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A Danger Zone Of Opportunity

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Michael Kulp has always looked at an opportunity and those in the mixed martial arts business will tell you chances of a lifetime are far and in between. Kulp, a successful operations manager for a private security company in Peekskill, NY, knows when opportunity comes and goes in the cage of mixed martial arts.

Kulp has been here and thrives on opportunity. Trained and briefly as a competitor, his first passion with exception of family coming first is martial arts. He believes in the sport of grappling, striking, and discipline that he experienced over the years. He believes in providing opportunity for younger, older, males and females who are looking to find a way to compete.

So, Saturday night and not far from his headquarters in Peekskill, Kulp will continue providing an opportunity for over 20 competitors at the Armory in Newburgh, NY. as M.A.K. Productions presents “Danger Zone” that will also be streamed live for a minimal price on pay-per-view:

His son (Michael Jr.) who grew up in the amateur MMA scene in New York, Mike Pascale, (former NYS Athletic commissioner) a senior partner, Andre Tavish Maxam and Bobby Woodlawn are the next generation of event organizers and have knowledge of the fighters.

Regardless, Danger Zone is a small budget event with dozens of sponsors also playing a vital role in all of this. Tavish is basically the matchmaker, responsible for scheduling 15 fights in the cage that will be a combination of martial arts, kickboxing, submission wrestling, and of course MMA.

Four championship matches including a MMA heavyweight, a female 145 pound MMA title, 124 pound male MMA title, and final main event for the 155 pound intern title. Fighters are from a diverse background, arriving from the tri-state area and six different states.

Tavish has the responsibility of assisting with traveling, lodging, and also ensuring that they are licensed for the event that is under the jurisdiction of the New York State Athletic Commission. Of course, as every promoter will say, the fight card is subject to change, pending physicals and fighters all meeting the contracted weight.

It’s a part of being a promoter in the high stakes of a competitive industry of traditional MMA, grappling, and mixed martial arts. But one aspect to keep in mind is that word of opportunity because Danger Zone is classified as an amateur event. The rules will be somewhat different but the competition will be intense because it is an opportunity for those who will showcase their skills Saturday night.

“Pro shows only got legalized couple of years ago,” Kulp said as he continues to put the finishing touch on finalizing fights and assuring everything meets standards of a sanctioned event.

“Don’t do pro shows because they make it so expensive and not worth the squeeze,” Kulp says. He said that the big boys of the UFC and Bellator profit. An amateur event provides an opportunity for the competitors to be showcased and the combination of different styles has been a previous success with M.A.K. Productions in New York and Connecticut.

But similar to any other promoter there are headaches. Kulp constantly receives calls and text messages about when they can get an opportunity. He tries to accommodate and please as many of the trainers and fighters who made contact about Danger Zone and future events. The next scheduled M.A.K. event is scheduled for a time and place in February and five more are planned for next year.

“Agita,” he said with a laugh referring to the old Italian saying of working hard with the normal headaches of putting the pieces together. “I get to have a platform where I give these amateurs a platform to showcase their skills.”

The platform are other promoters, also known as the scouts who will attend Danger Zone and seek that possible and upcoming competitor for one of their events and provide more opportunity. They are seen around the venue or in the locker room area, and Kulp has no issue with other promoters attending his events. This is a small and vibrant flight community and working together is always good between promoters of this platform. Different from the boxing game, where rival promoters are hardly on a similar page.

Kulp took over from John Carlo, his former trainer who retired and renamed the promotion. It has been a great venture and the opportunity continues, an emphasis again for Danger Zone.

“Every promoter has a day job,” he said. “You are not quitting your day job. You are doing it for the love of the sport.”

Tickets are available and the competitors are also doing their part with word on social media. More info:

Reprinted with permission via

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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