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AMA Fight Club owner steps behind the curtains for New Jersey-based fight promotion

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Rabi

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Usually, you see Mike Constantino in the locker rooms holding a pair of Thai pads, following his fighters to the cage, or yelling at them at AMA Fight Club.

Next time you see him, he'll probably be all dressed up.

Constantino told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he's accepted a new advisor position with the New Jersey-based Urban Conflict Championships for an event April 22 featuring the return of UFC vet Rolles Gracie.

The event, dubbed "UCC 4: Supremacy," takes place at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, N.J., and streams live on the promotion's website. Headlining the card is a bout between "The Ultimate Fighter 11" cast member Andy Main (5-1) and Felipe Arantes (13-3). IFL veteran Jamal Patterson (5-3) is also featured.

Constantino will continue to train fighters such as UFC standouts and brothers Jim and Dan Miller, but he's now adding his expertise to the promotion side of the business.

That's allowed him to take what he's learned from the fighter's side of the game and apply it to the production side. He hopes that expertise will make both better.

"I've been a manager/trainer/fighter at every level, from your local rinky-dink show to the UFC," he said. "I see all angles of the game, and I feel like I'm in a unique position.

"There's trainers like Greg Jackson that are great trainers, there are guys like Malki Kawa, who's a great manager. Very few and far between are great trainers and managers. I eventually want to create my own category."

There is, of course, some crossover between those roles when it comes to shows on the regional scene. Gyms and trainers often hold events which feature fighters under their banner, and there are managers who employ fighters they represent in shows they promote.

Constantino is aware of the potential conflict of interest and said he is not a promoter of the April 22 event. Although AMA fighters are competing at the event, he will not corner them.

"Anybody that I spoke to knows I own AMA and that I'm a trainer, so they know the deal going into it," he said. "My guys are not getting any favorable matchups.

"Andy Main is the main event, and he's my guy, but he's fighting Felipe Arantes, who has seven victories in a row. So it's not like it's like, 'Hey, it's a lopsided fight and [the promoter] is training him to beat me.' Everybody knows who everybody is."

Gracie returns to the cage for the first time since an unsuccessful outing in the UFC. The grappling ace took on Joey Beltran at UFC 109 and was stopped with strikes in the second frame.

Main most recently picked up a submission win this past January in regional competition.

This time, Constantino won't be waiting for Main between rounds with a spit-bucket.

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Post #1   3/30/11 1:58:27PM