Diana Tavares: “Success in MMA requires versatility and a strong vision”

Diana Tavares, a martial arts powerhouse, excels as an athlete and a fitness instructor. Her grit and determination make her a dynamic force in combat sports.
Diana Tavares

This week, we had a chat with Diana Tavares to learn more about her journey. We talked about her love for martial arts, the challenges she takes on, and the different roles she plays in various areas. Join us as we discover the story of her hard work and contributions to the world of combat sports and more.

About: Diana Tavares, a passionate and determined professional martial artist, excels not only in combat sports but also as a fitness and self-defense instructor, certified referee, and versatile leader.

Her commitment extends beyond the arena, demonstrated through roles such as a former Councillor for Internet Affairs at the Fight1 Federation and as the H. Coach of WARDOGS MMA.

Additionally, she serves as an interpreter and holds the position of Chief Operating Officer at Centurion FC, showcasing her dedication and leadership across diverse disciplines.
In every facet of her life, Diana exemplifies a relentless pursuit of excellence, embodying the ethos of a true martial artist and a dynamic force in the world of combat sports.

You have been the COO of Centurion for almost 2 years; what is the most valuable lesson learned so far?

Diana: As the Chief Operating Officer of Centurion FC, which is an MMA start-up, the journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. Managing the operations of a start-up that successfully organized ten international events within its inaugural year, marking the first-time presence in the respective countries, has been a testament to the intensity of the experience. The responsibility of overseeing athletes from diverse global backgrounds, addressing their unique challenges, managing staff, contractors, suppliers, liaising with federations, navigating regulatory landscapes, fostering partnerships, adhering to strict deadlines, handling last-minute changes in plans, orchestrating fight nights, coordinating conferences, and managing exhibition stands, among other responsibilities.

The role demands an unparalleled level of dedication. From these challenges, a lesson has  emerged – the significance of having a clear “vision” for the organization. Furthermore, the realization of how crucial it is to effectively communicate and share this vision with the entire team has been instrumental. This communication strategy becomes the key to unlocking the potential that propels the team to go the extra mile, proving to be indispensable for the success and growth of any start-up.

How do you define success in the MMA and UFC, considering your varied roles in the sports industry?

Diana: The success of the mixed martial arts is not new, it has been successful since 648BC with the introduction of the pankration in the Greek Olympic games, evolving then on the most violent form on the gladiatorial games, and then coming back to its sports form as bartitsu, sambo, Shooto and Pancrace., it’s been an incredible evolution leading to the dynamic sport of MMA today.

The adrenaline of the mixed martial arts its entertainment in its purest form and the UFC were the pioneers in adapting this secular formula to our fast paced society using effective marketing tactics that draw more viewers and a shift of the public perception of the mixed martial arts as a sports. It was a game changer and as a promoter I believe that all the industry should be thankful for that, as it has opened a new world of opportunities.

As a start-up, Centurion FC has witnessed the power of growth of this industry, which is not for all, as it’s a very hard industry. We are also confident on our future exponential growth starting with our 2024 promising events road map.

Being both a former athlete and high-performance coach, witnessing the rapid transformation of MMA from a blend of traditional martial arts to a standalone sport in such a short time is truly impressive.

How does your background as a former Professional Athlete and Martial Arts Instructor contribute to your understanding and addressing of the diverse needs of athletes, fans, and stakeholders in the sports industry?

Diana. My background as a professional athlete and high performance coach and other various roles I’ve performed on the combat sports such as referee cut man interpreter, athletes manager and event manager, gives me the complete insight to manage the operations to its full extent. Nonetheless, seeing the constant evolution of this industry, I could say that the opportunity of improvement and growth walks hand to hand with it.

What advice would you give to women aspiring to pursue a similar career path in the sports industry?

Diana. Well, the MMA industry, is a rough and challenging industry. I believe it requires a solid foundation in martial arts. Beyond that, the key attributes for success include versatility, a strong work ethic, curiosity, and the ability to learn quickly. These qualities are essential for thriving in this competitive environment.

Can you recommend one or three books that you believe every woman should read?

Diana: I believe the advise to read a book says much on the persons character and on the message the want to give to the world being myself a determined person who loves to face constructive challenges in life I would advise the good old “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, as it helps to develop strategic thinking on leadership or decision-making roles.

In your perspective, what role do women play in the sports betting industry, and how can we overcome any existing barriers or glass ceilings?

Diana: In my perspective, both the sports and sports betting industries operate on a principle where professional recognition aligns directly with an individual’s hard work and commitment. I firmly believe that in the current landscape, barriers and limits are only as restrictive as one allows them to be. The opportunity for professional growth and recognition is abundant for those who are dedicated and proactive in overcoming challenges.

Do you believe that sports betting aligns with fans’ passion for the fights?

Diana: I believe that the thrill and the adrenaline is common to both sports betting and the passion for the fights.

Whether placing bets on sports outcomes or passionately engaging in the thrill of actual fights, you can find a similar source of excitement and adrenaline rush between these two experiences, which makes the perfect combination for sports betting.

What do women want (in sports betting)?  

Diana: In my opinion, success!

Women aspire to succeed in the sports betting industry for various reasons. Some are driven by a passion for sports. Others seek financial independence and view success in sports betting as an avenue for economic empowerment. Many women also aim to break gender stereotypes, contributing to the evolution of traditionally male-dominated fields. For those with entrepreneurial spirits, the industry offers opportunities for innovation and business ventures.

In my opinion, women’s motivations in the sports betting sector are diverse, reflecting a desire for personal fulfilment, professional achievement, and the breaking of societal norms.

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