A Helping Hand For Young Fighters
“My dream for years has been to be Jerry Maguire,” says Michael C. Hall, referring to the 1996 hit movie starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renee Zellwegger.
That’s the film in which Gooding’s character, a pro athlete, uttered the famous line, “Show me the money!” to Tom Cruise, a sports agent.
Hall’s company, Fight Agents, is a sports management agency that represents several mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters to be sure they don’t sign bad contracts, and to help find sponsors for the athletes.
One of his fighters, Richard Barnard, is hoping to make the U.S. Olympic boxing team for 2012.
“It’s not an easy battle,” explains Hall, a Honolulu resident. “If you were to give a tenth of what you give to a golfer to an MMA guy it would be so much better for your business just because of the amount of visibility you get in that 18-to-34 year-old market.”
Hall says the kids (athletes) often struggle financially, and they have to fight to be successful in life. He notes that although the have to fight, they still have big hearts.
Hall fell in love with the MMA scene when he saw some fighters in a gym training and doing good - instead of getting into trouble. Hall hopes to help them get sponsorships to cover basic needs so they can focus, as every athlete has a limited shelf life.
“I had that Jerry Maguire moment,” he says about one of the fighters.
“I didn’t know he could see me. I was in the crowd watching the fight. He won the fight, knocked the guy out. He was looking around the room for me, and he looked at me and pointed at me. Then I pointed at him. Goosebumps.”
Hall worked in sales before starting Fight Agents earlier this year with Carlos Silva, the company’s chief operations officer. Silva, a Kapolei resident who has done jiu-jitsu, karate and kickboxing, is responsible for working with the fighters and the trainers to be sure the fighters have the equipment that they need. Hall writes a monthly column in the MMA Hawaii magazine, and does a radio show on Hawaii’s Country Music Station 97.5 KHCM FM.
The company’s hopes for the future are to have a reality television show, and to showcase some fights at a new venue that can hold 5,000 people at Pier 11 near Aloha Tower. Next year, the firm hopes to get some computers donated to a gym in Waipahu so the kids can have basic computer skills.
The next big event is the Nov. 15 card at Aloha Tower which will have dance crews and live music as a part of the show lineup.
“It’s about not resting on your laurels,” adds Hall. “It’s about taking whatever opportunity you’re given and trying to get to the next level with it.”
For more information, call 699-9120 or log onto fightagents.com.
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