Payout Exclusive: Interview with Roy Englebrecht and Alliance MMA’s Robert Haydak

June 28, 2017

Alliance MMA continues its expansion of regional promotions.  This month, it announced the acquisition of Roy Englebrecht’s Southern California fight promotion.  MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with Alliance MMA’s President Robert Haydak and Roy Englebrecht.

The acquisition is the largest promotion the publicly traded company has made thus far.  The New York Business Journal reported that the transaction was for the acquisition of the assets of Roy Englebrecht Promotions in a cash and stock deal.  It is the 11th promotion it has acquired in its bid for strategic expansion.  One of the company’s overall goals is to become a feeder league for bigger promotions such as the UFC and Bellator.  It has acquired other ancillary companies such as fighter management company Suckerpunch and ticket company Cage Tix.  Alliance MMA provides infrastructure support to the regional companies while allowing the existing promoters to continue to run the promotion.

“31 years as an independent promoter is enough,” stated Englebrecht of the change.  He will stay on serving in the same capacity for the promotion.  To date, it has 18 fight dates set for this year including boxing/MMA hybrid shows at Fight Club OC at the Hangar in Orange County, California.  He also has two new events, “Rumble on the Water,” at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California and Gladiator MMA which will be held in the LA Coliseum.

Englebrecht will continue to serve as the promotion’s GM and his staff will remain.  This is similar to other acquisitions made by Alliance MMA where they allow the staff to remain in place for a certain amount of time and will make a future decision on the company staffing.

He noted that he is willing to ween off of the MMA/boxing hybrid shows which have been very popular but that decision will be based on Alliance MMA.  Haydak stated that it was his first experience with a hybrid show and was impressed with the event Roy had created.  A decision has yet been made on the fate of Fight Club OC at The Hangar.

Englebrecht was impressed with the professional nature of Alliance MMA which was one of the reasons he decided to sell his promotion.  Alliance MMA first approached Englebrecht at one of his events in December 2016 and then met CEO Paul Danner at another one of his events in 2017.  The two sides exchanged information and after review of documents by the necessary people a deal was made.  The fact that Alliance MMA included Haydak, a former promoter, it made Englebrecht more at ease since they spoke the same language.

“Certainly, their due diligence which made me very comfortable,” said Englebrecht.  Haydak emphasized that Alliance MMA is being meticulous about its mergers and acquisitions.  “Its a very tedious and long process,” explained Haydak of what the company does in looking into acquiring a promotion.  “There is back and forth regarding financial and operations review.”  Out of 60 companies it has reviewed, Englebrecht’s promotion was just the 11th promotion Alliance MMA has purchased.  “It’s just not just jumping on any opportunity,” said Haydak.

The acquisition according to Haydak was based on Roy’s reputation as a promoter and Alliance MMA’s desire to make inroads into Southern California.  “We identified California as a market to get into.”  Alliance MMA also is working with longtime Alliance MMA Gym’s Eric del Fierro to promote fights in the region as well.  However, Alliance MMA does not see any conflict with the two regional promotions in the Southland.  “We’re not concerned about that all.  We’re working on the same purpose,” explained Haydak.

Englebrecht enjoyed his time as an independent promoter but voiced the challenges of being out in the “wilderness.”  “I’m a fan of regional promotions.  In saying that, you still have to do a whole lot.  It’s not like you’re a Golden Boy, UFC or Bellator.”

LA Times features Roy Englebrecht

July 20, 2013

The Los Angeles Times had a feature story on local Southern California promoter Roy Englebrecht.  The story highlights his career in the fight game and how things have changed with the sport of mixed martial arts.

After a career of promoting boxing fights, Englebrecht stumbled upon an MMA show in 2004 and realized that it was something that could grow.  When he began adding MMA bouts to his boxing cards he liked the action and his audience did too.  He noted that his first live MMA gate hit $54,000 whereas his typical boxing card reached an average of $42,000.

Englebrecht’s business has been mainly in California although there have been cards popping up in Washington state.  Some may recall that Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions purchased his business and ran it for a couple years before he took it back over.

Roy Englebrecht

Roy Englebrecht

Payout Perspective:

The LA Times story is an interesting look how a promoter realized the limitations of the market and became a success. While there are tons of regional promotions across the country, some do not succeed because it wants to be the next Bellator or UFC.  Englebrecht’s business model has capitalized on opportunities (e.g., MMA) while restricting its growth.  Englebrecht had balked at iPPVs or renting out big arenas because he wanted his promotions to be top notch and make money.  Outside of the Southland you may not know of Englebrecht’s business, but the Times story is a good weekend read.

