Tony Dipiero: RFO promoter Matt Trukovich offered to pay show money

Matt Trukovich interviews Kyle Cremeans after a win

Matt Trukovich interviews Kyle Cremeans after a win

In what appears to be a growing epidimic, pro fighter Kyle Dunmeyer (0-2) decided to not show up to weigh-ins for his scheduled bout against Tony Dipiero (0-0, 9-7 am) at this past weekend’s RFO: Big Guns 16 – The Summit event in Tallmadge, Ohio.

As we noted in our event results post, RFO matchmaker Scott Corbin made us aware that Dunmeyer had let him know that he was done fighting and wasn’t planning on taking the fight.

On the surface this seems like a cut and dry situation, and although not ideal, it does happen sometimes.

The promoter and the opponent and the fans are all left out in the cold due to the actions of one person, but there’s not really a lot that can be done about it, at least in the moment.

RFO promoter Matt Trukovich decided that there was at least a little something that he could do about it, and he offered to pay Dipiero – who competed for RFO four times during his amateur career – the ‘show’ money that he would have received if he showed for the fight and made weight.

Despite not having any obligation to Dipiero since the fight didn’t go down, Trukovich still decided that since the fighter showed up prepared and on weight that he would make things right.

So in returning the favor, Dipiero decided to go out of his way to let us know about the unselfish action from Trukovich:

I am contacting you because even though my opponent pulled out at the last minute, Matt Trukovich still offered to pay me my show money.

This is unprecedented. I’m not sure I’ve heard of any other promoter who would be willing to do this – and it needs to be noted. People need to know that this is the type of person Matt Trukovich is, and this is the way he chooses to run his promotion. Matt choses to put the needs of the fighters before his own – and the fight community needs to know that.

To paraphrase Matt from our conversations:

We need to operate as a unified MMA community if we are going to make this thing work. We can get this sport back to the way it used to be if we hold the community’s needs above the greed of the individual.

This is an important topic to cover when it comes to the news coverage of RFO: Big Guns 16. This goes deeper than just the fights, and speaks of the character of Matt Trukovich.

Having known Trukovich for years and attending many of his shows, I was not surprised in the least to receive this email from Dipiero. Matt is one of the few combating the bad name that fight promoters have developed for themselves, and rather than look for ways to cut corners, he instead takes every opportunity he can to go the extra mile. This information wasn’t made public except by Dipiero himself, and it shows the respect that a veteran promoter and former fighter like Trukovich has among the fight community.

I’ve been a RFO fan for the longest time, taking every chance I can get to make it out to their shows. Trukovich takes promoting fights very seriously, and he and Corbin and his entire team went out on a limb in bringing their first show to Summit County, moving out of their comfort zone in Mansfield, Ohio to help broaden the reach of their awesome little promotion.

There are many examples of why Trukovich should receive praise, but there were two awesome ones at Big Guns 16 that I want to point out that he did in addition to offering to pay Dipiero his show money.

During one of the night’s early amateur fights, Paul Freeland was knocked out cold from a slam at the hands of Tyler Feller. Referee Victor Ventresca was out of position and didn’t see the knockout, allowing the young fighter to take multiple unnecessary blows from Feller before stopping the fight. Trukovich took umbrage with the late stoppage, and he was the first person in the cage to check on Freeland, even beating the paramedics and doctor to the scene.

Later in the show, Trukovich took the mic from emcee Jake Digman and mentioned that there had been a few scuffles in the crowd. He also joked that fans didn’t pay to see other drunk fans fight, and that they would be escorted out of the building if they didn’t keep the action inside the cage. He went on to say something like, “We all complain about how horrible other people are, but if we all just acted the way that we want others to act, then we wouldn’t have to worry about people being idiots.”

Truer words never spoken.

It should be noted that while the action of paying fighters their show money when an opponent backs out of a fight is not unprecented, it is definitely the exception rather than the rule. Gladiators of the Cage paid Matt DiCenso his show money when his original opponent for GOTC 18 Darryl Madison didn’t complete his medicals for their scheduled bout this past weekend.

Check out a full recap of RFO: Big Guns 16 – The Summit here.

Photo courtesy Mike Wrobel/Shoot It MMA

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