With MMA returning to the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino this coming Thursday, I felt it appropriate to retrace the history of MMA at this landmark casino in this, my inaugural article at mma-freak.com. So here we go in retracing the memorial fight history at this place that has held many memorial fights in the past:
The Beginning, the WEC era
Boxing events had already been at what was then the Palace Indian Gaming Center for a while before Scott Adams and Reed Harris formed World Extreme Cagefighting. The promotion had a close working relationship with the Indian Casino as it held 22 of its’ first 24 events there, including after its’ renaming into the Tachi Palace in 2005 and the addition of the hotel in 2006.
Also during that time most of those events were aired on what was then HDNet (now AXS TV). Able to thrive in California a full five years before the California State Athletic Commission started regulating MMA due to holding events on an Indian reservation, the WEC featured such rising stars at the time as Gan McGee,Glover Teixeira, Leonard Garcia, Seth Petruzelli, Tim Kennedy, Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, and Brandon Vera, and vets such as Dan Severn, Jeremy Horn and Frank Shamrock.
However, this successful working relationship came to an end when Zuffa, owners of the UFC announced that they’d bought the WEC in December 2006 and from that point on most of their events were held in its’ new hometown of Las Vegas, leaving the Tachi Palace without a regular fight promotion.
Palace Fighting Championships
Following the WEC’s departure, Christian Printup who was Director of Entertainment at the Tachi Palace during the working relationship with the WEC, decided to create a new promotion and called it Palace Fighting Championships. Their first event was held on January 18, 2007 a month after the Zuffa buyout and three months after the WEC’s last event at the Tachi Palace.
Like it’s predecessor, the PFC held most of it’s events at the Tachi Palace, putting on fights with regional talent and former UFC vets. Also like its’ predecessor, the working relationship didn’t last as Printup departed from the Tachi Palace in July 2009 and took the rights to the PFC with them. Printup was later involved in ventures such as Fight Night at the Playboy Mansion series and Premier Fighting Championships.
Tachi Palace Fights, the Ups and Downs
Having lost another valued tenant, the Tachi Palace wanted to keep MMA at the Tachi Palace and decided the best way to do that was to create a promotion of their own. Thus in the same month Printup departed, the fight Tachi Palace Fight event was held in collaboration with the Gladiator Challenge promotion.
Like PFC, TPC held events featuring mostly regional talent and UFC vets. While it held an average of four events a year on over the next three years with success, the tribal council of Santa Rose Rancheria Indian Reservation decided to cease MMA events at the Tachi Palace in December 2012, seemingly ending the decade long tradition of MMA at the casino.
However, in March of this year the decision was reversed allowing for TPC 16 to take place featuring a lightweight scrap between Poppies Martinez versus Christos Giagos and featuring fights such as former TPF Featherweight Champion Isaac DeJesusat lightweight and former Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Soto at bantamweight.
Needless to say it’s good to have MMA back at the Tachi Palace and a welcome sight to see the tradition continue. Like the history of article? Message me and let me know if you’d like to know the history of other MMA topics.