“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. And once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” Harey McCay
The world of combat sports in Houston is entering an age of abundance. As I stated in my very first article for TXMMA, “A myriad of factors and pivotal events have brought many new fans to our sport both nationally and on the local level.”
That much has been evident in the amount of business entities now operating and cohabitating in the city. At the promotional level, you have IXFA and Legacy FC sharing space. There are also countless apparel and service providers around. Even with MMA-focused media, there are entities like TheCageDoor.net and more combining with us here at TXMMA.com to bring the local combat sports the coverage it deserves.
They say success is a product of timing plus opportunity. With that philosophy in mind, maybe it’s high time for entrepreneurs seeking to make their mark in this industry to make a move as it graduates from infancy.
One person seeking to advantage of the current business climate is a man by the name of Brett Boyce.
Brett Boyce and his Personal History with Mixed Martial Arts
Arriving in Houston by way of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, Brett is originally from New Orleans, where he worked in marketing for big names like Warner Brothers and NBC. Stating the combat sports way of working out seemed more interesting than time spent on a treadmill, Boyce eventually found his way to Scott Sullivan’s Bam Bam Martial Arts, caught the jiu-jitsu bug, and has trained every day he could ever since. Now a two-stripe purple belt, Brett has been also assisted in teaching for the better part of two years now.
With an abundance of knowledge through time spent with Sullivan, Fadi Khouri, and others on a limited basis such as Dean Lister, Robert Drysdale, and Frost Murphy, Brett has naturally evolved into helping fighters sharpen up for MMA competition as well. First it was with (one of this Friday’s Legacy Amateur Series fighters) Cody Phillips through his first two MMA wins, but that mentorship has also extended to others like Alex Black; Jason Sullivan; Justin Reiswerg; Chico Young, and more. “I know I’m not the end-all, be-all for these fighter and I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel for these guys but I love it (helping them) and when they learn a lot, I have a good time,” says Boyce.
That passion for both training and teaching, combined with an accumulated history of business tenacity, spurred Brett Boyce to enter into the combat sports business. According to him, it was an eventuality. “I was a white belt going to my first tournament. I’m not going to say which one but we sat around for long time waiting to compete and I thought it was ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.” Says Brett. “I looked at my instructor and said Scott, I can do a thousand times better than this. ‘Let’s do it.’ Was Scott’s reply and it all went from there.”
Brett Boyce – The Tournament Promoter
Brett would go on to host the Houston Jiu-Jitsu Championships a short time later, a tournament which had about 350 competitors and presented such challenges as his computerized bracketing system breaking down, which resulted in the first-timer having to run it by hand, a trial by fire indeed.
Since then, Brett Boyce has sought to continuously streamline his processes and make his World Grappling Circuit tournaments even better.
“If anyone knows anything about my tournaments, the key is efficiency. I don’t mess around. You hear it in my voice. I’m not one of these guys that will get on the microphone and say (meekly), “hey guys… we’ll be starting a division in ten minutes and then disappear for a half hour.” I’m more like, “get to your spot NOW, let’s go!” I’m only like that because I don’t want guys hanging out to seven o’clock at night. That’s not what I would want as a competitor and that’s not why I started my company.
When it comes to promoting tournaments, Brett says a lot of promoters forget one important fact. “I am business. Those grapplers are my customers.” Brett says. “They’re not my cattle… they’re not my students… those are my customers. So if I don’t have customer satisfaction, what kind of business am I running? I think a lot of people forget that and tell grapplers basically, “I’m going to take your money and you’ll wait ten hours in a cold gym freezing and dehydrated and deal with it.” I don’t like seeing that.
Another important differentiator Boyce mentions for his burgeoning tournaments through World Grappling Circuit, in concert with partner Seth Daniels of Fight to Win, is price. He says no other tournament circuit offers tournaments putting out 400-600 grapplers and still offering $40-60 prices for pre-registration. “I had somebody tell me they registered for a recent tourney and it cost them $97 for one division. I get it and that’s great that some of these bigger tournaments are coming to Texas. It’s great exposure for the state but for your run-of-the-mill kid looking to grapple year-round, that’s a lot of money. As far as circuits go, we’re going to keep trying to put together affordable tournaments year-round.”
