Shane Tipa has lost count of how many times he thought it might be best to pack up and plan for next year.
The Hybrid Combat Series promoter had two shows - one in March and one in June - scrapped due to restrictions designed to halt the coronavirus pandemic.
But then fighters came forward telling him "this is all I've got to look forward to", and "when people start talking to you like that, you almost feel obligated to get this over the line to help those sort of people".
Now Hybrid Combat Series - rebranded from Monaro Fight Circuit - will hold its first show at the Hellenic Club of Canberra on Saturday night.
"Every show has its hurdles, this one seemed to have more, but because of that it made us more motivated and determined to ensure we got this one over the line," Tipa said.
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"The biggest driver was the amount of combatants that came forward wanting to fight on the show, and we want to do the right thing by them. We've got some high end experienced professionals fighting on the card, right through to boys who just want to tick the box.
"COVID has impacted a lot of people, but it has also strengthened a lot of people, especially mentally.
"A lot of the local fighters I know came forward and said 'look, this is all I've got to look forward to'.
"We had a lot of people saying to us 'I can't see how you get it over the line', or 'I think you're dreaming'. That just motivates you more to make it happen."
COVID-19 restrictions mean the sold-out event will be limited to seated corporate tables with a raft of titles on the line in front of a crowd limit just shy of 300 people.
Andrew Loulanting will headline the 11-fight card in a MASA K1 South Pacific cruiserweight title fight against Sydneysider Charles Joyner.
The first show under the rebranded promotion marks a major step forward for combat sports in Canberra, with a raft of events scrapped throughout 2020.
Tipa says the impact of his HCS team - including two former world champions in Ben Edwards and Craig Genter, former Australian wrestler Theo Gourgouras, and former Australian kickboxing champion Peter Foster - cannot be understated.
"We had a show set for late June, but we always had in mind, whatever it takes, we would make a show happen on November 28. We've been able to achieve that, obviously with restrictions still in place," Tipa said.
"We couldn't have done that without the backing and support of the Hellenic Club of Canberra and the ACT government - especially the controlled sports department, licencing and compliance, and the ACT COVID exemption and events department."