Anyone familiar with the sport of mixed martial arts in Louisiana has probably at least heard the name Joey Ancona. From owning his own gym Ancona’s Martial Arts Gym, to traveling the world and fighting some of the toughest kickboxers of the 80’s & 90’s, to being the owner of his own successful MMA venue, Ancona has laid some of the critical ground work for local mixed martial arts. As early as 1981 Joey was involved with passing legislation to get local kickboxing sanctioned and licensed. By 1995 he was also helping Mixed Martial Arts make its way to Louisiana. Joey's Battle of New Orleans MMA venue returned from a 7-year retirement in August to a booming local mixed martial arts market. Being that the last two shows BNO #24 & BNO #25 were so successful, I met with him recently to get his opinion on some of the changes that have happened since the organization had left the scene as well as what the future holds for BNO.
What do you think has changed in the 7 years BNO has been away?

The sport has grown exponentially both in competitors and fight fans, allowing us to pick competitors from a larger pool of high level gyms in the gulf coast area, as well as better serve a larger number of fans while doing so. How did battle of New Orleans #25 go to you? BNO #25 was a great success. We ended up almost doubling our expected attendance numbers. I think the crowd really enjoyed the event and the fighters brought it. We had so much happen last minute, like the cage coming in the day of the event, that made fight night a little hectic, but we expect all bumps to be smoothed out by BNO #26 on Nov. 3rd and there will be 2 lines, one  for advance sales and one for door sales this time!

What do you think of the state of local MMA?
Its a booming industry right now. Louisiana is producing some of the top athletes in the world and we are excited to provide them with a packed venue to show off their skills. We have some extremely high level guys opening gyms and spreading their knowledge to those coming up in the sport. Gyms like Gracie United, Gladiators Academy, Nola BJJ, Mid City Martial Arts, Gold Dragon, Allen Belchers MMA, Eric Graham MMA, Mushin, and so many more. My apologizes if I’m forgetting anyone.

What sets BNO apart from other MMA promotions?
Not only do we put on some of the best fights in southern Louisiana, but we set the mood for an exciting night and a party environment for all of those involved. New Orleans is a weekend destination. Our fighters bring their family and friends to watch them compete on Friday night, and end up spending the whole weekend enjoying great food and the cultural amenities the city of New Orleans is so famous for. Its a whole fight experience. We hand pick our competitors and deal only with outstanding characters both in the gym and in their community. Without the support of the sponsors, loyal fans, passionate staff, and outstanding fighters, this event would not be possible.

What do you think about the 185 champion TJ Landry’s pro debut?
I was very impressed. Kyron (Bowen) is the real deal. He’s a legitimate challenger for anyone at 185 lbs and he came to fight that night, But TJ was able to get the job done, sink in the choke, and finished him in the second round. Warren Donley did a great job with matchmaking on this one.