GEORGETOWN -- When Brad Dalton graduated from Sussex Central High School in 2005, he had no clue he'd soon own his own business.
The opportunity to get involved with the business side of MMA presented itself when the organizer of Primal Fights moved away from the area. The loss left a void for competitive MMA fighting in Delmarva.
A marketing major at Salisbury University, Dalton threw his hat in the ring by starting Stellar Fights. He held his first event in front of a sold-out crowd of about 500 people at the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Company in November.
The event was a little more daunting than he expected, he said.
"It was rough," he said. "A lot of stuff goes into it. The last week (before the fights) I was scrambling."
Not only did he have to deal with fighters dropping out, but he also had to make sure each competitor completed required blood work and a physical. He also had to have event and liability insurance and rent a cage.
But when the night came to a close, there was a sense of relief and jubilation.
"There's no better feeling than knowing you put that whole show together," he said.
With one event under his belt, Dalton has turned his attention to an upcoming event at the Delaware State Fairgrounds. Stellar Fights 2 Fight or Freeze, scheduled to be held a 7 p.m. Jan. 29, expects to draw about 1,200 people to Harrington. Dalton has organized 18 fights, including four title fights.
Howard Steele, owner of Sibling Rivalry Promotions, the only other MMA promotions company in Delaware, is pleased to see Dalton's success. He believes the new venture will only help grow the sport in Delaware.
"The reason I felt so inclined to help him is because he really seemed like he wanted to do the right thing," Steele said. "He wanted to promote a good show with integrity that people would enjoy and would want to come back and see again."
A year from now, Dalton said he'd like to begin hosting professional fights at larger venues such as the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury, Md., or the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.
Seaford trainer Steven Baker is pleased to see Dalton offering a venue for local amateur fighters.
"It's the perfect opportunity," he said. "We've got fighters sitting around with nothing to do. He's creating a fan base around here."
firstname.lastname@example.org 302-537-1881, ext. 206