(Houston, TX) – Only days after learning that SHINE Fights COO Jason Chambers and matchmaker Santino DeFranco have resigned from the organization, TheCageDoor.net has learned that Houston area fighter and gym owner Chad “Robo” Robichaux has replaced DeFranco as the matchmaker for the embattled yet resilient organization.
Robichaux had inked a deal as a fighter with SHINE back in Q4 of 2009. Despite the Shine contract, Robo was allowed to fight on the Strikeforce: Houston prelim card in August, defeating Humberto DeLeon via split decision. Now back with the organization as matchmaker, Robo is looking forward to the future in 2011.
In a conversation with TheCageDoor.net, Robo talked about getting the opportunity with Shine.
” Devin [Price] and I hit it off early on with many of the same ideas in business. For one Devin and I are both MBAs. I earned mine at NYT and him being a New Yorker we had a lot in common. I was able to contribute with ideas and guidance over the past two years, so when the position came open and the relationship already being built it was a perfect match. We have the same vision of where Shine can and will go and have come to a really strong common ground to bring it to reality.”
We asked Robo if this would have an effect on his career as a fighter. He said his goal still remains to make it to the UFC. “My personal goal is to compete as a bantamweight in the UFC. Before agreeing to the position I spoke to my manager who confirmed directly with the UFC it would be no conflict of interest. I have no doubt in my mind you will see me there in the near future!”
When we asked what fans can expect from him as a match maker, Robo replied, “You know, I bring a lot of experience to the table as a match maker. I have studied so many arts, I’ve been a fighter, coach, promoter, business owner, match maker, etc. I have the experience and eye for putting together fights that fans want to see. I can assure you that the fans will see well matched and exciting fights.”
Robo added that Shine won’t turn into a “UFC retirement home”, saying that both he and Price are on the same page regarding the direction of SHINE. That direction being Grand Prix style fights that provide a high level of entertainment for the fans. Couple that with a winner purse of $50k and a runner up purse of $25k and Robo is confident that they will be able to attract some of the sports top talent.
“Devin is clear that Shine is looking for undiscovered talent from around the globe. Not the who was, but the who will be. Somebody had to find George St. Pierre, and it wasn’t by latching on to has-beens. You will see some old names who are still formidable athletes trying to work their way back to the top, but we all want to see that Rocky story.”
With Robo having such deep roots in Houston, it could provide an opportunity at national exposure to many of the top fighters in the area. “I think there is a ton of talent in the Houston and Southern U.S. region. I won’t be using guys from here just because I’m from here, but fortunately I have seen a lot of these guys and know they deserve their shot! I’m already looking at a few guys from Houston and Louisiana.
Additionally, I plan on building the Shine referee staff out of Houston. There is a special art in refereeing the ring and Shine rules. I already have my ideas on who I’d like the staff to be.”
Robo didn’t provide any names, but putting two and two together, it would not be surprising to see Randy Hauer and Joe Solis top the list of possible Houston based refs to work for Shine.
Robo went on to add, “Also, I have promised Mick Maynard at Legacy a slot for the next Grand Prix and would really like to use Legacy FC as a Shine feeder show. Legacy has provided a platform for Houston athletes to gain a great amount of experience, and the guys there deserve a next level to move onto.”
As for what’s on tap in the near future for the organization, specifically the next show, Robo told TheCageDoor.net, “As of right now we have been approved by the Louisiana Athletic Commission to hold an event in April, which will be live on Pay Per View (PPV). The venue is not ready to be announced. I have a long term and very solid relationship with Mr. Alvin Topham of the La. Commission and the state is very excited about bringing a national level PPV event there.”