Titan Fighting Championship is about to enter a new era.
Jeff Aronson, the now former chairman of Alchemist Management, purchased a majority stake in Titan FC last month from the promotion's founder and president Joe Kelly, Aronson informed MMAFighting.com on Wednesday. Kelly will remain with the organization as president and minority owner, while Aronson will serve as its CEO.
Furthermore, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, the promotion is expected to announce a multi-year television deal with CBS Sports Network in the coming days. Aronson would not confirm that information, although he did say they would run at least eight shows in 2014.
The promotion's first televised event on CBS Sports Network, TFC 27, will be on Feb. 28, and it will be headlined by Mike Ricci vs. Jorge Gurgel. Aronson said an intriguing co-main event, featuring former UFC stars, will be announced shortly, however, it has not been finalized at this time. Kurt Holobaugh vs. Eric Marriott will also take place on the card.
The event is expected to air live from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS at 10 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network, with the prelims airing online. The rest of the card will be announced in the coming weeks.
MMAElite.net first reported the news that Titan FC had reached a deal with CBS Sports Network.
Aronson, a multimillionaire who describes himself as a "serial entrepreneur," said every fighter who signs with the new Titan FC will have a Zuffa-out clause in their contract, which will allow the fighter to leave the organization if the UFC ever came calling, either for the first time or again. Resurrection Fighting Alliance has a similar clause in their contracts.
"I'm not looking to compete with Zuffa," Aronson said.
"I'm really looking for this promotion to take the best guys that are out there, who may be scared to get into long-term deals, and give them a forum to get back in [to the UFC].
"There's enough talent out there, prospects, guys who are being cut and working back in, that I have no issue with building a crop of superstar prospects that are on the verge of getting back."
This will mark Ricci's first fight since getting released by the UFC in September. The 8-4 Canadian most recently lost a split decision to Myles Jury at UFC 165. He went 1-2 inside the Octagon after making it to the finals of "The Ultimate Fighter" season 16.
Gurgel (14-9), a former UFC and Strikeforce fighter himself, hasn't fought since January 2012 when he lost a unanimous decision to Adriano Martins at the final Strikeforce event.
Aronson, a 41-year-old South Florida resident, who also happens to be a Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu purple belt, launched Alchemist Management in July 2010, along with MC Hammer, Lex McMahon and Nima Safapour. The management team currently represents the likes of Rory MacDonald, Ricci, Brendan Schaub, Nate Marquardt, Gegard Mousasi, Stefan Struve, and many more. Aronson stepped down as chairman of Alchemist after purchasing Titan.
"For me, at this point in my professional career and my life, money is not a driving force," Aronson said when asked why he decided to buy a promotion. "There's a void in the marketplace of getting guys a fair shake to fulfill their lifelong dreams and not holding them back for the selfish intent of the promotion."
Titan FC as a promotion has been passed around over the past year or so. RFA merged with it in late 2012, however, Kelly bought back the organization in 2013 and ran two more shows on his own in June and August. The promotion launched in 2006.
To signal this new era, the organization will go through a rebranding of sorts. They plan to roll out a new Web site and logo in the coming days.