The Rise of Sparta
By: Donald Pierce
Edited by : Steven PIno
Every great civilization has had a great leader to help them rise to greatness. The Sparta Combat League (SCL) has just that in Jeff Cisneros. SCL has dedicated itself to giving back to people in need and the great men and women who serve our country on a day to day basis all while treating the brave fighters who stepped in his cage like family and always looking out for his warriors. Jeff began SCL as Beatdown Promotions as a way to give back to people and also to get his very well known supplement company Spartan Labs more exposure. He set up what is one of the most anticipated cards of the year in Army vs Marines. He started doing charity drives at the shows, giving back to the men and woman of the armed forces, raising amazingly large amounts at every show but it didn’t stop there. Jeff wanted to help more people and make bigger and better shows so he put on Beatdown Cancer for cancer awareness and battle of the badges to help fallen Fire Fighters and Police Officer’s families. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. While writing ideas and thinking of the product name to stick in a minds of MMA fans, he came up with Sparta Combat League…Welcome to the pit….
As every great promoter, Jeff started with instantly surrounding himself with people that are as driven as himself. You will always see Jeff’s hard working wife, Becca Cisneros, the glue of SCL, taking on job responsibilities such as designing promo posters, website up keep, working the books, and even getting down and dirty setting up and taking down the cage at events. Also, he has the biggest supporter (ADD “HE” has his biggest supporter, in his sister Lorrie Cisneros. “My sister is my role model an inspiration. She is the strongest person I have ever known and my biggest supporter. She is at every show helping with the charity and drives and is always showing support to the fighters. Knowing he had to step up every aspect of a show, Jeff brought on Jesse Rarick from the start to work on video, graphics, and sound. Then he brought on Monte Walker,the ultimate team player. Always eager to be the best these two have set the bar for all local promotions in production With the two of them on the team, they have set the bar of video and graphic presentation in Colorado.
What was missing? Wanting to be the best. Jeff would need a full team to push it as fast and as successful as he wanted it to be. He brought in Luke Sobieck whose works include from fight announcer, to ring announcer, to helping sign contracts. There’s not many people that know MMA like Luke. You will see him walking around the back taking care of all the behind the scene tasks and always making sure the fighters are taken care of. Luke states “Before I would small talk with fighters trying not to fuck up announcing their name. Now I try not to fuck up their contract (laughs).” Jeff was looking for one more special piece, so he went to MAGA gym, FACTORY X and talked to head coach Marc Montoya and a group of his fighters on his goal and the outlook for SCL. After a sit down with them 2 days later, Jeff got a text from a number he didn’t recognize so for the first time Jeff called it back. It was UFC middleweight Chris Camozzi telling Jeff that he liked and wanted to be part of what would become the largest promotion in Colorado. “I was blown away at how humble (Camozzi) was and listened to his ideas. He is very smart and had some amazing ideas so I then offered him the role of Director of Talent and Scouting. He accepted and we started growing SCL. Nationally Chris has been the one to bring in guys like Efrain Escuduero (SCL PRO Lightweight Champion) and Charlie Brown,” With Adam Davis and Nicole Davis running Cage Crew and Dani Gleason helping with every single event as a volunteer with a heart of gold, SCL was ready to rise to the top.
In a short period of time SCL took over in every aspect of the game with top of the line fighters and events. But there was something wrong. Jeff, being in the safety of his own house, was fighting a battle -not a legal or a business battle- it was with his own health. With his wife Becca by his side, it was discovered that Jeff was suffering from seizures that would put most people’s dreams in jeopardy. But not Jeff. He was even more driven not to give up because of his ailment. After reoccurring seizures, Jeff was put in the hospital committed to a wheelchair. Jeff recalls his wife “comes and whispers in my ear, guess what? I’m pregnant. I was so excited I was going to be a daddy! It was a day I’ll never forget. I was at my lowest point then had the best moment of my life all in one day. After a week in hospital I was released to follow up on medications, etc. The problem with seizures is that finding the cause is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The next 2 years would prove to test my will.” He went from “having days with 19 seizures and spans of 9 weeks having none, then from having seizures that would stop my breathing and needing chest compressions to get me going again. I can no longer drive anymore at this point. My reason in sharing this with you is to show no matter what disability or health (issues), you can still chase your dreams and make things happen. I have amazing support with my family” and he hasn’t looked back. SCL’s biggest event to date was Jeff’s all time favorite event. Fight for the Troops and Army vs Marines IV. A record setting event, two cards in one night, breaking the SCL attendance record with 4,000 people in attendance. He was determined to top that, hosting the first MMA event At Greeley Stampede where he had a super fight between up-and-coming young star Marcus “Bad Intentions” Edwards take on Ultimate Fighter winner Efrain Escuduero in which some might say was the greatest fight in SCL history.
There are challenges to every card, but Jeff would never expect a flood of biblical proportions. “Havoc At Hell’sPont” has hailed as the biggest card in northern Colorado history, causing a publicity whirlwind. 6months of rain dropped in 20 hours the event was put in jeopardy weigh inns went on and the event was a go. Till the next day the rain didn’t stop Jeff had to make the hardest decision of his life he decided to postpone his super card. Jeff told me “I made a decision based on that we had sold the most tickets we had ever sold and it was set to be the biggest show in SCL history. But I simply said to myself that no amount of money is worth the safety of my fighters, coaches, fans, and staff media, etc. so I canceled. The rift that would follow, I had no way of knowing after confirming all fighters were good to go. (I don’t understand this neither) –>for new date the next week would prove to be one of the most stressful id ever have to this point in my business life as one fighter after another started to pull I lost my whole main card in 4 days and was in major trouble after about 4 hrs of a meltdown I said to myself this will help nothing and only get worse. I have several fighters depending on getting paid, as well as staff, so I picked up my phone and started making calls and, with the help of several people who had my back, we had the card back to 11 fights and somehow pulled it off.” SCL put on up to thirteen fights a year, always putting together the best fights in town. I talked to a couple of people about SCL and all I here is it is the best show to fight for. “Jeff and his crew treat us all fair and like family, and give us a great platform to display our talents.” I can say this from experience, I have fought for SCL 4 times, and every time I step into the cage I am in awe. I get to live my dream. At weigh-ins Jeff comes up, talks to fighters, friends and family, always making everybody feel like they’re family. I know SCL, and Jeff Cisneros has changed my life and others alike. There is nothing stopping the rise of Sparta.
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