Aspiring mixed martial artists find few better places to establish themselves than in the fight capitol of the world, Las Vegas.
Once you’re established, though, it’s nice to get a break from the hum of Sin City.
That’s why the fighters of Team Takedown, one of the sport’s more unique management firms, recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that they’re turning over a new leaf in the Lone Star State.
“We want everything right there where we’re at,” Team Takedown co-founder Ted Erhardt said. “That’s because now we’re really going to push forward and start to grow this thing that we’ve seen is proven.”
Erhardt said the team plans to move its base of operations from Vegas to a 30,000 square-foot training center in Arlington, Texas. Takedown coach Marc Laimon is also relocating and plans to coach the team’s fighters while opening a satellite branch of his Las Vegas-based Cobra Kai jiu-jitsu academy within the center.
“I think we’re in a situation now where it’s the right time to grow and expand the brand,” Laimon said.
Team Takedown took root in March 2007 when it signed collegiate wrestling standouts Jake Rosholt, Johny Hendricks and Shane Roller to seven-year management deals. In a model unique to MMA, team members earn a salary and have their living and training expenses paid in exchange for half of their fight earnings. It costs about $450,000 per year to support each fighter, according to Erhardt.
The fighters have found modest success in the transition from wrestling to MMA. Rosholt (7-2) is rebuilding after a three-fight stint in the UFC in which a win over the hot-and-cold Chris Leben was sandwiched in between losses to Kendall Grove and Dan Miller. Roller (8-3 MMA, 5-2 WEC) earned a top spot in the WEC’s lightweight division but twice has fallen short in title eliminator matches, most recently against red-hot Anthony Pettis earlier this month at WEC 50.
So far, Hendricks (9-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is the breakout star of the group and holds an unblemished record, which includes a four-fight win streak in the UFC.
However, thanks in part to Team Takedown, they’ve all found success on the sport’s biggest stages much more quickly than most MMA newcomers.
Erhardt said, theoretically, the company needs just one of its fighters to make it to the UFC’s upper echelons in order to be profitable.
“Our hopes and our projections are starting to come around now, where the guys are going to start making enough money where they’re paying for themselves and paying back to Team Takedown so that we can add on some younger guys,” he said. “We’re going to add on some really solid wrestlers in the future.
“There’s a couple more investors, so we’re really going to try to up the size of Team Takedown.”
Erhardt said he’s also working on getting Las Vegas-based striking coach Ken Hahn to make the move to Texas in the near future.
Laimon said he’s turned down several offers to train fighters outside of Las Vegas but believes Team Takedown is the right fit.
“Going to Texas and working with these guys, it’s unbelievable,” Laimon said. “You’ve seen how Johnny and Jake and (Jake’s brother and three-time All-American wrestler) Jared (Rosholt) have been progressing, and it’s a dream come true.”