Brandon Thatch (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)Resurrection Fighting Alliance: Can ‘Feeder League’ Status Lead to Stronger Roster? Dale De Souza March 14, 2014 Spotlight In the world of sports, success means different things to different people. Some view success as the toppling of all challengers in their path. Others, however, see things differently. They find that success can come at all levels, including those at which their role is to help others achieve their goals and dreams. Enter the Resurrection Fighting Alliance. The RFA, much like other noteworthy regional shows, provides a platform for young talent to make their name in the sport of MMA. What separates the RFA from fellow regional promotions, though, is that it operates as a self-described “feeder league” for the UFC. The RFA not only builds young prospects into high-caliber competitors, but it also maintains a solid relationship with the UFC. That relationship has provided a clear avenue to the UFC for such talented up-and-comers as Brandon Thatch, Pedro Munhoz, Sergio Pettis, Mike Rhodes and Zach Makovsky. This approach, taken by RFA head Ed Soares, has meant a quick turnover in the talent housed by the promotion, but it also begs the question of whether the RFA can use its status to build an even stronger roster than before. Yes, the promotion can. Future generations of the sport will evolve, bringing more complex ground games and intricate striking strategies to the cage. Very few organizations could showcase that sort of evolution quite like the RFA. The promotion’s matchmaker, Scott Cutbirth, has demonstrated a knack for unearthing genuine talent at the regional level, and the promotion’s broadcasting platform and “feeder league” status make it an attractive destination for talent seeking the UFC’s attention. With the RFA’s exposure on AXS TV, which airs the promotion’s live cards, fans are afforded the opportunity to witness the skills and potential of fighters who otherwise wouldn’t have an outlet for national exposure. More people get to witness what the RFA does for athletes who want to fight for the UFC one day, and as a result, more athletes in the MMA world will begin to see that they can springboard their way to the big show without making the cast for a season of The Ultimate Fighter or bouncing from promotion to promotion on the regional circuit for years. This will cause a lot more of the world’s top prospects to flock to the promotion. As it stands right now, it’s a surprise that they have yet to do so. After all, the RFA provides an accommodating home for those wanting to eventually showcase their skills on both a national level and an international one. The promotion doesn’t try to block its fighters from signing contracts with the UFC, and this approach is appealing to professional mixed martial artists who would rather not be confined to a multi-fight contract that prevents them from realizing their ultimate dream. The platform also works in favor of amateurs looking to either cut their teeth in the sport or make one last mark on the amateur circuit before turning pro. Knowing all of this, it raises the question of what has kept many top prospects from testing their mettle in the RFA. In all honesty, a clear answer to that question does not exist, as a number of varying factors could be at work. Yet, there’s a good chance that could change as more guys like Munhoz, Thatch, Makovsky, Pettis and Rhodes make their way through the RFA and into the UFC.