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July 1, 2015


[NEF Press RElease]

New England Fights (NEF), America's number-one regional fight promotion, held its eighteenth mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event, "NEF XVIII: MADE IN AMERICA," a little over two weeks ago at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  The event was the third held by the fight promotion at the venue in just a four-month stretch, and it capped the most successful half-year period in the promotion's history.

NEF is the brainchild of Massachusetts attorney Nick DiSalvo and Maine State Representative Matt Peterson (D-Rumford).  The pair met in the fall of 2011 and formed a business partnership with the intent of promoting MMA events.  Both being avid, lifelong fans of combat sports, DiSalvo and Peterson decided to setup shop in Lewiston, Maine, the famed home of the Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston world heavyweight championship rematch of 1965.  NEF's first event in Lewiston, held in February 2012, outdrew Ali-Liston II by more than 800 fans with over 3200 in attendance.

Since that time, and in a marketplace where competitors have floundered, NEF has continued to draw huge crowds to its events.  The promotion has hosted fights of many UFC veterans, including former two-time world heavyweight champion Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia (31-10).  In 2013, NEF co-promoted an event in Lewiston with national promotion Bellator.  That event was broadcast live on Spike TV.  Additionally, NEF's videos on Youtube have millions of views worldwide, and the promotion's event highlights can often be seen on AXS TV's Inside MMA program.

In the first half of 2015, more than 6,000 people have been drawn to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee for three NEF events.  It is the largest attendance number the promotion has accumulated in such a brief period of time - a mere 18 weeks from "NEF XVI" on February 7 to "NEF XVIII" on June 13.  It is also another example of NEF thriving in a time when other regional fight promotions struggle.

"It's really just the result of a lot of hard work and business experience," said DiSalvo, a 1999 graduate summa cum laude of Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, where he was a Presidential Scholar, and later a graduate of Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA.  "NEF succeeds because Matt and I have a real passion for fight promotion, and we're willing to do the not-so-glamorous grunt work that others shy away from.  You need to understand your audience.  You need to know your way around a spreadsheet, a check register, and have a good grasp on finance and budgeting.  It's a business like any other."

Due to the growth of the business, DiSalvo and Peterson decided to add a third executive to the mix earlier this year.  They hired longtime Bellator Vice President of Talent Relations Sam Caplan to serve as NEF's Director of National Business Development.

"At a time of great contraction and consolidation when it comes to the regional MMA space, NEF has gone in the exact opposite direction and actually increased their overall business," stated Caplan when reached for comment.  "To say the level of growth that NEF has been experiencing lately is rare would be an understatement. The promotion's growth is a testament to the professionalism and business discipline of its chief proprietors, Nick DiSalvo and Matt Peterson."

New England Fights' next event, "NEF XIX," takes place on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  Tickets for "NEF XIX" start at just $25 and are on sale now at or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 525.  For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”