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To read Volume Two click here
It is now 2004 and I’m feeling pretty good about myself and my MMA business prospects. I’ve lined up some big fights and have actually started to get paid for my work. I’m making new connections and most of the people I meet truly care about the sport as a whole, but of course there are always exceptions to the rule.
Following the FFC event I worked, I got a call from a promoter (Corey Fischer) in Ohio who was doing some King of the Cage events. He needed fighters and I was able to talk him into letting me do some of the matchmaking on the show. I did some matches for him on a couple of events and then he parted ways with KOTC. I thought nothing of it and went about my business. I kept doing what I was doing; booking fights for guys and matchmaking whenever I was needed.
About a year passed and I got a call from Mr. Fischer again. This time around he had teamed up with the legendary Royce Gracie and was doing an event in Evansville, Indiana in December of 2005. I helped him find some fighters and agreed to work at the event. Dave Stone (yep, he’s still with me) and I drove from Indianapolis to Evansville through a terrible snowstorm to take part in the first (and only) Royce Gracie Fightfest. We worked the locker rooms backstage and even met the man himself: Royce Gracie. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty cool.
After the event it was time to get paid, but Mr. Fischer said he was out of checks and would send it to us immediately. I took him at his word as I’m a trusting guy and try to look for the best in people. It never came, amid a bevy of excuses.
About five months later Mr. Fischer called and needed someone to fight Eric Esch (better known as Butterbean) at a Fightfest event that didn’t include Royce. I agreed to send Leo Sylvest (yep, he’s still with me too) because the money was decent and Leo needed it at the time. I did, however, explicitly tell Leo he was not to leave the event until he collected his pay along Dave Stone and my pay from the previous event. Leo is the man and came through!
Shortly thereafter Scott McCorkle (owner of Legends of Fighting Championships in Indianapolis) called and offered me a full-time job helping him build the Damage Inc.(Indiana) fight team and matchmake the LFC cards. Finally, my day had come! I had always told Laryssa that someday someone would pay me to do what I do full-time and that day was here. I immediately took the job with Scott and quit my job at Lockheed Martin the next day.
It was the first (and only) job that I had with a company cell phone, laptop and private office. I felt great. Scott was a good dude and loved the sport, but he was a businessman first. Maybe I was arrogant, but we didn’t always see eye to eye and I felt he should’ve listened to me more.
About three months into my tenure with the LFC I received a call from Mr. Fischer. He had turned Fightfest into a weekly television series in Ohio and needed my services to matchmake. Since I did finally get paid from the earlier job I agreed to meet him. He flew to Indianapolis and met with me, my wife and Scott. Scott didn’t like him from the start, but Corey talked a good game and I figured since it was a TV show it would look good on my MMA business resume’. Scott agreed to let me do it around my LFC business, but he wasn’t thrilled.
We started on September 6 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Masonic Temple. I was able to book Micah Miller and Tim Kennedy on my first card there. I got paid as well!
I continued to work for both events until February of 2007. By this time Scott and I had some disagreements and I had Corey, the salesman, in my ear all of the time. He had big plans and so did I. I decided to quit the LFC job and move to Ohio to work for Fightfest the television series. I should’ve known better, but I figured since it was on TV, Corey was legit.
Boy was I wrong! Within six months of moving to Ohio, Fightfest went under due to financial mismanagement. I had a lot of good suggestions but Corey was the type of guy who knew everything already. Of all the scumbags that I’ve met in MMA (and I’ve met quite a few) Corey Fischer was, by far, the worst.
I had no idea what I was going to do now. I had uprooted my whole family from a comfortable life in Indiana to failure in Ohio. I should’ve stayed with Scott and the LFC was all I could think of. Luckily for me, I made some allies that I wasn’t even fully aware of yet…….