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Rumble Time: Victory - Q&A w/ Steve Smith

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

Professional mixed martial arts returns to the Ameristar Casino Friday as Rumble Time Promotions sets up shop for "Victory".

Rumble Time and the St. Charles casino has been the site of many a memorable night in the careers of some of the best fighters St. Louis has produced; Jake Collier, Alex White, and Josh Sampo immediately come to mind along with crackerjack up-and-coming pros Jake Roberts and Hugh Pulley.

As summer hits the halfway mark, Rumble Time is barreling down the stretch. Not only are they busy preparing for Friday's Pro/Am but the first weekend in August the promotion will help put a weekend double-header like no other. Rumble Time president Steve Smith and crew will help host RFA 28 on Aug 7, an event will not only feature local product Andrew Sanchez in the main event for the RFA middleweight title, but a handful of other STL-based fighters on the AXS-TV televised main card. Expect a full RFA card announcement any day now. The following night, Rumble Time welcomes famed boxer James Toney into town to fight in the main event on a card that showcases some of the regions top boxers.

We were able to grab Smith ahead of Friday's show to talk about Victory, RFA, and more.

Knuckle Junkies: On Friday you have KJ Jones vs, Adrien Vega in the main event and Bo Kunz vs. James Evans in the co-main. What are you looking forward to the most about the card and Saturday night at the Ameristar?

Steve Smith: I have been watching KJ fight for a while now. He is a world class athlete that happens to fight MMA. He's going to bring excitement to the cage. Bo is a fan favorite that always leaves everything he has in the cage and can stand and bang with the best. Styles make fights and these bouts are matched to bring out their best. The Ameristar feels like home to all of us at Rumble Time. It's a great place for fans and fights and we are looking forward to a great show.

KJ: You have two well-known fighters, Montuelle and Dan Busch making their pro debuts. What do you like about those two?

SS: Dan and Montuelle are fighters that bring their 'A' game whenever they step in the cage. Both have had busy amateur careers and we are honored to have their pro debuts on our show. Both have bright futures in MMA, keep an eye on these two.

KJ: You have a crazy weekend coming up very soon in August. First up, the RFA makes its St. Louis debut at the Chase Park Plaza on Friday, Aug. 7. The event looks like a sell-out. Can you talk a little bit about the process of landing the RFA?

SS: I spoke with RFA a while back and we never followed up with each other. Then my long-time friend (Cage Championships owner) Patrick Smith called and asked to talk with him about bringing RFA to St. Louis. The RFA is a first-class group and are great for the MMA business and most importantly great for the fighters. They are the fast lane to the next level and we are honored to be partnering with them for this amazing show. We are looking to partner on several other dates both in St. Louis and around the country, California and Connecticut being great places to do some more RFA shows together. We also are talking about bringing them back to St. Louis or St. Charles soon.

KJ: It's a big opportunity not only for the headliner, Andrew Sanchez, but the local fighters on the main and undercard.

SS: Absolutely. Sanchez has been there and people across the world know him from television. That is exactly what we want for our fighters. They train hard and sacrifice to get to the next level. There is no better feeling than knowing I can be a part of getting these local fighters the exposure they deserve. Again, all companies involved; RFA, Rumble Time and Cage Championships want to get these young hard working fighters an opportunity to live their fight dreams.

KJ: Then you have boxing legend James Toney coming to town the next night in the same venue. With the co-main event featuring Stephon Young plus Michael Williams vs Lamarr Harris, and a KJ favorite, Tex Trismegistus, somewhere in the mix. What a weekend. Are you going to find time to sleep? What motivated you to do this doubleheader?

SS: I'm going to try and rest but hey, it's gonna be a huge fight weekend for all of us. Pro MMA and pro boxing back-to-back at the Chase is a combat sports dream weekend. I'm planning a long nap on Sunday. We did the doubleheader because the Chase wanted to combine the nights. I called the boss (Tim Luekenhoff) and he loved the idea so here we are. James Toney and his team became friends with the entire Rumble Time staff and our sponsors at our Playboy Mansion shows in Beverly Hills. Then we all reunited in New York at Tex's ESPN FIGHT! After Tonys short UFC career he has the urge to get back in the ring. And yes, James is still a wealthy man, he's still neighbors with Brittney Spears, he just loves knocking people out and is ready to make another run to the championship. James will host the pre-fight VIP Party for the RFA show. Any fans that want to see him should come to the boxing weigh-in at Cafe Eau at the Chase on Friday August 7. He will then be at the invite only RFA VIP Pre Fight Party from 5-7pm at The Chase. We do plan on working with him and his comeback to a world title fight. He and Derrick Spicer are like brothers so everyone buckle up when they get together.

KJ: What do you like about the boxing card on the 8th?

SS: We are having a living legend and Hall of Fame fighter on the card plus Stephon "The Show Stopper" Young, the hottest boxer in St. Louis, fighting on the same card. Young is coming off an amazing fight at the Oracle Arena in Oakland where he was the co-main event for champion Andre Ward. Stephon showed the world that he's a world class fighter. Plus we have the biggest grudge match fight between Lamarr Harris and Michael Williams. Both of these two fighters truly can't stand each other. I hope the fight makes it to the ring. Weigh-ins should be very interesting. The undercard is stacked with the top up-and-coming talent in the boxing business.

KJ: You have kickstarted the use of the legendary Chase Park Plaza as a event site. What do you like about that venue?

SS: The Chase is legendary and the St. Louis tradition for fights (Wrestling at the Chase being held there) and it makes it the perfect place for fights. They have an amazing staff and families that I have a long term relationship with. Just a world class venue and staff.

KJ: I don't think we've talked since the Branson show. How did that go and when will you be going back?

SS: Branson was great. We enjoyed partnering with the venue and the city. We are taking a St. Charles-concept there next month and are going to blow that place up for the fighters, city, and Branson fans. Details are coming together, we should have an announcement soon.

KJ: What would you like to tell someone who has never been to a Rumble Time Promotions event before?

SS: Expect the best. We pride ourselves in putting well matched fights together and running a professional show. Our staff has worked together for years, they all play a part and are willing to step up to make us who we are. RT is a promotion company not a gym, that's what we do. We know we aren't the UFC but our goal is to get the fighters there. Again, fighters only have one career and we want to do all we can to make their fight dreams come true.

For tickets for Friday's Rumble Time: Victory at the Ameristar Casino call 314-662-2000 or on line at