Cesar Balmaceda’s upcoming title fight for Cage Fury Fighting Championships will be watched by a worldwide audience.
The Vineland-based mixed martial arts organization signed a multi-year agreement with UFC Fight Pass on Wednesday to show its fights on the digital subscription service. Its first card will be CFFC 71 on Dec. 14 at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
Financial terms were not released.
Fight Pass, which streams live fights and replays, is believed to have approximately 900,000 subscribers.
“This deal is a game- changer for us,” CFFC owner Rob Haydak said Wednesday. “We won’t have to focus as much on (on-site) ticket sales and allows us the opportunity to go after the best prospects in the country and help them get to the next level.”
The main event of CFFC 71 pits Balmaceda (5-0), a 2013 Atlantic City High School graduate, against Damian Norris (9-2), of Schaumburg, Illinois, for the interim CFFC lightweight championship.
Balmaceda, 23, will be trying to becoming the third local fighter to win a regional championship, joining Mays Landing’s Jeff Lentz and Millville’s Tim Williams. Lentz is a former CFFC and Ring of Combat featherweight champion. Williams won the CFFC middleweight title before signing with the UFC earlier this year. The UFC released him last month.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for over a year,” Balmaceda said in a September interview. “I’ve been training hard and I’m ready to go get that title.”
Change in plans
Balmaceda, 23, was originally supposed to fight reigning CFFC lightweight champion Joe Lowry (8-1), of Clementon. According to Haydak, Lowry was involved in a serious car accident last weekend and was forced to withdraw from the bout.
Norris has won five straight, including a three-round decision on a Bellator card in March.
“We had a few opponents in mind and Cesar wanted the toughest fight,” Haydak said. “That’s a testament to his character and work ethic. He’s never turned down a fight. He always wants to fight the best out there.”
Haydak also announced former professional wrestler and MMA fighter CM Punk will be part of the announcing team along with local sports talk radio host Mike Gill and veteran CFFC commentator Brial Palakow.
CM Punk will be the color analyst. Gill, who hosts the “Sports Bash” Mondays through Fridays on 97.3 ESPN, will be the play-by-play announcer. Palakow will also provide analysis.
“I can’t wait for this opportunity,” CM Punk said in a statement Thursday. “CFFC has a long history of putting on exciting fights featuring some of the sport’s up-and-coming athletes. This card is going to be a lot of fun and I’m really excited to have the chance to be a part of it.”
Note: Tickets for the card at Borgata’s Event Center range from $59.25 to $179.25 and are available at www.cffc.tv.