HOUSTON, TX, January 19, 2012 – Ever since he started TheCageDoor.net in October of 2009 (together with Richard Burmaster), former IT professional Barry Laminack has worked tirelessly to, in his own words, “get Houston MMA the coverage it deserves. With a goal of providing exposure to the city’s fighters and events, Laminack and his website have been an integral component to the city’s vibrant and thriving fight scene – from conducting pre-fight interviews and covering events to hosting UFC watch parties, facilitating charity events, and more, if it’s in Houston, chances are Barry and crew are there.
Moving on to 2012 and now partnered with a talented group including photographer Justin Trapp, local fighter/real estate professional Cody Phillips, and ESPN radio personality AJ Hoffman, they’ve got another initiative in mind this month in hosting the very first LIVE awards show specifically geared towards the Houston fight community with the 2011 Houston MMA Awards – scheduled for Big Woodrow’s next Thursday, January 26th.
We recently spoke to Barry to hear more about this event along with his own background covering MMA here in Texas.
Interview – Barry Laminack (TheCageDoor.net)
First of all, to our readers who haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet you in person, give us a short intro on who you are and how you’re involved with the sport of MMA here in Texas.
I’m an out of shape computer nerd who fell in love with MMA back in 2008 when I saw Yves Edwards KO Edson Berto with a jumping knee. I became a fan of the sport then, but it wasn’t until a friend of mine (Richard Burmaster) came to me with an idea to start a website dedicated to covering MMA in the Houston area (TheCageDoor.net) that I got more involved in the Houston (and Texas) MMA scene.
I guess you could say I’m the “new school generation” of the MMA scene here in Houston and Texas, but make no mistake I respect all those that have paved the way for our scene.
From your vantage point as a person who follows the scene closer than most, what are you opinions on the growth of the sport around Texas in recent years, specifically in the Houston community?
It’s been amazing to see how the Houston MMA scene has grown. Houston has always been active, but the level of recognition our city is getting on a state and national level is amazing.
To give you an idea of how much the scene has grown and how active it is now – When we first launched the site back in October of 2009 we had a goal of wanting to post at least 3 things a week on the website. Last week we posted 21 items. So we went from hoping for 3 posts a week to actually posting 3 times a day.
I think that speaks volumes for the growth of our scene.
Speaking of community, congratulations on your TXMMA service award! Can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy on philanthropy and “giving back” to the community? How does extend to what TheCageDoor.net does as a whole?
To be honest, I think I get more credit than I deserve for the charitable work that goes on in Houston MMA. I think that award really goes to the people of Houston MMA because they are the ones that step up every time we ask them too. I mean, I certainly didn’t donate the $2280 our Race for the Cure team raised and I certainly didn’t give all 44 units of blood we managed to suck out of people at our blood drive. I could go on and on, but the people in and around Houston MMA have been amazing! On top of that I have a great group of people I work with, especially Marcia Ogasawara (our Community Relations and Events Coordinator) who has been a godsend in helping us do so much community work! She’s the front-runner to win the award next year!
As far as why we do it?
I think it is important that we show people that there are a lot of great and decent people involved in our sport locally. MMA has always been given a bad rap, so we set out to prove that stereotype wrong.
I also feel like TCD has a social responsibility to the scene. We can’t expect the people to support our site (and our vision of a unified Houston MMA community) if the site doesn’t support them first.
After seeing our scene and the people involved step up when called upon time and time again, I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a part of something than I am being associated with MMA.
What are some of your favorite moments since you’ve started covering the Houston MMA Scene? Can you give us a couple of highlights?
Oh gosh. There are so many. I could probably go on for hours talking about all the charity events we’ve done but I’ll keep it MMA related and limit it to my top 3 so I don’t ramble. The watch party we had to raise money for John Malbrough’s mom’s medical bills was one of my all time favorites.
MMA wise, I’d have to say that my #1 moment is a very recent moment and that is Daniel Pineda making it to the UFC. He’s the first Houston born/raised fighter to make it since Mike Swick and will be the first who STAYS in Houston while he fights in the UFC.
Helping fighters make it to the UFC by exposing our scene to the masses has always been our mission, so when Daniel made it, it kind of felt like we all made it. In a way, it also validated what we have been doing for the last 2+ years.
I also think Brian Melancon, Mike Bronzoulis and Todd Moore getting signed to Strikeforce was huge. To have 3 guys get Zuffa contracts back to back to back, and all from the same city? WOW!
Finally having Legacy and HDNet partner up was huge for Houston MMA. Every 6 weeks or so (not including replays) people all over the world are watching Houston’s best fighters. That is big for EVERYONE involved in Houston (and Texas) MMA, not just the fighters on TV. I can’t say enough about what Mick has done with Legacy. I know Legacy has been vital to the growth and success of our site and for Houston MMA, so I was happy to see them land such a huge deal.