SoCal Promoter expresses interest in Spike TV opening

August 29, 2011

Who will replace the UFC when it leaves for the Fox Family? Fight Club OC promoter Roy Englebrecht recently announced that he will be pursuing Spike TV in pitching his company to replace the UFC on the channel.

Via Fight Club OC:

In all due respect to Bellator and Bjorn Rebney, ProElite, and Shark Fights, my company is also interested in approaching Spike TV with our Fight Club OC concept, should Spike TV want to continue in the mixed martial arts business after their relationship with the UFC ends. The UFC on Spike TV has done more to make MMA more mainstream than any other promotion ever created, and while no entity can replace the UFC on Spike TV, any promoter worth his salt would like the challenge of trying.

What Roy Englebrecht Promotions and our Fight Club OC concept has going for us is that we have created a new fight promotions business model that has not lost money on one single show that we have promoted over the past six years, certainly a rarity outside of the UFC.

One only has to visit our www.fightcluboc.com website to see how we do our business and the fact that we have sold out all four Fight Club OC shows in 2011.

We have already registered the Fight Club name in a large number of US markets so to be able to deliver a new Fight Club series to Spike TV from across the nation would not be difficult.

We are currently working on a presentation to deliver to Spike TV executives in the near future.

Southern California promotion launches Fight Club OC TV

August 22, 2011

Southern California promotion Fight Club OC is offering its fights online for $4.99. The local promotion’s success has given itself a reason to try to expand to a broader audience.

Fight Club OC offers monthly boxing and MMA bouts in a small, but well-attended venue in Costa Mesa, California.

Via Fight Club OC:

“After just four shows in 2011 the buzz surrounding the launch of Fight Club OC has been tremendous,” said (Fight Club OC promoter Roy) Englebrecht. “We have more media covering the shows than ever before, our 10 All Inclusive VIP Suites are sold out, we have our largest number of merchandise vendors ever, and our Fight Club OC Outdoor Cigar Lounge was packed the whole night, so I made the decision that this unique night of fight action needs to be available to fight fans all over the world, and we decided to launch Fight Club OC TV and boy did we ever pick the right night.”

Payout Perspective:

This is the next step for regional promotions. Fight Club OC’s use of the internet is a good way of broadening its audience. Even if you aren’t in Southern California, you can watch fights online and for a reasonable price. For Fight Club OC, if the online fights are successful, it could look to sell advertising and/or sponsorship for Fight Club OC TV.

OC Promoter promoting four events in 48 hours

May 18, 2011

Roy Englebrecht of Fight Club OC will be promoting four events in 48 hours this weekend in Southern California. He will be doing two shows Thursday, one on Friday and another Saturday.

Via Fight Club OC press release:

This marathon run of shows begins on Thursday, May 19th with two, yes, two shows on the same evening. Englebrecht will promote two private shows, the Rumble On The Range at Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank and the NAIOP Night At The Fights at the Hyatt Regency Irvine, and will split his staff so that both shows will be covered. Both of these private shows are sold out. Then on Friday, May 20th they will be the lead promoter in a co promotion with Golden Boy Promotions for a Fight Club OC Special Edition show to air on Telefutura, from The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center. A crowd of 1,200 is expected for this show. The 48 hour run will end on Saturday night May 21st with the first Fight Club OC all MMA show co promoting with BAMMAUSA, also from The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center, where a crowd of 1,000 is expected.

Payout Perspective:

Its always interesting to see the viability of local promotions and it appears that the SoCal scene is doing well. With four shows in 48 hours, Fight Club OC may be stretching itself out but it seems like there is a market for both boxing and MMA. The co-promotions with Golden Boy and BAMMA are good signs that the quality of fights should be competitive and entertaining.

SoCal promoter introduces Fight Club OC

December 20, 2010

Longtime Southern California promoter Roy Engelbrecht will introduce Fight Club OC to SoCal fight fans for 2011. Fight Club OC will be a bi-monthly event with boxing and MMA on the same card.

Engelbrecht promoted the “Battle in the Ballroom” series in Irvine, California. With Fight Club OC, he is moving the promotion to The Hangar, a larger venue in Costa Mesa, California.

