By Jeff Comstock | October 22, 2007
Question: What do you get when you cross Fedor Emelianenko with, a producer of off-Broadway musicals, the agency that represents the world’s greatest tennis players, Monte Cox, and a Scientologist money maven?
Answer: Apparently M-1 Global MMA
It was revealed that Fedor Emenlianenko is signed to a two-year, six-fight term deal with the new company. In the earlier press release it was announced that agent of the MMA stars, Monte Cox would become the promotion’s President & CEO. After that, the details of the venture all become a little bit sketchy.
The other players involved in M-1 Global are a motley crew of unlikely MMA promoters. First up is Mitchell Maxwell (Chairman, M-1 Global). Maxwell is a producer of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Maxwell serves as President, CEO and Director of Sibling Entertainment Group, Inc. It’s a a wholly-owned subsidiary of this company (Sibling Theatricals Inc.) along with mystery partner Garlin Holdings Limited, that are forming the M-1 Global parent company Sibling Sports, LLC.
Bob Clark (President of Sibling theatricals) recently joined Sibling after holding several high level management positions with well known companies. He has obviously been brought in to help guide the fledgling MMA promotion.
The newly formed M-1 Global has also formed a strategic alliance with SFX Media and Events. The connection here is Brian Patton. Patton was personal aide to ProServ founder and CEO Donald Dell. ProServ was acquired in 1999 by SFX Sports Group (SFX Sports was originally purchased by radio giant Clear Channel Communications in its acquisition of SFX Entertainment for $4.5 billion in 2000. Clear Channel Entertainment, the live-concert division of Clear Channel Communications, has since spun off into Live Nation, a separately traded company).
On August 21, 2006 Blue Equity, LLC announced that it has acquired, through an affiliate, three divisions of the SFX Sports Group from parent Live Nation by purchasing the tennis representation, sports media & live sporting events platforms from the world’s leading live entertainment company.
SFX is mostly known for it’s tennis division, where they have represented many of the world’s top players for over 30 years. The SFX Events & Media platform however has already moved into the MMA arena and lists both Elite XC and UFC fighter Houston Alexander as clients. One does not have to play six degrees of separation to find some interesting connections.
Brian Patton recently entered the mixed martial arts world by assisting MMA legend Matt Hughes as a business manager. He has since added Tim Sylvia, Jens Pulver, Robbie Lawler and Jason Black as clients. Patton has obviously worked closely with Monte Cox in his duties with these Cox managed fighters and now finds himself with an executive position with M-1.
Dennis Spencer, Executive Vice President of SFX Media & Events was quoted in the press release as saying:
“We are thrilled to have a strategic alliance with M-1 Global and the outstanding team that Sibling Sports has put together.”
Others listed as holding positions in the company are the former M-1 Mix Fight promoters Vadim Finkelstein, Apy Echteld and Joost Raimond. As Fedor’s management team, as well as being the owners of the Red Devil Sports Club they will obviously contribute to the fighter talent pool and lend their experience from promoting in Europe and Asia.
Gary Kreitz (CPA) is listed on the new M-1 website and will probably act as CFO or in a similar capacity.
The most head-scratching revelation, which was uncovered by Leland Roling of mma-analyst.com, is that Scientologist money maven, Michael Baybak, owns 6.3 million shares in Sibling Entertainment Group Holdings.
Bayback is best known for a settled lawsuit with Time Magazine, over this sidebar which appeared in a negative story about Scientology entitled The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power. The settlement consisted of Time printing a clarification stating that they were not accusing Baybak of illegal activity or of being a “Scientology front.”
Bayback’s involvement is interesting to say the least. Needless to say, M-1 might have no problems with seeding their events VIP section with famous celebrities.
The second partner company, Garlin Holdings Limited (a Jersey private limited company), remains a mystery. On October 16th, Sibling Entertainment Group Holdings, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: SIBE) ["Sibling Holdings"] announced Sibling Theatricals, Inc. ["Sibling Theatricals"], a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sibling Entertainment Group, Inc., signed an agreement with Garlin Holdings Limited to form Richfield Entertainment, LLC, (a Delaware limited liability company) for the purpose of developing and funding new projects.
A week later the same companies form Sibling Sports, LLC for the purpose of creating M-1 Global, LLC, with Garlin Holdings Limited as managing members. I’m interested to see who will be found when the curtain is pulled back on Garlin Holdings.
The other involvement which remains unexplained is that of Marc Ecko. His company has recently gotten into the business of sponsoring fighters to promote his clothing brand. Ecko also hosted the press conference and has some synergy with M-1’s new website as ecotv.com is hosting a video of the press conference.
to be continued…
…and we’re back with some more thoughts and analysis.
M-1 Global obviously has some great assets for a fledgling promotion. Fedor Emelianenko is the world’s best Heavyweight fighter. Monte Cox is one of MMA’s most experienced promoters and managers. M-1 will be the destination of choice for many fighters with current ties to Monte Cox, Echteld and Raimond in Holland and Russia’s Red Devil Sports Club.
They obviously have big plans and one would have to assume big money backers to be planning events all around the world, including the USA, Europe, Russia, Japan, Korea and China, which were all mentioned during the press conference.
M-1 Global is prepared to work with other promoters, so we can expect to see them join with the likes of FEG and Pro Elite to co-promote events. It sounds as if plans are already underway.
Another huge question that will have to be answered before going forward is television. Monte Cox indicated that there has been interest shown by the likes of HBO, Showtime and Mark Cuban’s HDNet.
“We’re looking for a television partner that we hope to get soon,” he said. “That’s going to dictate where we’re going to go and when. The goal is to open in the United States in February and we should have a date and an opponent soon.”
Without television in place, M-1 will never get off the ground. If they can reach a deal with HBO, M-1 Global will become a major player overnight.
The initial roster of fighters should be announced within the next 10 days, which will keep the internet buzzing with rumors for the next week.
This blog about Russian MMA kept a good tally of the news as it came in and helped point me in the right direction a couple times. So thank you to the Russian MMA writer for pointing me to the new M-1 website and press conference video.