Few people have accomplished what Jesse Finney has in MMA. Now, after nearly 20 years in the game, the fighter-turned-coach-turned-promoter is getting ready to host Shamrock FC 318 on May 10 in St. Louis, LIVE on FloCombat.
Before that, he spoke with FightBook MMA.
What did you want to do for a living when you were growing up?
When I was a little kid until college, I was convinced I was going to be a professional baseball player. Then when I was playing in college, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Yes, it took that long (laughs). I was always an athlete playing baseball, football, basketball and soccer while always finding time to kickbox.
What’s your favorite childhood sports memory?
I really can’t pick one. Some of my best memories were going to fights with my family while my stepdad was cornering fighters. I was working corners when I was 9 years old. I was into every sport you could imagine.
What’s been the secret to your success in MMA?
I really feel I have an advantage since I have been in the fight business my whole life. My stepdad is Robert Biggs. He fought all over the world in the 1980s in kickboxing and he owned a gym, so I was always around it. I have pretty much done almost everything in the fight business. I was a professional fighter, fight promoter, trainer, manager, to cage set-up crew. I was head coach in World Combat League and ran operations for all live events. Not many guys have really done that. I have taken my crazy athlete mind and work ethic into business.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Listen to older promoters and ask more questions. I was convinced on Day 1 that, if you do something, do it right.
What are your three favorite fights in Shamrock FC history?
It’s hard to pick just three because I could go on all day (laughs)! Bobby Voelker-Zak Buchia, Adam Cella-Luke Gwaltney and Bobby Voelker-Cameron VanCamp are three that come to mind fastest.
Which fighter, past or present, do you think best represents the values of your organization?
That’s tough too because there are several, but I’m going with Bobby Voelker!
Which fight are you most looking forward to next weekend at Shamrock FC 318?
The main event, Ty Flores versus Erick Murray.
What are your goals in MMA?
I would like to do 1,000 shows and be known as the number 3 organization in America, behind UFC and Bellator.
What are your goals outside of the sport?
Be the best husband and father I can be and make my family proud.
How would you like to be remembered when it’s all said and done?
As a promoter who always shot you straight, whether you liked it or not, and I’d like fighters to be proud to compete for Shamrock FC. Putting on great entertainment and giving the fans an amazing experience.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank while you have this opportunity?
Definitely my wife for dealing with me these 18.5 years while in this crazy sport. Rob Donaker, who’s been with me from Day 1 and has always been there. Scott Coker for being a true mentor and good friend of mine from the day we met.