Leading into this weekend’s UFC on ESPN+ 13 event, California’s Team Alpha Male will be garnering plenty of headlines, and rightfully so. But there’s another crew just down the road that hopes to have a little more spotlight after the promotion’s visit to Sacramento.
MMAGOLD owner and founder Dave Hirschbein believes that nine years after founding the team, Saturday’s event is a chance to celebrate what the group has achieved thus far.
“I have the greatest amount of respect for our coaches, as they donate so much of their personal time without asking for a single dime for the past decade,” Hirschbein told MMA Junkie.
Hirschbein and MMAGOLD head trainer Jim West partnered together shortly after the team’s inception, and the pair have since brought in additional specialty coaches, such as Alex Grunder and Justin Durham for wrestling, Ryan Brown for jiu-jitsu, Jake Dougandara for muay Thai, Mike Guy for boxing and Doug Casebeir for strength and conditioning.
On Saturday, one of the team’s homegrown products, undefeated women’s bantamweight contender Aspen Ladd (8-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), takes on former UFC champ Germaine de Randamie (8-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) in the headliner of UFC on ESPN+ 13, which streams live on ESPN+ from Golden1 Center.
“I’m very pleased with what has been slowly built over the years with our coaching staff,” Hirschbein said. “Those MMAGOLD fighters that have stayed the course and believed in our training and management system, along with cross training, their results speak for themselves.
“Aspen started with us when she was 17. She had trained a few years of ‘jits prior to joining us, but that’s it. She is 100 percent built from the ground up to the world class levels we are all witnessing.”
MMAGOLD calls Urban Sprawl Fitness home, a 22,000-square foot facility about 30 miles east of Sacramento in El Dorado Hills, Calif. While Ladd is at the top of the bill on Saturday, the team also has athletes such as Max Griffin Anthony Hernandez, Andrea Lee and Marion Reneau on the client list, as well.
“We have 32 fighters on our roster,” Hirschbein said. “Five are in the UFC. Two are in Invicta. We encourage MMAGOLD fighters to cross-train with other teams for additional looks, whether they are managed by us solely or train with us full-time.”
Hirschbein said he believes the team’s policies have fostered growth, as have the efforts to build a farm system of sorts known as the MMAGOLD Development Team, run by coach Nick Gonzalez, where fighters are trained from the ground up and eventually graduate to the MMAGOLD Fight Team.
Oh, and those fighters can take that journey for free, save for the cost of the blood, sweat and tears it’s going to take to achieve their goal.
“There is no money exchanged at MMAGOLD between fighters and coaches, including management fees – absolutely none,” Hirschbein said. “We’ve all done it for free for the past decade, as we are passionate about MMA and helping to build champions.
“Once an athlete makes the UFC roster, at that point is when we ask for 5 percent of the fighter’s show and win purse only, but never do we take any of a fighter’s bonus money.”
Prior to reaching the UFC, Hirschbein asks that if fighters can afford to pay $100 each month to the team to help cover expenses, they do so. If they can’t, Hirschbein says, it’s not an issue, and the athlete will still have access to what he bills as “a complete in-house system” that includes management services for fight bookings, sponsorships and media, along with the cost of training.
Hirschbein prefers to largely remain behind the scenes, which is why the team doesn’t have any of its own social media accounts. Even MMAGOLD’s website is little more than a landing page, which he said really only exists to get in touch with potential prospects.
It is all sounds a little too good to be true, Hirschbein understands. For nine years, he said he’s met doubters and people that don’t fit into the system he’s tried to create, but he intends to stay the course.
“We do this because we love it,” Hirschbein said. “The system works.”
- After ATT snub, Colby Covington wants to leave Robbie Lawler in pool of his own blood
- Report: Kron Gracie vs. Cub Swanson added to UFC on ESPN+ 19
- Hunter Azure not happy with performance despite earning UFC deal at DWCS 19
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: MMAGOLD founder: Grass-roots program paying off with big UFC on ESPN+ 13 slot for Aspen Ladd