Since its notorious early days in the early nineties, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has become a billion dollar world-wide phenomenon. MMA is a full-contact sport where fighters can strike their opponent using various punches, kicks, grappling and submission techniques. MMA fighters train in various martial arts including Muay Thai, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Wresting. Many of the top MMA fighters, like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture have gone onto lucrative careers in the entertainment industry.
To groom the next generation of MMA superstars, a new breed of sports management company has come of age. Iridium Sports Agency (ISA) is a full service sports agency, specializing in obtaining and negotiating opportunities for client fights, sponsorships and branding opportunities. ISA currently manages over 60 clients; some of their leading clients include Ian McCall, Bobby Green and Joe Soto.
The individual behind the success of ISA is Iridium CEO and founder – Jason House. Jason graduated from Whittier Law School in June 2009. Jason originally had aspirations to become an ADA with the Riverside County District Attorney’s office in Southern California. Unfortunately, his opportunity to become a public prosecutor was placed on hold when he was informed that due to budgetary constraints, all hiring was frozen in the Riverside DA’s office. Jason’s father encouraged him to take this setback as an opportunity to pursue his interests in MMA. Jason had trained for quite some time with Team Oyama a MMA gym in Irvine, California. There he developed a great love and respect for the sport. With his father’s encouragement and assistance, Jason started his pursuit of becoming a successful MMA sports agent.
After taking the bar exam in July 0f 2009, Jason quickly began to network with contacts he made as an undergraduate at the University of La Verne, where he playedg baseball on the University’s conference winning team. Through these contacts and his love of the sport, Jason signed his first six clients that summer. The clients took a major risk with Jason because he could not legally represent them until he received notice that he passed the California Bar in November of that year. Jason’s first fight booking was for Liron Wilson, which took him and Liron on an 11 hour road trip for a $600 prize purse. One victory (and a speeding ticket) later and Jason was hooked. There was no turning back to the 9 to 5 white collar world.
LIM: What was your first year in business like? What were the biggest challenges?
Jason: My first year in business was very exciting; it was a period in my career where I was learning on the go. I was working all day at the agency and then serving tables at Outback Steakhouse at night to make ends meet. I learned a lot about the discipline it takes to own your own company. More importantly, I learned about the patience it takes to start a company from ground zero. I cherish the memories I have from that first year in business, some of the best times of my life. I really owe a lot to my father because he gave me so many pep talks during those early days. He really helped me to stay motivated and focused on those early mornings and long nights.
LIM: What advice would you give attorneys looking to start their own firm?
Jason: I would tell them to be process oriented, not result oriented. When you enjoy the process and focus on the day to day tasks, the results will come naturally. Being disciplined and staying organized are also keys to starting your own firm.
LIM: What are your plans for Iridium in the next five years?
Jason: The next five years at ISA are going to be very exciting ones. We will continue to grow our company by signing the top talent around the world. Moreover, we will continue to procure sponsorships and endorsements from the biggest companies in the world today. By constantly striving to seek new opportunities for our clients, we will ensure that we will never settle on yesterday’s success. I am very blessed to have Jeremy Luchau and Steven Valentine on our team. They do a great job for our clients and are constantly striving to improve our agency in every faucet of our program.
LIM: If you had a second chance to start your business over, with the knowledge you have now, what would you have done differently?
Jason: Nothing. Every adversity has been an opportunity to develop character. I am thankful for the pressure this career brings, as diamonds are only formed through immense pressure and heat.