This is something Luke mentioned today too: More and more guys from different sports are coming into MMA. While I don’t know if I like some of these guys treating fighting as a side-hobby, I can’t argue with the financial sense it makes for promoters, especially in Montreal where hockey is second only to bad house music as things french people love. TKO’s Stephan Patry is at the head of the hockey player influx into MMA, bringing in several guys including famed enforcer Steve Bosse:
In preparation for his MMA debut Bossé trained with Marc Colangelo (BJJ purple belt) and Stephane Dube. Prior to his fight starting Bossé’s popularity was evident as many of the fans in attendance were there supporting him. After garnering one of the largest receptions of the night Colangelo said, “I mean he is really the crowd favorite tonight. I believe there is probably 2,000 tickets sold just to watch Bossé fight. There is probably people here who were never mixed martial arts fans in the past but they are tonight.” The training paid off as Bossé stopped his opponent David Fraser early in the first round, utilizing his heavy hands and good sprawl.
In an attempt to further his evolution as a mixed martial artist, Bosse has boarded a plane with Dube to spend a month in Phuket, Thailand working on his Muay Thai and mixed martial arts skills. Whether or not this pays off will become evident at TKO 30: Apocalypse, when Bossé takes on Lance Evans.
Out in Western Canada, MFC’s Mark Pavelich has applied the same strategy but with football players, poaching half a dozen players from the Edmonton Eskimos and forcing the Canadian Football League to clarify their position regarding players fighting during offseason:
CFL contracts aren’t guaranteed, meaning the team can release any athlete, for any reason, and stop paying him on the spot. So Maciocia sees no way to control the off-field hobbies of his players.
“If someone chooses to do something like that, what are you going to do?” he said. “What are you doing? Are you going to null-and-void his contract? We can already do that now. It’s just like a company having a drug policy. The company can prohibit drugs, but do they test? I mean, do you really know if your employee is taking any substances?”
“How do you control it? I don’t know how you control it.”
In the end, I’m happy with the crossover that seems to be happening between mixed martial arts and other mainstream sports. It’s good exposure and opens the sport up to people who might not otherwise check it out. I know that us MMA fans like to think our sport is the toughest and takes years and years to master, but the truth is these guys walk in at peak physical condition with the mental hardness needed to compete at a professional level. They don’t have to work 11 hour shifts at the glue factory like you do … they just throw a couple thousand bucks at Shawn Tompkins or Greg Jackson or whoever’s ‘hot’ at the moment and spend 6 months balls deep in training.
About a month and a half ago, MMA agent extrordinaire Ken Pavia went on the Youtubes and basically said “sponsorship money isn’t quite where it needs to be”. Well, try telling that to Andrei Arlovski, who’s making approximately half a fucking million in sponsorships this year:
“Niche marketing works, and the UFC is a very good niche,” says Dave Greeley, executive vice-president of KemperSports Marketing & Communications in Northbrook. “American sports fans like violence, they like tough guys, so there are companies that will want to project a tough image and reach this audience.”
Mr. Arlovski will earn about $500,000 in endorsements this year for products ranging from Met-Rx nutritional supplements to a line of special-edition “Pitbull” high-definition TVs manufactured by Ontario, Calif.-based Soyo Group Inc., according to his marketing agent, Keith Gelman. He also hires himself out to appear at parties, for a cool $10,000.
I make millions upon millions of dollars a year, so this is all chump change to me. But I can understand how from a commoner’s point of view this would seem like a lot of money. It’s definately proof that the money is out there if you know how to get it. I know, I know … not everyone can get sponsorship from prestigious companies like CondomDepot.com (I like CumDumpster.com more anyways). When 90% of your fighters look alike, sound alike, and fight that same college wrestling style, it’s gonna be hard to land the same deals as a guy who looks like he took on the entire Persian army.
Two tips for all you aspiring fighters out there looking to stand apart from the pack and get known:
- stop dying your hair neon and covering yourself in stupid tattoos.
- hire a marketing agent.
Simply put, guys like the Pav get you fights and free t-shirts. Guys like Andrei’s marketing agent Keith Gelman get you oodles of money from 1001 random companies and tickets to the AVN Awards.
That’s right people. Because of the complete lack of UFC action going on at the moment, we’d like to spend a bit of time on the radio show answering some reader mail. Questions and comments are very welcome, just make sure to add them to this post before 9PM EST to guarantee we get to them. While we may not have Jordan Breen’s encyclopedic knowledge or Josh Gross’ supple breasts, we’d like to think we can shed some “insight” onto whatever’s going on in that hampster-wheel operated brains of yours.
Now before I start this entry, let me tell you a little bit about my personal knowledge regarding Edmonton. I was born in Edmonton, and have been back there quite a bit. You crazy Americans are used to tons of crime, that’s not really how things roll in Canada. While Edmonton is a ‘bad city for crime’ by Canadian standards, they just mean it’s bad compared to places like Kamloops and Ottawa and St Johns. When you compare Edmonton (4 murders per 100k) to an American city like Detroit (42 murders per 100k) you kinda realize what pussies us Canucks are.
The point of all that info is to show you how hard it is to get yourself shot or assaulted in Edmonton. But somehow, Kendall Grove still managed it. The video above goes through the whole encounter, with the near shooting discussed from 4:30 onwards.
I believe I’ve already mentioned that I really like Kendall Grove, and I think he has the potential to become a world champion down the road. Well, now I’m moving him from my ‘Likely to be a world champion’ list to the ‘Likely to be found face down in a ditch’ list. Kendall is joined on this list by other fighters like Phil Baroni, Renato Sobral, Drew Fickett, and Rani Yahya (Rani for reasons we’ll get into later today).