Hall was the only MMA retired fighter to become a MMA Fight Promoter that operated nationwide promoting MMA style fighting events. Furthermore, he implemented and promoted fair match ups so every fighter would have a fair chance at victory. Mark’s biggest desire was to add weight classes to this great sport; a luxury that was not given to him in the early years of his career as a fighter. He considers himself a fighter’s promoter. In 1998, Mark founded his first MMA fighting promotion company, West World Sports. Being on the MMA platform allowed Mark to make an impact on how people viewed the sport. He encouraged them to see the passion and sportsmanship behind MMA competition. He also encouraged them to get involved with the sport by following and supporting it until it became legal.
In 1998 Mark Hall’s fighting stable – the fighters he promoted - fought Chuck Liddell’s fighting stable in a very exciting action packed showdown at the Stampede in Temecula, California. The event brought great reviews; Mark claims it is the most successful thing he has done thus far. Despite the event’s great success, the Stampede owners responded to pressure from the city by cancelling Mark’s six show contract. However, through this event, Mark discovered a talent he was not aware he had – assembling fight cards for a night of unforgettable extreme entertainment.
Instead of getting discouraged about his cancelled contract, Mark pushed forward in his career. Mark states, “Representing this great sport is more than just numbers, it is what defines me as a human being and is my strongest passion next to God and my children.”
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Even in the face of adversity, Mark continued as a positive spokesperson and pioneer for MMA fighting. He introduced thousands of fans to MMA fighting and by promoting the sport in many different ways which include fighting, training, managing and training a stable of fighters and owning and operating fight schools.
In the sports early days, promoting an MMA event off an Indian Reservation was considered suicide. At that time, it was common for the events to get shut down by the State Athletic Commission and the police. The only loophole was if the event took place at an Indian Reservation and Casino but, unfortunately, most refused to host the MMA events. Mark’s passion for the sport allowed him to continue to pitch MMA proposals whenever he had the opportunity, despite the negativity around him.
Mark’s persistence paid off when the Cahuilla Creek Casino in Anza, California signed an exclusive contract with him. The contract allowed Mark to host his Cobra series of MMA events at the casino. On October 23rd, 1999, Mark’s career in MMA promotions was back on track with the 1999 Cobra Qualifier.
His first MMA event on an Indian Reservation in California received great reviews. An all-star cast- including Mr. Chuck Liddell, Tank Abbott, and Paul Harera and their fighters- were present at the event. Most noteworthy in attendance was Mr. Bob Shamrock (and his fighters) whom Mark admires and respects. To his surprise, Mr. Bob Shamrock presented Mark with a MMA Promoter’s Certificate. Mark was honored to learn Bob had been working very close with the State Athletic Commission and other agencies and people, to get the sport governed and legalized.
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After nearly three years at the Cahuilla Creek Casino, Mark’s Cobra Series of MMA Events came to a close. Mark could not meet the growing demands of the Casino.
Since the sport wasn’t legalized yet Mark had to stick with the Indian Reservations and began sending out MMA event proposals to Indian casinos in California. Until he could locate a casino to host his events he leased a warehouse and promoted private events.
Mark took his entire life savings to lease a warehouse in Temecula, California and build his own MMA Promotion Venue. The warehouse was phenomenal; it had a huge octagon ceiling constructed above a black and red octagon, production lighting, cameras, surround sound, CFF Wall of Champions, and of course a food buffet and a bar. Mark called it “The Octagon Experience.”
Mark put in numerous hours of work to become his own ring announcer and referee. After three years of successfully running “The Octagon Experience,” the venue was raided by the police and shut down. Mr. Dana White had just legalized the sport so Mark never promoted another MMA event because his dream of MMA fighting becoming legal had now been fulfilled.
Mr. Dana White making MMA fighting legal was a remarkable achievement; he took something great and made it so anyone could participate without the fear of legal action. Below is an insert from my book.
“As an MMA Fight Promoter, I would visit Martial Art Schools across California to recruit and sign fighters, and watch fighters train so I could better match them up. As an early MMA Fight Promoter this was a constant job – meeting and signing new talent. Whenever I would visit these fight clubs and see my CFF Championship Belts displayed in glass trophy cases, it always brought a good feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction to my position as an MMA fight promoter. My Cobra Series of MMA fighting events made a huge difference and played a large part in the history and future of the sport. My MMA events were true to the sport, I was not trying to rip people off in order to make money. I always believed that I was doing some good for the sport and representing it well. My events had a large amount of staff including: doctors, unbiased judges and referees, professional cage and ring announcers, security, full productions, professional photographers, and many more. Many great figures started their careers by walking through my MMA promotion door or one of my schools. Many of these great figures went on to make big contributions to this sport and some even moved to bigger events like UFC. They also got many other people included in the sport: Mr. Scott Adams who founded W.E.C., Mr. Herb Dean who became a UFC referee, Mr. Charles Lewis and Mr. Dan Caldwell who created the largest MMA clothing company in its history, Mr. Chuck Liddell who trained and managed fighters for my events became the best MMA fighter in the world, Mr. Tito Ortiz who sold his clothing brand “Punishment” at my events, and countless others. The people involved with the sport today must not forget the one’s that came before them and laid the ground work – one of those people is me, Mark Hall. My history in this sport goes all the way back to its first inception into the United States and my history in martial arts goes back over forty years. Now that I have told my story in my book, people can see my wide variety of accomplishments and contributions to the sport which include: my many schools over an eighteen year period, my active status as a pro MMA fighter, directing and maintaining fighters, promoting over twenty MMA events, developing and directing the sports first MMA women’s fight league, and announcing, refereeing, and directing my private warehouse MMA events. Additionally, I founded and developed my own art form called S.C.A.T., or Street Combat Applications Training. I was part of a chain of MMA Pioneers who moved this sport along in the face of adversity and developed the sport into what it is today. Before there was Scott Adams of WEC there was Mark Hall of West World Sports, before there was Terry Trebilcock of King of the Cage there was Mark Hall of the Ultimate Fighting training Center and Cobra Productions, and before there was Dana White of the UFC there was Mark Hall of the Cobra Fighting Federation, “CFF.” My huge and legendary body of work and contribution to MMA should not be left out of the documentaries and history of this great sport. I want to thank everyone connected to my schools and MMA Events for your service, sacrifice, dedication, and contributions. Thank you, thank you, thank you and may God Bless you all!”
Discover much more of Mark Hall’s promotions in his new book. You can also purchase Mark’s Cobra Series of MMA events, clothing, and many more products on our Store Page.