First off I'd like to thank Sean Ross Sapp for the unbelievable job he's doing with the site so far. I recruited him based on the work I'd seen him do elsewhere, plus a couple of guys that are well known in the wrestling world vouched for him and recommended him. He's been a great asset and I look forward to bigger and better things as we push forward.
I also want to thank my in-house team who put in a late night on Friday fixing a few glitches that we considered too important to wait until Monday. They got them done and I appreciate it. Thanks to Mike, Lindsay, Ken, Juan and Zoro.
Back in 1997 when Sean would have been just a young pup, I launched a wrestling news and information site called JimmyVan.com based on my old nickname, Jimmy Van. Initially I launched it just for fun, but I ended up getting a decent readership in the neighborhood of 40,000-60,000 daily uniques, and that enabled me to make it a full-time job and live off the advertising revenue until the dot-com crash of 2001 changed everything. Eventually I had to let the site go and closed up shop in 2006, but I always knew in the back of my mind that I'd someday re-launch when the time was right. Ten years later I'm co-owner of a marketing and development company and was fortunate enough to have the means, plus the continued passion, to make Fightful.com happen.
Contrary to the bullshit that Vince and Stephanie McMahon might try to feed you, there is most definitely a big crossover audience between pro wrestling and mixed martial arts. I felt that there was a real shortage of websites that properly covered both, with most being long-time wrestling sites that added MMA content because their wrestling viewership declined as MMA's popularity increased. So I wanted to build a proper crossover site, and added boxing to the mix because I'm a long-time boxing fan dating back to the days of 'Iron" Mike Tyson. I was then very fortunate to not only recruit Sean, but also Vince Russo (who I call our Wrestling Insider) and "Showdown" Joe Ferraro (our MMA Insider). Both guys bring a ton of knowledge and experience, and have already proven to be valuable resources here with their podcast performances.
We still have a ways to go. We're continually making tweaks and fixing bugs, and are still in the process of adding features including a comments section (as part of a site membership that will be free), a forum section, galleries, and more. So stay tuned, and within another 7-10 days I expect the site to be 100% fully completed.
And in case anyone is out there who remembers me from my old site, I might resurface here with a Raw review or an in-depth interview sometime, which is what I was known for back in the day. I still have a pretty good archive of audio interviews I conducted some ten years ago, including a two-day, four-hour session with Ricky Steamboat, as well as one with our own Vince Russo. In time I'll be making those available here on Fightful.
Again thanks to Sean for his help, I hope everyone enjoys what we're putting together here, and if you ever want to reach out to me or anyone associated with the site, you can do so through the Contact form below, or through Twitter via @FightfulOnline or my personal account, @jimmyvan74.
James "Jimmy Van" VanderLinden