Belcher competes in the UFC’s 185-pound division and had a really nice career going until an eye injury sidelined him for 16 months. After a little scare, Belcher is back and returns to action Saturday, September 17th at UFC Fight Night event on Spike TV.
In interviewing him, one of the really cool things I learned is he’s growing an MMA empire down in Mississippi with the Alan Belcher MMA Club. He told me his kickboxing signups for June were among the highest in the country and he’s got nearly 30 employees — something many gym owners would drool at having.
Sometimes I worry about the future of those pro athletes who simply don’t know anything other than the sport they play.
I’m not talking about the megastars or even the next level down. I’m talking about the prospects that get some decent bonuses, have some success and then are dropped with no chance of a comeback.
I worked in pro hockey for a long, long time and saw kids come and go that were absolutely screwed once their playing days were behind them. Without any common sense and a lifetime of having people help them out, many find themselves among society’s most useless assets: entitled without a reason to be so.
I find that MMA athletes, however, are in much better positions.
I think it’s the martial arts background and upbringing, but MMA athletes are truly cut from a different cloth. Belcher is among those destroying the assumption that fighters are just savages in the cage and little else.
He’s a smart guy, as is Mike Swick who I interviewed for August’s FIGHT!. Swick and Roger Huerta are opening up a full MMA school in Thailand and have been busting it out to get it done. Those are just two examples in a sea of guy who value a dollar.
Initially, Belcher was a little difficult to track down because of a crazy schedule, but every time someone answered the phone at the gym, they were friendly and nice. (That’s a good note for any business, by the way.) Overall, the feature was a positive experience and I hope he does well Saturday and in the future. He’s got plenty of time left to get back in the title mix and if it doesn’t happen, I think he’ll be alright.
Plenty of other great features in the issue including the cover story on former WEC 135-pound champ Brian Bowles, Bellator 155-pound champ Eddie Alvarez, Versus reporter Molly Qerim and tons more.