Another design heavyweight
leaving the industry

Greg Swanson watches another raucous night of karaoke at the 2007 SND judging in Syracuse.

The Blog loves to bring breaking industry news to the masses. But at the same time, we hate it when we have to bring news that friends and colleagues are changing arenas.

So it is with both joy and pain that we report today that Greg Swanson, AME/Presentation at the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, will be leaving the newspaper world. And it is with 100 percent seriousness that we report that he's leaving newspapers to become ... wait for it, as he would love to hear us say ... to become ... to become ... a Mixed Martial Arts fight promoter and marketer???

Yes, you read that correctly. Greg Swanson, the man who once stuffed 50 cheese cubes into his mouth at the same time on a dare, is apparently a lover AND a fighter. Or at least enough of a fan to make the MMA fight game his new career.

The Blog knew Swanson was an MMA aficionado, but we have to admit we never saw this coming -- even as we e-mailed back and forth with him via Blackberry from Las Vegas last weekend at the UFC 71 event to talk about all the fighters we were meeting. Swanny knew them all, and just wished he was there hangin' with us.

Aside from leading the QCT's visuals team, Swanson also has managed to turn himself into quite the viral Internet celebrity with the Times' "Quadrants" Web video segments with partner in crime Joe Kelley. Through Quadrants, online viewers have been able to learn how to build their own t-shirt folding machine, shoot pop bottle rockets off of buildings, color Easter eggs and even which method works best for removing hair from Swanson's legs. We're not sure how that would go over in the MMA community, but we do know that every Quadrants segment has met with hilarious results.

Swanson has also been active in SND. He's currently the Society's Quick Course Director and in February will be SND's 29th Competition Coordinator in Syracuse. It will be his sixth year attending the annual judging. The Blog has been unable to confirm reports that Swanson threatened to put competition director Marshall Matlock in a kimura armbar until he tapped out if Marshall asked Swanson to step away from his competition duties.

The Blog reached out to Swanson for more details on the move, but not surprisingly, we received a press release in return.

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Greg Swanson said the idea struck him last year while sitting near day-old fruit at Drumlins during the Syracuse judging.

"Rob Schneider -- Dallas' presentation director -- came walking by boiling mad. He said if there was a cage nearby, he'd call out rival Brian Gross and 'tear his designing arms from God' off. It seems Gross had one-upped him again."

That exchange got Swanson thinking. "What if we could bring a chain-link cage to Drumlins? Settle age-old design disputes the old-fashioned way -- until one designer was left begging for mercy. Would there be fewer awards, or more?" Swanson wasn't sure, but he was excited at the possibilities.

Imagine this fight card:
Michael Whitley vs. Derek Simmons
Josh Crutchmer vs. Emmet Smith
Bill Bootz vs. Chris Olds
Chris Rukan vs. Jeremy Gilbert
Steve Cavendish vs. Rob Schneider

Swanson, the Quad-City Times' AME/Presentation and SND's Quick Course director and 29th Edition Competition Coordinator, knew the future was now. To that end, he has announced he is leaving the Times and will begin a career promoting and marketing Mixed Martial Arts fights. Seriously.

For those out of the loop, MMA competition is the fastest growing sport in America and many experts agree that by 2010, the most watched sports in the U.S. will be the NFL, NASCAR and MMA.

The sport is a passion for Greg, who lives right in the heart of fight country. The Quad-Cities is home to the best training gym in the U.S. and many of the world's best fighters live there. He will go to work for the sport's top promoter, being able to stay in the Quad-Cities and work from home if he likes. With four kids under the age of 8 he'll more than likely find a Plan B.

"Many people know the sport as ultimate fighting, or UFC. I'm not working for the UFC, but rather for the guy who feeds the UFC most of its fighters. Extreme Challenge is the company I'll be working for. It's the largest in the Midwest and one of the largest in America. Crazy news happens in threes, I guess. First, Christine McNeal takes on a higher calling. Then Tim Ball heads for exotic lands. And, now, well, I'm going to be watching guys beat each other up. This is about as far away from Christine's exit from journalism as you can get."

The Blog wishes nothing but the best for Swanson. And how can we not? Anything less, and he's liable to throw us into the Octagon, shoot in, take us to the ground and get us into a guillotine chokehold faster than we can say, "Please Greg! Just one more Quadrants segment!"

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Anonymous Josh Crutchmer said...

Schneider will smack Cavendish down.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 3:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike Rice said...

Unreal. Now who will the Quad Cities turn to when they need advice on body hair removal?!
Best of luck to one of the most, er, interesting people I've had the pleasure to meet through SND.
I'm having a plate of cheese cubes for lunch in your honor.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 3:48:00 PM  
Blogger Matt Mansfield said...

Now THAT is the way to signal a career change. Wow ... and good luck, Greg!

Thursday, May 31, 2007 5:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Charles Apple said...

Holy cow. Congratulations, Greg!

Thursday, May 31, 2007 9:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Schneider said...

I will kill Cavendish. I will eat his hair.

It should be noted on that fateful day, Brian Gross kicked my ass and then did a page design/flash presentation that same day.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So we are clear, Greg Swanson will remain as the competition's 29th Edition Coordinator.

That was confirmed by telephone just before Greg announced to this blog, thus the world, that he was straying from the newspaper industry to enter the business of promoting and marketing Mixed Martial Arts fights.

We discussed several subjects including how he got his "training" to become a fight promoter. The cell phone was breaking up but I think he said he got his training by watching the judges go at it during SND's past judgings. It was either that or something about watching karaoke nights at the annual judging.

We, too, wish only the best for Greg and his family and know the competition will win in the final match-up.

Marshall Matlock
Competition Director

Friday, June 01, 2007 9:36:00 AM  
Blogger MattE. said...

That's a great point by Marshall -- no matter what, the Competition wins by continuing to have Swanny involved. Having been in the Coordinator role two competitions ago and having spoken to many other past coordinators, we all agree Greg is an absolute NATURAL in that role. So we are most definitely glad nothing's changing in that area.

Friday, June 01, 2007 3:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul Wallen said...

Wow, big congrats to Greg! A big loss for newspapers, but couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
I once held a blue belt in Hapkido. Of course, that was about five years and 40 pounds ago. But even in my fighting prime, I wouldn't have wanted any part of Swanny. :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill Bootz said...

Wow, wow, wow. Mega-congrats, Greg! You will be missed, but now I'll have to start watching UFC, right!

Chris would tear me limb from limb, BTW!

Sunday, June 03, 2007 10:20:00 PM  

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