From Fight Club OC’s press release:

In addition to the mix of the two most popular combat sports in the world today, Englebrecht is also using this new venture to raise the bar in terms of how fans enjoy live events, including becoming the first fight series ever to offer All-Inclusive Ringside Luxury Suites, a separate entrance and parking lot for Season Seat Holders and sponsors, and a special Happy Hour event at Baja Blues right next to The Hangar!

It is anticipated that the events will be held ever Thursday starting in February 2011.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting concept for a local promotion. Boxing and mixed martial arts (especially MMA) are very popular in Southern California. It will be interesting to see the attendance figures for the bi-monthly fight series. Of course, the attendance and success will be dependent on the quality of fights.

I am interested with the luxury suite component of this promotion. I was not aware of a demand for luxury suites at local events. If this is a way to get in spectators, especially the up-scale OC crowd, then I think this idea can work.

Englebrecht to Film Reality TV Show at Next MMA/Boxing Event

December 14, 2009

Roy Englebrecht, perhaps California’s most successful MMA/Boxing promoter, has divulged that he will be filming the pilot episode for a reality TV show called “The Promoter:”

“The Promoter”

Reality Show Pilot To Be Taped

 

Newport Beach, CA: When Southern California fight promoter Roy Englebecht promotes his first ever hybrid Battle In The Ballroom boxing and mixed martial arts two day extravaganza this coming Thursday and Friday, December 17th and 18th at the Irvine Marriott hotel, besides having to direct the entire two day operation, he and his three person staff will be trailed for three days by a Southern California production company, taping every move, every command, every decision, and every situation they make. It is all part of a new reality show pilot that is being created for a 2010 show to be called The Promoter.

 

“I was approached about four years ago by a producer who knew I did about 20 shows a year, and because I was a successful hands-on club/minor league fight promoter, he felt that what I did show-in and show-out would make a great reality show,” said Englebrecht. “But I really didn’t feel comfortable having camera crews follow me around 24/7, plus I didn’t want to bring so much attention to myself. But now that I have a company with four full time employees, plus now we are finally combining both boxing and mma on our Battle In The Ballroom shows and enjoying our best year ever, my staff told me we needed to do this, so I said OK.”

 

“I can’t say much more about what is happening regarding this project, but the producer and production company have been in pitch meetings with several networks and the interest is there,” explained Englebrecht. “They feel that with the all the shows we do, like the Battle In The Ballroom and other venues such as HP Pavilion, San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, the Orange County Fair and Big Fresno Fair, plus my Fight Promoter University sessions, that there is enough content to create and sustain a reality show series.”

 

Big crowds are expected at both shows this week and Englebrecht’s matchmaker Arnold Berber has put together two nights of exciting fights so the energy in the room should make for good television. Doors open on both nights at 6:30pm with the first bout set for a 7:30pm walk in. Tickets can be purchased online at www.battleintheballroom.com.

Payout Perspective:

Englebrecht has made a name for himself as one of the most reliable and consistent promoters in the country, much less the state. He’s run his Battle in the Ballroom show for years, added an MMA Fist series recently, and was the official promoter of record for each of Affliction’s two shows.

He’s also known to push the limits in regards to marketing promotion: trying to capitalize on the “clunkers” buzz in California with his own variation of the promotion last year (only involving tickets to his events), and now the reality show.

If done properly, the reality show would offer his promotion the chance at some great PR. It would also be a great teaching tool for young and old promoters alike – those looking to improve what they already do. However, it remains to be seen whether the episodes will turn out, and whether any significant network will pick up the show. That will be Roy’s biggest test.

First-Ever Pro Mixed Martial Arts League Announced

October 28, 2009

Major League Baseball has the minor leagues; the NBA has the D-League; the NHL has the AHL; and the NFL has college football.

All the major sports leagues have “feeder systems” and now Southern California fight promoter and sports entrepreneur Roy Englebecht has decided that mixed martial arts also needs its own legitimate minor league system.

In an effort to help develop the next generation of MMA stars while providing investors a chance to own their own professional sports franchise, Englebrecht announced Wednesday the launch of the Professional Mixed Martial Arts League (PMMAL).

Set to begin play in early 2010, the PMMAL (www.pmmal.com) will award charter ownerships to teams in eight specific areas including six Southern California counties and Las Vegas.

“The time has finally arrived for mixed martial arts and for the PMMAL,” stated Englebrecht. “As a club promoter of MMA since it was approved in California in 2006, I know first-hand the struggle young fighters have in trying to get fights, and the major struggles small mixed martial arts promoters encounter just trying to promote a show, give the fighters and fans a good experience, and most important — hopefully turn a small profit.

