(Sean McClure, Jon Hatton and B.J. Santiago of the AFL: the dumbasses in question. Photo courtesy of americanfightleague.com.)
Okay, you want to talk delusional? Then read this wild-ass Bizlex.com profile of William “BJ” Santiago, CEO of the American Fight League, that was recently dug up by MMA Payout. You may remember the AFL as the upstart Kentucky-based fight club that just signed Tara LaRosa to a monumental $500,000+ four-fight deal, as well as ex pro-wrestler Bobby Lashley and possibly Kim Couture. Anyway, Santiago has big, big dreams, and doesn’t foresee any difficulties in paying for them. Witness:
In its first year, the group forecasts revenues between $15 million and $20 million. By 2009, the AFL plans to double those revenues. The group will have events in 12 to 15 states this year. Within two years, there will be an AFL event taking place every week somewhere in the country.
Both Santiago and Hatton attribute this success [Ed. note: you mean *will* attribute this *projected* success?] to the organization’s pursuit of two unique agendas: a minor league or grassroots style professional circuit and a positive public image campaign…
Veteran, credentialed fighters will tour throughout the country in any of the 33 states where fighting is legalized. Rankings, as well as matches, are determined based on earned points, with fighters also competing for a predetermined purse…
Amateurs and pro-rookies are given an opportunity to prove their worth in the grass roots system. This local or “farm” system allows fighters to gain experience and reputation based on a point system. Such a platform allows fighters to move up in the sport, Hatton said.
Let’s skip ahead a bit because the details only get more convoluted from there. Hey guys, how about other revenue streams?
They added Sean McClure, also from Lexington, as director of marketing and athlete liaison. McClure also looks to the merchandising side of the business, which he says will yield about $350,000 the first year, “as we develop the line,” and over $1 million by the second year. Merchandising will be different from the usual hats and t-shirts, including a corporate line of dress shirts and pants, as well as a possible line of jeans. Instructional and workout videos are also in the planning stages.
Does anyone else find it funny that instructional videos are still in the planning stages, but they’ve already got the AFL-brand dress pants thing locked down? Makes sense. To put their numbers in perspective, the IFL made $117,544 in branded merchandise sales last year, while Pro Elite made $184,192 in merchandise, DVDs, and licensing fees. But sure, the AFL is going to light up America to the tune of $350k on the strength of its collared shirts and premium denim. Here’s my little projection: BJ Santiago crying into his beer, Jay Larkin-style, less than 18 months from now.
There’s so much brilliance in this article that I really implore you to read the whole thing, but I’ll leave you with one last excerpt:
In Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights, combatants use a series of martial arts including Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga and traditional boxing, Hatton said. Athletes are usually expert in two to four of these arts and switch back and forth from one to another during a fight, he said.
So Krav Maga makes the cut, but not BJJ. Ouch.