Alchemist President Lex McMahon has an extensive background that includes time spent four years in the US Marines with two tours of duty in Somalia in the early 1990s. McMahon, who holds a B.A. in English, a J.D. from the California School of Law, and an MBA from Pepperdine, has taken the reigns of Alchemist with the same passion and approach that he has done throughout his life. Whenever McMahon does something he does it to the best of his ability and with everything he has.
McMahon has worn many different hats since he left the Marines and by the looks of it has donned them all with great success, no more so than his role with Alchemist where he has helped build one of the most exciting rosters of MMA fighters around. Anchored by such superstars as Nate Marquardt, Tim Kennedy, Brendan Schaub, and Stefan Struve, the group was recently joined by two of the best and brightest welterweights in the UFC in Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Rory MacDonald. Each and every one of these fighters knows that having McMahon on their side they are in extremely good hands.
“After I finished up with all of my schooling I began a career as a venture capitalist because I felt as though that was a great industry for me to be in,” said McMahon in an interview with Five Ounces of Pain. “I had the opportunity to work with my dad for quite a few years as a talent scout for a show called The Next Biggest Star. I managed bands and promoted concerts.”
“I helped my dad put together contracts with both of my partners now in MC Hammer and Jeff Aronson who is owner of Cash For Gold,” McMahon continued. “During that process we begun talking about MMA and our relationship grew and we put together some sponsorships for about 27 fighters for Cash For Gold. We signed Nate Marquardt, Rashad Evans, Randy Couture and others. While we were working on those deals we sat down and said let’s put together a company and that is how Alchemist started.”
By utilizing MC Hammer’s contacts as well as his name Alchemist has been able to land some major deals for their fighters. McMahon is very quick to point out that MC Hammer does so much more than lend his name to the company; he is an extraordinary businessman with a great passion for the sport as well.
“I’ve been really fortunate to work with Hammer, he’s an incredible guy to work with and he is a visionary,” McMahon explained. “He has utilized social media and is a high level relationship guy. He is able to reach into international markets and he has had success in everything he has done. We really have a great team here at Alchemist with myself, Hammer, Jeff and another gentleman I haven’t mentioned in Nima Safapour.”
For those MMA fans who believe that working in the MMA business is a dream job they may be right, but as with anything there are positives and negatives. When you are part of a management team that is running a global enterprise such as Alchemist the responsibilities can seem endless and put a drain on everyone and everything around you if you aren’t careful.
“As much as this is a dream job for me there are some drawbacks,” offered McMahon. “I get to interact and work with some of the greatest fighters in the world and I have tremendous partners to help shoulder the responsibilities, but at the same time the travel is immense. In order to be successful I need to be away from my wife and my daughters quite a bit. I am very fortunate that my wife Ashley is very supportive and she is the rock that holds the family together. When I am home I make a big effort to spend quality time with all of them, but at the end of the day I am gone much more than I home.
There are also positives aspects of my job that you don’t get to hear about. Stephen Thompson, Ovince St. Preux, and I recently took twelve wounded Marines to Alabama hunting for 3-4 days. It was a really cool experience and Stephen took time out of his camp just so he could attend. We all believe that it’s so important to support the US Military. Then at UFC 145 we are bringing several of the Marines to Atlanta as our guests to watch the fights. They get to go backstage and the UFC has been wonderful to work with on this campaign.”
Being in MMA management McMahon always has his eyes open for the next big star. He has many young fighters who he is promoting that he believes that he can not only help develop a great career for, but also assist them in building themselves as a brand so they are able to support themselves when their fighting days are over.
“We look to sit down with our athletes and look to do something that is bigger than what we are about,” said McMahon. “It’s important to work hand in hand and support other people, I’ve been very fortunate to work in the MMA community. For me it has been a real blessing. We want to insure that our fighters are able to invest their money and prepare for the days when they can no longer make money fighting. To us we take it as our responsibility to point these guys in the right direction during and after their careers.”
“We have some incredible young talent,” McMahon elaborated. “Alex Soto is one of the fighters who I’ve worked long and hard with. He is a Mexican immigrant who was fighting in bare knuckle MMA fights in Tijuana for $50. He joined the Army and served in Afghanistan. We also have Liz Carmouche who has fought for Strikeforce and will be fighting next for Invicta FC 1 on April 28. She’s another former Marine and I have to take care of them. Then there is Walel Watson who has three fights in the UFC. Of course there is “Wonderboy” who has made such progress over the past six months. He is a truly special guy. George Lockhart, Eric Scallan, Chad Robichaux, and Alex Morono are all fighters to look out for. Just to be able to watch these guys make their way to the top is awesome.”
McMahon and Alchemist are in the business to help grow the sport and enhance the potential of all of their fighters. It is with that attitude that Mixed Martial Artists from around the world are lining up to be represented by them. You may read a lot of stories about misrepresentation or some management companies blatantly ripping off their clients, but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone criticize this group. Their goals are quite simple in nature, but without their hard work they would never come to fruition.
“At the end of the day we are here to create value for our clients,” concluded McMahon. “Creating value for our clients includes commercial endorsements, getting them the best fight contracts, but like I have said it’s about building a platform for them to leverage their life outside of fighting. That could mean entertainment or having their own academy. Whatever it may be we want to build their name so they can make a living outside of fighting. We want our fighters to focus on three things and that is training fighting and winning. If we can take care of the rest them that means we have done our job.”
PHOTO CREDIT – ALCHEMIST MMA