“Now with the Professional Mixed Martial Arts League, some of the best young MMA fighters competing today can be part of a team, know when and where they will fight each month, and be paid and treated like the professional athletes they are.”

As one of the founding owners of arguably one of the most successful minor league baseball franchises ever, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Englebrecht knows what it takes to make a professional team organization work and how owners can run a profitable pro sports team business.

“I know the fun and profitability that an investment in a professional sports team can provide,” he stated. “I know about the dreams of most every sports fan to be just like Jerry Jones, Jerry Buss, Arte Moreno, or George Steinbrenner and own a pro sports team, as I realized that dream with the Quakes. Now the dream of owning a professional sports team can become a reality with the purchase of a PMMAL team.

“Having the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of any business is worth its weight in gold, so buying in as a charter owner of a PMMAL team, involving the hottest pro sport today, is an unbelievable opportunity and one that should not be missed by anyone.”

The PMMAL concept will see qualified owners awarded a team and have exclusive territorial rights in seven regions; San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Las Vegas.

The eight team league will be broken up into two conferences, the Ocean Conference consisting of San Diego County, Orange County South, Los Angeles County and Ventura County, and the Desert Conference comprised of Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Las Vegas and Orange County North. Each PMMAL team will be allowed to select 14 fighters in a League Draft scheduled for December of 2009.

Each PMMAL team will also play an eight event regular season schedule once a month beginning in February of 2010, with four home events and four away events, and all eight teams qualifying for the quarterfinals of the PMMAL Championships starting in October. Four teams will advance to the semifinals in November and two teams will compete in the Inaugural PMMAL Championship in December. PMMAL fighters will earn a minimum of $10,000 per year, and can earn upward of $25,000 per year.

“I am extremely grateful to the UFC, to Strikeforce, and  to M-1 Global for what they have done to grow mixed martial arts in America and the world over during the past ten years,” said Englebrecht. “I just felt that if the sport of MMA was to really become mainstream and greatly enlarge its footprint to consumers, sponsors, and regulatory bodies that a minor league system needed to be established. Over the past three years, young MMA fighters just didn’t have the proper stage to perform on, and that club promoters had great difficulty in making it a viable business. Now with the PMMAL in place their will finally be a platform in place so that fighters who dream of one day competing in the UFC or Strikeforce can see their dreams come true, thanks to the Professional Mixed Martial Arts League.”

Persons interested in acquiring a PMMAL team, or fighters interested in competing in the 2010 PMMAL season and entering the PMMAL draft, can get necessary information and documents at the Official Professional Mixed Martial Arts League website at www.pmmal.com, or by contacting Roy Englebrecht at pmmalroy@aol.com.

Contact: Roy Englebrecht

pmmalroy@aol.com

949-760-3131 – O

714-429-7903 – F

Englebrecht Offers Tickets For Clunkers

August 10, 2009

Leave it to fight promoter Roy Englebrecht to take advantage of every possible way to sell tickets or get people to his shows, and the current Cash For Clunkers program is no exception.

Adding a new wrinkle to the present Government program, Englebrecht announced today that for this Saturday’s, August 15th SummerFist 3 Mixed Martial Arts show at the Irvine Marriott, he will have a TICKETS FOR CLUNKERS program, whereby anyone driving a Clunker to the show gets a Free $45 Ticket! Their will be a special Tickets For Clunker area at the Irvine Marriott main entrance where drivers of their Clunkers can check in for their free ticket.

An automobile qualifies for the Tickets For Clunkers offer if it get 18 MPG or less, and has to be no more than 25 years old.

The SummerFist 3 show features seven pro mma bouts, with doors opening at 6:30pm and first bout at 7:30pm. Tickets are priced at $40, $45, or $50 and are available online at www.battleintheballroom.com.

Worlds Collide Boxing/MMA Hybrid a Success

February 18, 2009

Mixed events featuring boxing and MMA are a growing trend in combat sports. Veteran promoter Roy Englebrecht debuted his hybrid concept “The Worlds Collide” last Saturday at Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino in Primm, Nevada. The six show series features a pair of 24 man tournaments with the winners taking home $175,000.

Englebrecht called the first event a success with a reported attendance of 3,919 and a gate of $58,280.  The show featured an alternating format (boxing, then MMA, boxing etc.) with a total of 8 bouts.

The next event in the series is scheduled for Saturday, April 18. For more information click here.