Kosmas Livanos believes “we are all borne into a role, but the person we become depends on us.” As musician, his `artist name' is Livan, the name of his band and the shortened version of his father's last name, Livanos, which denotes a powerful political family. His grandfather, Panagiotis Kanelopoulos, was Prime Minister of Greece and was overthrown by a fascist military coup in 1967 and his father, Dionisis Livanos, is a former Minister and EU parliamentarian who was strongly involved with the anti-junta movement. He was arrested, heavily tortured, and then exiled to Parga. His brother, Spilios Livanos, continues the family involvement in Greek politics as an MP for Aitoloakarnania with the New Democracy (ND) party.
Kosmas himself is a former punk rock artist with 2 top 10 tracks and a spectacular career in the world of the USA rock scene. He has received some early comparisons to famed UK punk rocker Billy Idol for his new album.
As an entrepreneur, founder of a combat sports promotion firm, Kosmas has shifted his passion for entertainment to the world of Combat Sports. After a long-standing career in the music and movie industry, he and his wife Paula have brought to America their Combat Sports promotion `Global Legion FC', a professional and international Combat Sports promotion airing monthly on FITE TV. Bringing a new and exciting hybrid of both Boxing and MMA, the promotion is already the no. 1 ranked promotion in Florida and one of the most sought-after and credible in the industry. With three of their fighters already having transitioned to the UFC, the company is poised for lift-off!
The National Herald: Who is Mr. Kosmas Livanos?
Kosmas Livanos: The first thing that comes to mind is the word `dreamer'. A reckless risk-taker who is not able to learn from other people's mistakes. I am a man that has a daily fight against his Ego.
TNH: You have lived in several places. Tell us about your experiences.
KL: I grew up in Greece, moved to England when I was 14, then lived in Brussels for a few years, and I have been in the United States for the past 11 years. Every place that I have lived in has its pros and cons.
The UK is my second country. I went to school there. I got my degree at Imperial College of London, where I lectured on the subject of drugs, alcohol policy, and intervention in the late 90s.
I embraced the English way of life. It was there I was first introduced to discipline, patience, order, and punk music.
Belgium, my next stop, gave me my taste of Continental Europe and what good food is like. A much more laid back way of life but with its unique charm and most definitely the best cuisine on the planet.
Then the United States, home to the very best and very worst of humanity. An amalgam of cultures and a vast academic and social divide, but indeed a place where if you try long and hard enough, you get where you want to be!
Greece, my beloved home, is second to none in my heart and soul but full of controversy and psycho-social imbalance – the place I adore, even though it hurts me the most. I witnessed and lived with every walk of life in Greece. So, most definitely, my lyrics are hugely influenced by my experiences. The most beautiful country on the planet. The place where the smells and sounds bring tears to my eyes at the very thought of them. Oh blessed homeland, how you have suffered.
TNH: How would you describe your career up until now?
KL: My career has been an uncontrollable roller-coaster of ups and downs. Failing and then succeeding, wanting to give up but not doing that. As you grow in the spirit, it reflects in your work life too.
TNH: What inspired you to start your business?
KL: I am a firm believer in the cliche that if you throw yourself at doing what you love, you never have to work. Since I was a kid, I have felt demonized by society, for I had a genuine instinct for combat. It wasn't until a lot later in life that I realized that you don't become a warrior; you are born one. The rest is history. Put simply: Before, I was functioning but not flourishing; this had to change immediately by doing what I love.”
TNH: Which stages in your life were critical for you and your company?
KL: Every day is critical, especially during this period. It's a constant, continual challenge.
TNH: You are well established in your business; what is it that you do differently from competition?
KL: We genuinely care for our fighters.
TNH: What is the purpose of your work?
KL: It's a business like every other business. The fact that it's a combat sports promotion doesn't take away from that we are in the entertainment business. I would say the purpose is to give the people that pay their hard-earned money and honor us by being our clients, a good time – a break from life. Also, to provide those kids – who put everything they have into the ring – a shot at having a career by mentoring them in the best way that we can.
TNH: What is the appeal?
KL: Look at ancient Greece or Rome. Combat sports have and always will be the ultimate spectacle. These guys are modern-day gladiators.
TNH: If you were to give an outline of your work, what attributes would you ascribe to yourself?
KL: I am a risk-taker. When I first started this promotion, no one thought we would last. Stickability and perseverance, I would say.
TNH: What are your plans, and where do you see yourself in the future?
KL: As a company, we want to be consistent and stick to our mission, which is to deliver a high-quality product and be able to be established globally by airing in as many territories around the world.
TNH: How do you see the market right now? Where do you see it going?
KL: It is a tough market for what we do as there is a global monopoly by the UFC. My humble opinion is to empower smaller promoters such as myself; we need to work together with other promotions to strengthen our position in the market share.
TNH: What are the variables that define the market fluctuations?
KL: Just like any other business, when the market is high, and economies have liquidity, there is more advertising money out there, and our platform becomes more attractive.
TNH: How impulsive are you?
KL: Unapologetically, far too much!
TNH: There is another cliché: “No act of kindness shall go unpunished.” What is your opinion?
KL: It's so true, but I've learned through the years that kindness should be unconditional, and it has a funny way of getting back to you. But it does eventually get around.
TNH: Although you had a flourishing career in LA, you left. Is LA ”a world of inflated selves”?
KL: Yes, and I am not excluding myself. Escaping my Ego has always been difficult, but whenever I achieve it, I find it creates space for good things to happen that otherwise were blocked off by it. I have always gone by the motto: ”Everything is energy,” and that's all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want, and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics – Albert Einstein.