It’s never a good idea to write when you’re sleep deprived. There’s a tendency to sometimes say things you shouldn’t say. Then again, that might make for an interesting read for everyone?
As some of you may or may not know, I am no longer an active editorial influence in regards to FiveOuncesOfPain.com. I started a new company called Combat Sports Media and our business model is to work with mixed martial arts companies in the industry as a third-party provider of services. We do public relations for M-1 and other clients; operate M-1Global.com; provide production notes and research to Showtime; work with a small but growing group of fighters to help find them exposure and sponsorship; and more.
Combat Sports Media is still the parent owner of FiveOuncesOfPain.com and thanks to CSM Chief Technical Officer David Andrest and 5 Oz. manager editor Cory Brady, we’re not only pulling all of this off but we’re moving forward on some big things for the future. Stay tuned.
So yeah, I’ve turned to the dark side. I went from being on the outside to the inside. For now, my days of being an objective journalist are over. But as a friend recently told me, “At least you’re up front about it and not one of the many MMA writers these days trying to masquerade as bastions of journalistic integrity.”
As such, this column is about trying to inform and entertain. If I miss the mark, sorry, but I’ve slepped a total of four hours in the past 36 hours.
Pursuing a full-time career in MMA is truly a roller coaster ride. It’s a metaphor that gets used a lot but I don’t think people realize just how crazy this business is. My job these days consist of putting out fires and as soon as those fires are put out, a new blaze has started. My job is stressful and chaotic… but you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world. Stable companies in MMA are few and far between and I’ve met a lot of talented people in my time who have worked for companies and when those companies went away, they never got a second chance. Everybody wants to work in MMA but there are only so many slots available.
Every day I wake up to a new set of problems that have to be solved and that’s the life of anyone in MMA who is a fighter, manager, matchmaker, executive, regulator, etc. I’ve been involved in quite a few different endeavors and none are as stressful as what I am doing now. But while I’ve never had a job as stressful as this one, I’ve never had as much fun.
I’ve got a lot of things going on right now. Some I can discuss publicly, some I cannot. Much of my lack of sleep is due to assisting M-1 during the Affliction “Trilogy” cancellation as well as the decision to move “Breakthrough” to Kansas City; working with Cory in providing Showtime with new production notes as changes are made to the Aug. 15 show; organizing a group of three fighters to represent USA East in the M-1 Challenge this weekend in Amsterdam; and managing my wife’s fighting career.
The changes to “Breakthrough” have generated some negative feedback but nothing is ever for certain in the MMA business. M-1 had an issue with a partner in LA and then had an issue with a main event. Some promotions would have folded their tents and went home and told the fighters they were SOL. But M-1 is honoring its word to the fighters, sponsors, and TV partner by working day and night to make sure “Breakthrough” goes off. You think the company would get some credit for saving the event instead of bailing but I guess there are just a lot of UFC-loyalists who can’t get over the fact that Fedor Emelianenko signed with Strikeforce instead of the UFC.
For those who don’t intend to watch “Breakthrough” free of charge on HDNet, that’s a shame. You’re going to miss out on the U.S. debut of Mo Lawal — a man who will be a top five pound-for-pound fighter in the world within the next 16-24 months. You also won’t get to see two of the best fighters you may have never heard of: Karl “Psycho” Amoussou and Lucio Linhares.
Karl is the next Wanderlei Silva and if you don’t believe me, watch this higlight video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWSXhIgZ294. And Lucio? Man, he’s proof that it isn’t about how good you are, it’s about how visible you are. Believe me when I tell you this, Linhares is capable of beating 70% of the fighters in the UFC and that’s no joke.
Anyway, I am looking forward to “Breakthrough” and I will actually be going out to Kansas City to help with the event as soon as I get back from Amsterdam and the M-1 Challenge. I’ve met some major scumbags in this business and I’ve also met some awesome people as well. Titan Entertainment President Joe Kelly, who is also M-1 Global’s Vice President of Live Events is one of those people. It’ll be great getting to work under Joe for 11 days leading up to the event.
Ensuring “Breakthrough” is a success will be no easy task. We’re not doubt behind the eight-ball but despite what some people would like you to believe, there are a lot of talented people in M-1 who are working around the clock right now. But because M-1 isn’t the UFC, people simply want to write the company off. There’s just so much stuff out there that simply isn’t true. The thing that I don’t quite understand are the bloggers who question why M-1 doesn’t have a promoter’s license.
