This year kicked off with a bang, including a new UFC heavyweight champion, the end of Strikeforce, and me tearing a hamstring.
It's funny because it got me thinking. Where would I be, fitness speaking, without MMA.
My blog www.onefitcity.com would be flat, and I never would have been the spokesperson and seen an MMA based fitness product fly off the shelves with www.nexersys.com. Point of the story, 2013 is going to be a big year for a bunch of reasons.
This article is about training camps and Eddie Alavarez' new deal, a deal that I hope sets the standard, not because he is getting $70,000 to show up and $70,000 to win. The deal is fantastic because he is getting cash up front and big money at that, a $250,000 signing bonus, something he can train on and get better with. It's the kind of money that means strength coaches, like myself, can now get paid.
Alvarez' deal, and now an eight-fight deal for Benson Henderson mean the fighter-pay issue is finally getting solved.
I remember my first trip out to Team Quest Temecula California, when I was there to bring out some ground breaking ideas on how to train for sport. Dan Henderson was preparing to fight Michael Bisping, and was trying to avoid the mistakes he made against Anderson Silva. Thierry Sokoudjou was prepping for fights in Japan again, Krzystof Soszynski was gearing up for his first UFC fight, and a young guy named Tarec Saffiedine had just arrived to the gym from Belgium.
None of them had money to spend on a big training camp, everyone worked together and the product that came from the camp spoke for itself.
Being someone who has been around the sport and traveled to train high level fighters, I can tell you this, Alvarez has financially changed the game. Four years ago, I lived in a house with six guys to make this work. Each guy was a sparring partner (myself included), a chef, a friend, a maid, and anything else that you could need. Did you get injured at training? No worries, someone would help get you home.
My question is going to be the one that time will answer. Is it good for the sport? I'm going to say definitely. All other pro sports have money, and they are tough on the body. Athletes get involved to be the best; the big pay days mean they will work much harder to be the top dog.
My favorite part of the whole situation is that it will give rise to more marketing dollars and sponsors. Why does that excite me? Well, I love seeing programs like RushFit hit the market. High intensity training designed to inspire the fans to try their hand at MMA.
More money in the sport means more big players. That means more dollars spent trying to get fans to keep their resolutions. As we get closer to a population that is 60 percent overweight or obese.
I like that a deal done by Alvarez will make it easier for me to continue to travel, train, and work with top athletes. Then from there, maybe more companies like Nexersys will come along to use coaches to inspire people to kick box at home.
It's an exciting time, it's a New Year, and we are about to see an explosion of skill that takes MMA to a brand new level.
Dana White, you have done some incredible things. From creating a sport from nothing to social media, MMA is leading the way. Just watch what it will do for the fitness industry.
Personally, I can't wait to see who gets the next big contract.
Jordan Cieciwa can be heard on TSN Radio 1290 every Saturday at 11:30am ct with his show The Weigh-In. You can also follow Jordan at www.twitter.com/FitCityJordan and get all your fitness tips at www.onefitcity.com.