California Governor Gavin Newsom’s March 12 announcement declaring that the state’s public health officials recommended gatherings with more than 250 people be rescheduled or cancelled until at least March 30 forced Lights Out Xtreme Fighting (LXF) to shelve its March 13 event.
The company's last-minute decision to postpone the fight card was a costly one for the upstart MMA promotion. In addition to the upwards of $200K in anticipated profits lost, LXF incurred the costs of travel for all of the fighters and the show’s production staff.
The March 13 event was scheduled to be just the 5th in company history, so a +/- $200K hit to LXF's bottom line is significant. Unfortunately, with live sporting events - at least those with fans in attendance - likely to be on hiatus for several more months, it’s not as if the company can make back the lost profits quickly either. An LXF spokesperson said they expect the next 3 scheduled cards will be cancelled. Should that happen, the promotion’s total coronavirus-related losses are expected to fall somewhere between $500K and $600K.
The outbreak has also slowed the company's longer-term plans. Co-founder Shawne Merriman told JohnWallStreet that the California based LXF had been planning to roll out its product “to the rest of the country at the end of 2020”, but with the economy headed towards a recession and a business model predicated “on having partnerships with casinos and big venues” - an industry that’s been hit particularly hard by the shelter in place orders - that timeline has been pushed back.
With demand for live sports programming currently at a premium and minimal personnel needed to stage an MMA fight, LXF believes there is an opportunity to hold fights in a studio environment, broadcast them on television or through a streaming service and off-set some of the lost revenues. The former Chargers and Bills star said his company is working to put on a card behind closed doors "right now” and that he hopes to have some news to announce sooner than later.
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