It's a carnival of carnage.
It's a block party, a mixed martial arts bazaar and most importantly a consistent home for up-and-coming fighters to find a steady circuit.
Mixed martial arts promoter Xtreme Knockout (XKO) is slated to put on its 11th fight card tonight at its Arlington-based arena The Gym.
Both the boxing and MMA worlds are filled with fly-by-night entrepreneurs that promise big shows in fancy arenas only to stage a singular fight card and disappear.
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However, by controlling its own venue and keeping a consistent group of fighters, XKO seems to have found stable footing.
XKO co-owner Thomas Bussey cut his teeth promoting pro wrestling shows but has now turned his attention to MMA.
"We found a good stable of fighters that are helping us to build a brand," Bussey said. "They are recognizable to the fans the same way we build a pro wrestling show. We want to create an environment of good fights and a block party atmosphere."
The 30,000-square-foot XKO arena functions as a boxing, judo, jiujitsu, MMA, pro wrestling and Muay Thai training center six days a week, servicing 700 members.
On show nights, Bussey and his crew convert the venue into an arena that can accommodate 3,000 spectators and 15 vendors.
The growth and consistency has led to a television deal with KTXA/Channel 21 to broadcast XKO fights/content on Saturdays at 11 p.m.
Tonight's main event features XKO bantamweight champion (135 pounds) Steve Peterson (4-1) of McKinney defending his title against Fort Worth's Alex Russ (3-0).
Peterson hopes XKO can serve as a starting point to a full-time pro career, who trains during the week and works weekends for a bounce house company.
"They've been consistent with shows every couple months," Peterson said. "They've developed a loyal fan base and loyal fighters. It helps to have the same fighters on multiple cards."
The champ is expecting a child next month, and said when it comes to tonight's bout, he'll look to "initiate my game plan, control the pace of the fight, just dominate all aspects."
However, in his first title defense, he'll face an equally dynamic up-and-comer in Russ.
A religious man, Russ works by day as a flash developer/interactive web developer.
Russ said that of all the venues he's fought in, whether as an amateur or pro, the XKO arena is his favorite.
"I think that arena is important in the fact that it saves time and money, but we have loyal fans that would follow us anywhere," Russ said. "But it feels like the beginning of MMA, like real MMA. The whole ambiance helps out and makes it a nice experience."
Russ said the television contract helps grow the brand and improve exposure for all the fighters.
"I think it brings more eyes on fighters and promotion itself and is helping it become a noticeable brand locally," Russ said. "Outside of that for me, I don't think about all that stuff, I just show up and fight."
Tobias Xavier Lopez