Production gives new stature to fights

Reno's Oscar Vasquez, left, lands a body blow to Sergio Lopez of Las Vegas during Friday's Fallon Fights at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

Reno's Oscar Vasquez, left, lands a body blow to Sergio Lopez of Las Vegas during Friday's Fallon Fights at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

As with any live production, the logistics become overwhelming.

It was no different for the seventh annual Fallon Fights on Friday at the Churchill County Fairgrounds, although the end result left no doubt about the legitimacy of the event, said Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority Executive Director Rick Gray.

The early hiccups stemmed from a small rainstorm and a lack of communication from ESPN to Gray and other officials. Nevertheless, the show went on and became the most successful in the history of the event, he said.

“Because it was an ESPN fight and national broadcast, they put on more important fights than we’ve ever had,” Gray said. “As to the layout of the production, I think the city of Fallon Public Works Department gets an A+ for their effort.”

This year’s show was unlike any other before it, both pleasing fans and the media giant. The city of Fallon’s effort, spearheaded by Public Works Director Ryan Swirzcek, created a large tent-like structure to protect the ring from rain.

The city hired a Sacramento-based company to provide the lighting necessary for TV and another company to handle the power needs. The power consisted of two generators (one a backup) to cover ESPN’s broadcast.

“When ESPN did get there, they were surprised and happy that they didn’t have to do the amount of work that they usually do,” Gray added. “I think our experience in hosting these fights … the city knows what is required.”

Gray said he received numerous compliments on the logistics and setup from fans and ESPN employees. The new-look arena was abuzz with four cameras to capture the three televised fights.

With the addition of a national broadcast, Gray said he added four rows of ringside seats due to demand. In addition, he estimated about 1,500 fans attended, adding the card was the best in the show’s history.

“The floor was sold out and there was a lot of interest with the ringside,” Gray said. “Leading up to the fights, there was real high interest in the ringside seats. I thought the grandstand attendance was OK. It was probably better than year’s past.”

Although no plans have been cemented for next year, a national broadcast is still in the cards, especially with Dynasty Boxing — consisting of Terry and Tommy Lane and Dino Duva — in the city’s corner.

Gray said ESPN representatives thought the outdoors angle was unique due to weather and how it may take a toll on the fighters. In addition, the amenities for the fighters was above average and not affecting their mindset or pre-bout preparation, Gray added.

“I thought the show went really well with the exception of the first fight,” Tommy Lane said. “Terry and I were disappointed. The other two TV fights I thought were tremendous, and the other fights were great. I thought the Vasquez fight was awesome.”

The city also created a commercial produced by Patrick Media, which ran during the broadcast. The ad featured the area’s agricultural roots, Naval Air Station Fallon, education, the city of Fallon water fountain and Banner Churchill County Hospital.

The ad closed with the tagline, “Fallon, a great place to visit. A great place to be.”

A light moment in the broadcast came when ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas did a segment at Naval Air Station Fallon with F-5 pilot Lt. Beau Fincher and security forces Petty Officer Nicholas Sharpe. After displaying his thoughts on the Willie Nelson-Luis Grajeda main event, Atlas’ partner, Todd Grisham, asked if he kept the flight suit.

“I tried to take it home with me and the MPs reminded me it was theirs,” Atlas joked on air.


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