Honestly, whether it’s Adam Schindler making the Bellator tournament or Robo getting a super fight against Zack Makovsky on Bellator; any time one of our local guys breaks out on the national stage it’s special for me.
Now you’re coming back with the ‘TCD Houston MMA Awards’ in just a few weeks time. Can you give us some history on those awards and what you hope to bring this time around with the LIVE edition?
Last year was our first year doing the Houston MMA Awards. We did them online and people really seemed to enjoy them. This year we felt like that the scene has progressed to a whole new level and the awards show should do the same.
I told Cody and AJ that I felt like the Houston MMA Awards is EXTREMELY important to the continued growth of our scene.
I keep seeing all of these different local sports (and other) awards shows on the news all the time and I thought ‘why can’t we have that? Why can’t we have the news media come out and give the Houston MMA Awards the same love and coverage they do these other shows.’
To be honest, I think having the local media at our show would be huge for the growth of the scene. It would be great exposure for the gyms and the fighters. So that’s my goal. I want to build up the Houston MMA Awards over the next couple of years and make them so big that the local sports media will have to show our guys some love.
Who’s invited? What can people that come out for those expect from the experience?
EVERYBODY is invited.
Fighter, family, gym owners, fans. The show is open to the public.
In fact, I can’t really stress how important it is for everyone who is involved in Houston MMA to come out and support this show. If we want to get the attention of the mainstream news media (Radio, TV and Print) then we have to continue to support events such as this. No local mainstream media is going to want to come out and cover an awards show with 20 people in the crowd.
Our venue for the awards this year (Big Woodrow’s) will seat 200 people, and our hope is to fill every seat.
What’s the best way to buy tickets?
Just go to this link here.
When you’re done, simply print out your confirmation and bring it with you. That’s your ticket!
Tickets are only $20 and include w free drink tickets. We’ll also have a special $12 and under dinner menu with free soda/tea with dinner.
It’s going to be a great night and lots of fun so I hope everybody comes out and supports us!
Looking ahead, what can fans expect from yourself and TheCageDoor.net in the near future?
I want to keep upping our level of coverage of the local events. We just recently started streaming live audio play by play on the site. My hope is that we can continue to add stuff that give a “national” look and feel our coverage.
We are also looking into getting our Podcast on the radio and are in the planning stages of putting together a web based TV show.
Any parting words for fans in Houston and all around Texas until we see you again?
I just really and truly, from the bottom of my heart, want to thank everybody who supports the website, the fighters, the gyms, the fans the businesses and everyone else involved in Houston MMA.
I never in my wildest dreams thought TheCageDoor.net would grow to become what it has. I am so happy that we get to continue to spread the word about Houston (and Texas) MMA.
I have made so many friends since starting this website. I’m truly blessed, honored and humbled to be apart of what I think is the greatest MMA scenes (Houston and Texas) in the world.
I also really want to thank all of the sponsors who support the site. With out them we couldn’t do what we do. Like I have always said, SUPPORT THE BUSINESSES THAT SUPPORT HOUSTON (and TEXAS) MMA! Folks those banners and ads are there for a reason. So whether it’s here on TXMMA or on TheCageDoor.net, click on them, visit the sites and if you like their product or service BUY IT!
With out advertising NONE of us this is possible.
Any other last words?
First of all I have to thank my wife. A lot of people don’t really understand just how much time I put into the website. Since the site launched it has consumed my whole life. It’s all I do, day and night. My wife has never waivered in her support of me or my dream of seeing this website become successful. My wife is my rock and my best friend and TheCageDoor.net is what it is because of her patience, understanding and support.
I want to thank Richard Burmaster for coming up with the idea of TheCageDoor.net. When he first asked me to do the site with him I said no. I was getting ready to go into real estate and didn’t really have time to be screwing around with some stupid website. 3 months later he asked me again and said it was my last chance to get on board. I said “what are you going to call it”. When he said, “TheCageDoor” I knew it was going to be great and said yes with out hesitating.
I want to thank my current business partners AJ Hoffman, Cody Phillips and Justin Trapp. These guys are awesome really don’t get the credit they should for making this site happen. Everyone seems to give me the spotlight and the credit but these guys are busting there ass on a daily basis and have just as much to do with the success of the site.
I also want to thank Eric Hostetter, Lance Edwards, Mike Jackson, Marcia Ogasawara and Conor Hogan. These five do not get thanked enough for their contributions to the Houston MMA scene and to TheCageDoor.net. Each one of them has worked tirelessly to help us expand and grow the website; and as you know Mike, the pay ain’t that good!
Lastly Mike, I really want to than you and TXMMA for interviewing me. For the past 2 and half years I have been on the other side of the microphone. This is the first interview I’ve ever done and I’m honored and delighted to have it done by not only a peer in the industry but also a friend. You have been down with TCD from the start and I hope one day soon I get to interview you so people can see all the amazing and wonderful contributions you have made and continue to make to our scene here in Houston and all across Texas.
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