So, as you all know I just recently made it onto the National Team. There will be lots of exciting travailing opportunities and I’ll be training a whole lot more, so I decided it was time to put my nose to the grindstone, start marketing myself and get some sponsors. I want to take the year off, training with the team and travel. Unfortunately I’m not one of those “born into wealth, athletic kids” so I have to figure out a way to make some extra cash or go around begging.
So last week I thought I’d struck gold when a colleague had passed along a contact for a sports agent. I called him that day and had set up a meeting to have coffee with him the following day. I got dressed up in my slickest pair of Lululemon track pants, did my hair in a slick ponytail and applied the minimum amount of makeup for a female athlete who had that “I’m trying, but not to hard” look. I took the bus downtown and got to the chosen coffee shop a half hour early to meet the agent.
When he arrived he swayed in with the air of an athlete himself and he immediately offered to buy me a coffee or loaf. We sat over our non-fat lattes and discussed my running and my stint as a triathlete and marathon runner. We talked about my switch into boxing and all the trials, successes and disappointments that I’ve met along the way. We discussed my recent success (National Team) and my future goals. I was feeling great; I was on fire and making a great first impression. Of course this guy would want to represent me!
At the end of my story he turned to me and said “Well, you’re certainly marketable. I mean you’ve got the look, and people will want to like you and will want you in their clothes, but… your sport isn’t marketable!!” WHAT!! He continued to tell me that boxing was on it’s way out. It was associated with criminals, poor decisions, shady judging, and really, there wasn’t a lot of money to be made there. I mean would Under Armor really want to be associated with a woman in boxing (I’d like to think so). “What you should really do” he told me, “is go check out a few MMA gyms and get into MMA.” He then went on to elaborate how GSP is making millions of dollars, that he has companies lining up to be represented by him – well sure he does, he’s GSP! MMA was the really deal because it wasn’t corrupted like boxing. It was genuine and honest, or at least that’s how it appears.
“Jaime, if you pick up MMA and you’re good at it you could make a ton of money! You could get deals with Band-aid. Just imagine you fighting and then a close up of you with a little Band-Aid on your pretty face! People will be going nuts to buy Band-Aid!”
OMG, I was sold! I was going to give up boxing, pick up MMA, become the next female world champ in the UFC and the new face of Band-Aid! Oh yes, I was going to do it! I left that meeting with a plan to make millions, a good solid plan!
As I walked down the street thinking about how I was going to pull this off it suddenly occurred to me; I don’t want to make millions, and I defiantly don’t want to fight MMA! I want to box! I love boxing. I want to travel internationally and box other women who have worked as hard as I have. I want to make it to the world and have a chance to compete. Money has never mattered to me, which is one of the reasons I’ve stayed amateur (that, and I think the sport is more honest – as soon as money is involved this go a bit sideways.
I seriously had to laugh at myself. I’ve spent the last 7 years of my life boxing. I’ve spent five of those years fighting, trying to better myself and trying to get a spot on the National Team, and now that I have finally done that I, for a split second, was ready to throw it all away and switch sports! Just because someone thought they could market me better! Oh dear.
What’s even funnier is that there is NO money in women’s MMA, yet. And by the time there will be I’ll be to old to compete. There is no women’s division in the UFC, there are more boxing gyms then MMA gyms in BC and BC isn’t even sanctioned to hold pro MMA cards… Ha!
I realized that really, what I’m looking for isn’t endorsements, or money, or even an agent. I want sponsors who will help me further my training and achieve my goals. I want to have a close relationship with these sponsors and I want to believe and support them as much as they do me. So armed with this realization I’m off again, this time for my sport, not my wallet or my ego!