American Fighter has been in the mixed martial arts’ world for a number of years and one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s biggest stars, Rich “Ace” Franklin, is at the front of the company.
Franklin’s business manager, JT Stewart, has played a vital role in helping to build his career and the American Fighter brand. When the relationship first began between the three of them, Stewart was working with numerous professional athletes.
“In the beginning, I got hooked up with American Fighter and Rich was a little later in the mix,” Stewart said. “I was actually representing NFL players and Nascar drivers at the time, when someone told me that American Fighter wanted to sponsor a Nasser truck and I happened to representing a kid who was a truck driver. So, I sat down with Jeff (Adler) and he told me all about American Fighter and then we talked about how to market American Fighter. I told them why don’t you retain me, we talked about it, I threw a number out and after they checked my references they said okay we want to work with you and that’s how it how started.”
From then to now, Stewart, American Fighter President Jeff Adler, and Franklin have grown to be like family and according to Stewart his biggest enjoyment comes from working day-to-day with them.
“The funnest stuff from day-to-day is interacting with Rich and Jeff, these guys have become like brothers to me.”
Franklin, who has had one of the most successful mixed martial arts’ careers of anyone in the sport, has also found success in other avenues such as the movie industry. A part of his career outside the Octagon that he feels Stewart has greatly supported him in.
“Quite honestly, at times JT has had more faith in me than I have had in myself when it comes to other avenues of business,” Franklin said. “With that being said, I would love for things to happen in such a manner where he ends up making really good money based off the things he and I do together. I’d like to see that happen and like I said, he definitely had more faith in me than I had in myself when it came to the movie process and that type of stuff.”
A major building block for any successful relationship, whether it is personal, business, or both is trust and that is what Stewart has formed with Franklin and Adler through the years.
“He (Rich), Jeff, and I work together well and we make things happen,” Stewart explained. “The thing that really makes this whole thing work is trust.”
Of course, each gentleman has their own duties and Stewart’s schedule is far from relaxing as he spent in excess of 100,000 miles in the air in 2010 and clocks a full schedule throughout the day when home in Cincinnati.
“Everything runs through me, that way Rich doesn’t have to deal with any of it,” Stewart explained. “For example, I travel with Rich when he does appearances and he never has to go by himself. I did 120,000 miles last year flying just on appearances and we probably did 50 appearances easy. When I’m home, in the morning I see what’s important and pertinent and respond to my emails, try to go to the gym, and come back home. It’s all day long, my phone is glued to my ear and it’s all making sure that Rich is taken care of.”
Stewart’s hard work and passion for his career and the careers around him has paid huge dividends and with a professional of his caliber involved the sky is the limit.
For additional information on Stewart and more follow him on Twitter.