First, Joe Kelly, a Vice President with M-1, is a licensed promoter in the state of Kansas and has been promoting boxing and MMA shows for over 10 years. But regardless, people fail to understand the M-1 business model. M-1 is truly a global company running shows all over the world. Because of this, M-1 finds local partners to help assist in promoting events. In Brazil, we worked with an awesome Gi company called Naja; in South Korea we work with one of the most respected businessmen in the community; when we did a show in England last year, we worked with the lads from Cage Warriors; so on and so forth.
Regarding “Breakthrough” in LA, we never applied for a license because we work with Roy Engelbrecht, one of the most experienced promoters you’ll find in the U.S. Roy was the promoter of record for both Affliction shows. Did anyone ever question why Affliction never applied for a promoter’s license? Do people realize that there are major promotions in the U.S. right now that also partner with local promoters?
M-1 wasn’t turned away in Oklahoma or Nevada. When we lost LA, we explored multiple options. We never fully decided on what option we were going to go with, so why would we pay for a promoter’s license? As someone who is familiar with the licensing process, you don’t just throw large sums of money down for a license unless you know you will be putting it to use.
But enough with the negative and onto he positive. One of the cool things about “Breakthrough” is that Joe is adding local ticket sellers to the non-televised undercard. There are a couple of local Kansas City female fighters he wants on the show. And guess who has been asked to compete? My wife. New readers have no idea about my wife’s fighting background but long-time readers remember by blogs last year about her daily trials and tribulations of being a full-time fighter. A lot of people really enjoyed the candid writing I did while others just wanted me to shut up and slave away on the phones all day and break stories for their amusement.
But for those that care, my wife is not only back from ACL surgery but she’s better than before. Her and her striking coach at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United just got back from the Simbi Muay Thai training center in Phukett and my wife is ready to kill someone. For her, Aug. 28 can’t come soon enough. Because she was gone for three weeks, she will be coming to Amsterdam with me and USA East fighters John Doyle and Shamar Bailey (by the way, special thanks to Choke Out Poker for sponsoring John and Shamar). Holland is just an amazing country and I can’t wait to go and watch 30 fights in one weekend. The only downside is that by being in Amsterdam, I can’t be in San Jose to watch Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg. But you damn well better believe I’ll be watching that early Sunday morning thanks to Showtime’s premium web stream.
Another downside is that I will be working most of the time and won’t get to see much of my wife even though she’ll be on the trip. But being married to a fighter has its perks because she’s quite okay with not getting to spend much time with me on the trip. Some of the greatest kickboxers in the world call Holland home and my wife is planning on getting some good training in at the M-1 training center. M-1 has been super cool and is trying to arrange things so that my wife can train with one of her favorite fighters, Cindy Dandois.
A lot of people feel when I speak about my wife that I am going into self-promotion mode… and you know what? Those people are right. But my wife has made so many sacrifices in allowing me to pursue my dream of having a full-time career in MMA and I am going to do the same for her. It would be one thing if she was a tomato can who couldn’t fight — but my wife is a legitimate fighter who will be breaking into the big-time before you know it. Aug. 28 is just the beginning, as we have a lot of fight offers coming in. We’ve got an awesome gym behind us with BJJ United and an amazing trainer in Jared Weiner so Andria is ready for whatever is going to come her way.
So much is going on that I barely even have time to write about UFC 101. One cool thing about not being a reporter/columnist anymore is that I don’t have to always work an event. I can go back to the old days and kick back and drink a few adult beverages while watching some fights! I’m a Philly person true and true and I never thought I would live to see the day in which the UFC would promote an event in Philadelphia. But this Saturday I got to experience it with my wife and son and it was surreal seeing legalized fighting inside Philly city limits.
Despite some lackluster fights, I still had an amazing time. The UFC simply knows how to do MMA right and the last two fights made up for some of the slower-paced fights earlier in the night. What can I possibly say about Anderson Silva and B.J. Penn that hasn’t already been said? But in typical Philly fashion, one of the best fights of the night didn’t take place inside the cage, but outside of it. You might have heard some loud cheering during the Kendall Grove vs. Ricardo Almeida fight but the cheers weren’t for the fight but rather a huge brawl that seemingly went on for 5-7 minutes. I was up in a luxury suite but I still someone get dropped with a major haymaker. It was so good that I felt Dana should have awarded the guy the UFC “Knockout of the Night” bonus. But Philly is a crazy town and we sure do enjoy fighting. Whether it is boxing, pro wrestling, or MMA, Philadelphians support violence. And no, I am not particularly proud of it but this is my home.
I’ve ranted for quite some time in this piece and I am trying to find a cute to wrap this entry up and tie it into a neat bow but I’ve got another crazy day ahead of me tomorrow (lots of production note writing and need to work out with John Doyle at BJJ United before we head to Amsterdam) and it’s time to get some sleep. I might be working like a mad man but all I can say is right now, my life doesn’t suck.