Speaking of this goal and the ability to host so many tournaments, I asked Brett about his partnership with Seth since these guys appear like night and day based on outward appearance. “Seth ran tournaments in Colorado and I ran them here,” said Brett. “We actually talked and bounced ideas off one another for a long time. Then he mentioned wanting to come out and hold tournaments out here, so I said sure man, I’ll come support. So he and I used to talk all the time to make sure we weren’t stepping on each other’s toes where we would actually hold tournaments away from each other. That started getting tedious with staying away from each other and everybody else so one day we had the conversation where we kind of laid out the idea of joining forces in doing tournaments and just doing more of them.” That was the start of the F2W/WGC partnership.
To this day, Brett says, he and his work spouse have never actually sat down and devised duties. “I remember my old boss from New Orleans would always say, ‘He who closest to the broom should push it.’ And that’s it, whatever needs to be done, we both do it. If he can, he does and if I can, I do. As far as our tournaments go, usually, he drives in and does a great job of setting all the stuff up. He ends with putting together the brackets and tournament day is me.”
As far as usual challenges with these tournaments, Brett only mentioned one and it should be no surprise to those who have competed at his event. “The most frustrating thing to me, and I understand coaching teammates and all that is, if you’ve paid to compete, then compete. And that means… staying by your mats. I could shave a half hour off my time if my grapplers could just stay by their mats. When the division starts, stay by your mats. Besides that, it’s been good. Most grapplers I’ve come across are very respectful. Even when people get heated, and I understand blood boils when we compete and you might fly off the handle and I get it, everything else has a pleasure. I’m glad I’m doing something I enjoy.”
F2W/WGC Circuit – 2011 Remaining Schedule
- March 5th – Austin Open (Austin, TX)
- April 23th – Texas State Championships (Houston, TX)
- June 25th – Fightworld USA Grappling Championships (Dallas, TX)
- July30th – Currently Unnamed Event. (Houston, TX)
- October 1st – Currently Unnamed Event. (Austin, TX)
- Nov 12th – The 4th Annual Atama Open (Houston, TX)
Born to Fight, Made to Win
Aside from his efforts as a tournament promoter within the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling realm, Brett recently announced a foray into the Mixed Martial Arts side of combats sports with a new entity, labeled ‘Made to Win.’
According to Brett, the focus of this new business will be two-fold. The first portion will be on the apparel side (gi’s, fight shorts, rashguards, etc.) and will be in support of the F2W/WGC tournaments. He says this upcoming clothing line with be geared straight out of the Brett Boyce motto. “It’s not going to be the most expensive price and it’s not going to be the cheapest design. It’s going to be good, affordable equipment you can use every day.”
The second part of the business will focus on fighter management, helping his athletes get fights, sponsorship, etc. It’s something he’s done naturally with guys over at Bam Bam and he mentioned that it finally got to the point where he needed to make a business decision and capitalize on the management side while doing well for people. “My goal right now is to keep the management small so I can determine and give everyone my just attention and deliver.”
As far coming up with the name, Brett says it was something his girlfriend Shari came up with, “Born to fight, Made to win.” So there it was.
Speaking of Shari Morgan, its noteworthy that Boyce’s better half is making moved of her own, having just landed a national ad campaign with Defense Soap. She’ll be on their next national ad campaign in Fight! Magazine. Besides that, she and Brett are working together to introduce a whole new aspect to what promoters should be expecting from the ring girl aspect of the business. According to them, this side of things should also be with a core focus on sales and marketing in addition to just bringing in pretty to keep butts in the seats. “We’re working on bringing a whole new level of this to the forefront and Shari will be right in front it. She will also be a spokesperson for Made to Win as well. Partners in life, partners in business, it seems.
Famous Last Words From Brett Boyce
Thanks to Shari Morgan for all her help and support. I’d also like to thank my partner Seth Daniels and my mentor Scott Sullivan for everything they do.
Also, I know this is cheesy or corny but I really want to thank the MMA and BJJ Community because they’ve been so supportive. I love when I go to fights and people come up to me and talk to me about what they like or dislike about my tournaments. I love when people talk to me and give me suggestions and stuff on what they like or what we can do better. I love it and I want to be an intricate part of the scene. Lastly, I really want to thank guys like yourself for making it possible to get our names out there.
Brett Boyce can be reached through his website at www.worldgrapplingcircuit.com. The Made to Win website will be up soon starting on the management side with apparel set for competition within the next 90 to 120 days.
Shari Morgan can be reached through her own website at www.sharimorgan.com.