After the wedding we returned home to Indianapolis and I resumed training at Godsey’s barn. I was excited to tell the fellas about our trip and all of the wonderful people we met. I took the photos and all of the business cards with me to the barn to show all of my friends.
At this point, I was still a sub-prime mortgage Loan Officer, so the guys at the barn knew that I could handle myself on the phone and could decipher legal documents to some extent.
When everyone found out all of the people we had met a funny thing happened. Leo Sylvest had started training at the barn around the time I started and he asked me if I could get him a fight. I had never done it before but figured it couldn’t be that hard so I said I would. And that my friends is how I became a manager.
I ended up contacting Brad Kohler (UFC: Ultimate Japan & UFC 22) with Ultimate Wrestling Minnesota and booked Leo a fight.
After booking Leo’s fight Jason Godsey asked me if I wouldn’t mind finding him a fight! “Are you kidding me” I said, “of course I’ll find you a fight”.
I contacted Brad Kohler again and booked Jason against an up and coming heavyweight by the name of Travis Wiuff. Basically, it was a UFC qualifying match if you will.
By this time I had talked to Joe Silva about Godsey returning to the UFC, and Brad had talked to them about Travis as well. They had an opening in November at UFC 40 against Vladimir Matyushenko.
Travis beat Jason in overtime on the scorecards and got the call up. Even though Jason lost we had a good trip, everyone got paid and I learned a lot. I loved the sport so much and booking fights wasn’t very hard for me, so I stuck with it.
I managed to contact Chas Bowling (who would be instrumental in helping my new career) from Muncie, Indiana. Chas promoted the ECC events in Indiana and worked for Monte Cox as well so it was an invaluable connection. I started to work for the other new guys at the barn and would take them to the ECC to get their fight careers started.
Managing just didn’t seem that hard for me. After seeing my success with some of the new guys, UFC vet Chris Lytle asked me if I thought I could help him get back to the UFC. Of course you know me, I said yes.
I contacted Joe Silva again and he told me to get Lytle on a win streak and a “name” win if possible.
I booked Chris vs Aaron Riley in the HookNShoot organization. It was a huge Indiana fight. Chris ended up knocking out Riley that night, but he lost in Pancrase the next month so Joe said to get a couple more.
I booked Chris against UFC vet Laverne Clark in Chicago where he won a decision. Joe said one more, therefore I booked Chris against an up and coming fighter named Chatt Lavender. Chris choked Chatt unconscious in the first round. Now it was time to get back to the big show!
Chris had been targeting a young fighter from Bettendorf, Iowa by the name of Robbie Lawler. He said he wanted to fight Lawler and that he wanted it to be the first fight on the PPV telecast. I relayed the information to Joe Silva and he must have thought it was a good idea because that’s exactly how it played out (I still have a copy of that first UFC contract signed by me, Chris and Dana). Chris lost a decision in a very close and exciting fight.
I should have been delighted, however Chris informed me (a little too late) that he was under contract to Phyliss Lee and would not be paying me my 10% from the Lawler fight. I had no idea.
Needless to say, I was furious and felt used and betrayed. This guy was supposed to be my teammate. I expressed my feelings whole heartedly to no avail. I’m real big on principle. I did the work and spent my own time and money to get Chris this opportunity. I tried to get Godsey to intervene but he backed Chris. So I said “[email protected]%* you guys” and left Integrated Fighting.
I still loved the sport and wanted to stay involved so I kind of started to work as a consultant for promoters. I still remember my first “official” check for $300 from Rob Brainiff and Lee Coates of the FFC. They promoted an event in Elizabeth, IN. and had hired me to help book the card as I knew the region. Several other promoters did the same and I continued to work with Chas as well. I had also gotten to know Chad Wagoner (Indiana’s Cage Rage) well and worked for him as well. I thought I was big time but my career was still only beginning…..