Asylum Fight League (AFL), the premier amateur MMA promotion on the East Coast, is quickly gaining fans and a growing reputation in the MMA world with each event. The promotion’s success is largely credited to martial arts school owner turned promoter Carl Mascarenhas.
Following New Jersey’s decision to sanction MMA competition, Mascarenhas opened his first promotional company named New Breed Fighters. In 2008, Mascarenhas had a falling out with his business partner in New Breed and decided to go in a new direction with his promotional efforts, thus spawning Asylum Fight League.
Asylum Fight League was established as a promotion “created by fighters, for fighters.” Mascarenhas is the president and promoter of AFL, as well as a retired MMA fighter and former World Champion Kickboxer. He participated in three World Cups with the U.S. World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) team, winning gold in 1995.
Mascarenhas created AFL as a training ground for amateur fighters of the Northeast region to build their records and gain recognition as potential professional-level athletes while getting the respect and understanding of businessmen who have been in their shoes.
AFL has promoted events since April of 2008 and has gained considerable popularity, routinely drawing sell-out crowds in major venues, such as the Trump Marina Casino. AFL promotes events in the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. Of the promotion’s last six fights, three were held in Atlantic City along with the last event, which took place at the Trump Mariana on Feb. 27.
The legalization of MMA competition in Pennsylvania, which took effect on Feb. 27, 2009, proved extremely favorable for AFL in exposure, recruitment of fighters, buildup of fan base, and expansion of venues and sponsorship. AFL held its first event in Pa. on Oct. 17, 2009 at The Arena in Philadelphia. Its next event, Asylum Fight League XXVII, will take place at The Legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia on Sat, Mar. 13 at 7 p.m.
In addition to putting on displays of MMA competition to an audience at venues, the AFL also provides a live online stream of its events at www.asylumfightleague.com or gofightlive.tv.
AFL has been very effective in marketing itself to sponsors and advertisers. The promotion has a detailed sponsorship plan, which has attracted numerous sponsors, including Everlast, The National Guard, Sirius Satellite Radio, Ring of Combat, Knockout Athletics and others.
The league promotes events featuring a variety of different weight classes (13) ranging from super featherweight (126-129.9 pounds) to absolute (250 pounds and above). Of the 13 weight classes, there are six titleholders. The other weight classes currently have vacant titles.
The success and gained notoriety of the league have had effects on its talent and led to changes in the promotion. Due to the number of its fighters turning professional, AFL has recently decided to promote cards featuring both amateur and professional bouts. At AFL XXI, the promotion’s debut in Philadelphia, the card featured four amateur fights and four professional fights.
AFL’s next events are scheduled for Mar. 13 in Philadelphia and Mar. 20 at Club Abyss in Amboy, N.J.