Recapping With Jason Genet - Don't Blame Me For A Drop In Traffic
by Brent Todd - 02-16-2010
If you ask the average mixed martial arts fan if they know who Jason Genet is, they will tell you no.If you ask them if they know who Efrain Escudero, Ben Henderson, Gabe Ruediger, or Shane Carwin is, they will undoubtedly say yes.What do those fighters have in common?They are all managed by Jason Genet of Magnetic Marketing Associates.MMA Recap's Brent Todd caught up with Genet to discuss what it takes to be a successful fight manager.
The first question that is always asked of any interviewee is if they wouldn't mind doing an interview with MMA Recap.When Genet was asked he was taken aback thinking we wanted to interview a client.He even said "I am no one special. I have lots of great athletes that are special or soon to be."We countered that self assessment with "A good manager is just as important as a good coach.And the manager rarely reaps as much praise as a coach."When Genet agreed to do the interview he had one final quip, "Don't blame me for the drop in traffic".
What made you decide to manage fighters?
"I wrestled as did my brother when we were younger and my brother is still a high school wrestling coach to this day.So MMA was like my NFL and I was an avid fan of the early UFC tournaments and as the sports popularity grew I paid more and more attention.Fast forward to around 2003 and my marketing company was struggling with ways to reach the 18-35 year old demographic.We were loosing the war with ROI's from print and the TV spots targeting the 18-35 year old males were even less effective due to the DVR.
"I saw fighters wearing sponsors and in content advertising wasn't a foreign idea and I began to look into the demographics the sport was pulling and I saw an opportunity.My daughters were training at Arizona Combat Sports and we were watching TUF 3.Jesse Forbes was in the gym getting ready for his fight with Matt Hamill and I asked Trevor Lally about sponsoring fighters, specifically Jesse.He said "Its a money trap and like picking horses" so I went home and tried to figure away to make it less like a money trap and more cohesive for the fighters and trainers.
"I came back with a plan, offered him and his brother to be a part of the plan and we would use ACS as our home base.I went out and landed a TV company to sponsor fighters (maybe the first non MMA brand to jump on fighters) what we did was get them to sponsor a team of fighters.We had them committed to a monthly amount and we went on a quest of building the team.Jesse Forbes, Jamie Varner, Ray and Steve Steinbeiss and then we went after some ASU graduates that Jesse Forbes knew.We offered Cain Velasquez a $20,000 signing bonus but he had already committed to AKA and they had management for him.We quickly targeted his team mates and assistant coach rounding the team out with Kellan Fluckiger, Aaron Simpson, CB Dollaway and Ryan Bader (all 0-0 in MMA at the time, basically straight wrestlers).We went to work and began building the fight team and the sponsors awareness.The results for the sponsor was an increase of sales from $40,000,000 annually to over $100,000,000 annually and profits increased from $400,000 a year to over $4,000,000 a year.The fighters all achieved rapid success and I knew my formula was going to be effective.
"While I have parted ways with the Lally's and now own Magnetic Marketing Associates with Loyd Ivey and we are the exclusive MMA Marketing form for MTX Audio."
Is there anything in particular that you look for in fighters to represent?
"A desire to get marketed.Fighters need to want to be marketed and it is the first thing we look for.Then we look at talent and goals of the fighter to make sure we can achieve his or her goals.We invest in our fighters so we want to make sure they want the investment."
Any fighter you were close to signing, but then a different management team picked him up that you were bummed about?
"Never bummed out, fighters are on a journey and it is my job to do my very best to represent them and their interest.If they feel their best interest can be served by others I fully support them making the move.We lost Cain to Zinkin which seemed to work out great for him so how can anyone question his choice.We had the opportunity to bid on Jose Also but he had an agent promise him the world as a WEC undercard fighter and we knew we could not compete so we encouraged him to accept.
"Fighters are young and were not dealing with millions of dollar pay days.We want to work with fighters that except that and want to make millions from leveraging their fighting career for endorsement deals and things along those lines.I can't make them win but I can make them money for fighting like a winner (outside of fighting).That requires a lot of time and money invested and we really only want to work with those that understand and want that type of approach.We will never have the largest roster in MMA but ideally we will have the best paid guys in and outside of the cage."
Obviously Shane Carwin is probably the highest profile fighter, what was it like bringing Carwin to the team?
"I meet Shane early on in his MMA career through his wrestling coach Leister Bowling and we hit it off immediately.He had a contract with the UFC at the time and was not looking for management.Fast forward about two years later I get a call asking permission to give Shane my number as he was looking for representation and was close to choosing a firm and I wasn't in the running.I gave permission and Shane and I spoke and we immediately hit it off again.he said I needed to speak to his wife (he did not have a wife before) and she would help him make his final choice.
"His wife (Lani) was as together as they come.I felt like I was interviewing for a job and was pretty nervous.I heard in her tone and words that Shane was very unhappy with the direction of his career, he needed something more.I told her I wouldn't give her a proposal but I would give her and her husband my heart and word that I would make an impact in their life's.When she called and told me I got the job I was excited to be working for a guy who I felt was amazing and just needed a few tweaks to let the rest of the world see how great of a guy and athlete he was and is.
"Fast forward a little over a year later he has two non-mma sponsors paying him on salary, we have changed his whole approach to sponsors, fans and built him a platform to own these new relationships.He now has his own Social Networking site with thousands of members and daily visitors, he has over 14,000 twitter followers and has doubled the amount omoney he was making from the UFC.If you ask Shane he will tell you we changed his life.If you ask me, we helped him receive value for the things he was doing and the person he is."
Genet goes on to talk about an average day, his current fighters, and much much more. Make sure to check out the rest of the interview