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Glendale's Araz Aradian's site has brought notice to Armenian fighters locally and beyond

June 04, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk

Just as "Hye Fighter" literally means Armenian fighter, the multi-faceted brand that bears the name has become synonymous with the heartbeat of the Armenian combat sports scene.

When Glendale's Araz Araradian started in 2007, the website's sole mission was to grow awareness and support for the rapidly growing Armenian presence, as well as oft overlooked history, in the international landscape of boxing, kickboxing and one of the fastest growing sports in the world, mixed martial arts.

With better than 10,000 unique visitors a month for a site Araradian acknowledges is a "niche within a niche," he's accomplished that and, in the process, seen his original vision flourish and grow into multiple offshoots.


"It started as a labor of love and it still is a labor of love," Araradian says. "We're at a stage right now where it's got a pretty decent foothold in the fighting community and it's started to grow."

The Armenian influence on the fight game is bigger and broader than at any time in history and HyeFighters has grown right along with it — from a no-frills website with little more than a message board and schedule of upcoming events, to a bustling interactive community of fans and fighters with a wealth of information and visual media to bring it all to life.

"I even go on there just to see what all the fighters are doing, look at the pictures," says World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight Karen Darabedyan, who lives and trains in Glendale. "When Armenian fighters want to know about other Armenian fighters, they just go to HyeFighters and they know. It's really cool."

Just in the last year, Araradian has revamped the website's interface, enlisted contributing writers and now, along with new partner Andre Haftvani, is hard at work on HyeFighters' most groundbreaking endeavor to date, a foray into documentary-style filmmaking.

The project, which has a to-the-point working title of "Hye Fighter," will feature extensive fight and training footage, but centers primarily around interviews with its MMA and boxing subjects aimed at conveying their personal stories and struggles.

Filming has wrapped and Araradian and Haftvani are preparing to shop around their 25-minute "sizzle reel" to prospective financiers with the notion of adapting it into either a full-length feature or a television series.

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