The topic of fighter pay once again dominates mixed martial arts, given the recent comments by UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. More and more fighters seem to realize that the fight game is no guarantee of providing a comfortable lifestyle, and it might behoove more of them to seek employment on the side.
This is exactly what Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight Brendan Allen seems to be doing. While he is full steam ahead in his MMA career, to the tune of a 7-1 overall pro record and a five-fight winning streak, he also continues to pursue a criminal justice degree at Southeastern Louisiana University. However, Allen has no plans to enter the world of law enforcement.
“I wanted to join the FBI at first, but I decided I don’t want to be in an office all day and I wanted to make more money,” Allen told Combat Press. “I decided to go into business with my dad in construction and in real estate. My dad’s done construction since he got out of the military in 2004, and he just started his own business working with a friend and helping to build houses.”
Juggling school and a fighting career would be tough enough. But juggling school, fighting and working in demanding fields like construction and real estate?
“It’s been a tough few years,” Allen admitted. “But I’ve done it since middle school. I just make sure to rest and eat. It’s been hectic with my classes and my schedule and doing a lot of traveling. He kind of pushed me into [construction]. We know guys in law enforcement, and they’re not compensated fairly for the risks they take. This is better for me. I’m more family-oriented.”
Balancing three different career paths has done little to derail Allen’s MMA career. Since his last loss in March 2016, Allen has won five straight fights, all by knockout or submission. Allen’s proclivity for finishes is evident through his amateur and pro career. Out of all of his fights at the amateur and pro levels, only one has gone to a decision.
“I just like being patient, and I like to break the other guy mentally,” Allen said. “I make them just want to try and find a way out of the cage. I think everyone should feel that way, or else I think you’re in the wrong sport.”
Allen’s travels don’t only apply to school, work and fighting. He is also fond of traveling to different camps and gyms as part of his ongoing desire to improve as a fighter.
“I always look to get better each camp,” he said. “I try to improve my skill set, whether I’m facing a lefty or an orthodox striker. I travel to find new training partners, and I’m always picking everyone’s brain. I’ve fought guys from the [United Kingdom] before, and with training elsewhere, it’s cool to see how guys from other places do things.”
“I started at one gym, but left after a few years,” Allen added. “You get different looks with different training partners, and I’m always trying to go to a bigger gym and learn different looks, so the more you try it, the more looks you get. You know the other guy’s reaction and you mold it, and you learn how to react to their reaction.”
Allen is bringing his extensive and diverse training background to LFA 14 on Friday, June 23, when he faces Eryk Anders for the vacant LFA middleweight title. Anders, who is undefeated through seven pro fights, is somewhat similar to Allen, in that only one of his pro victories has gone to a decision. But don’t expect Allen to alter his approach.
“A guy can fight the top 10 in the world, but every fight is different,” Allen said. “He’s just a number to me. I like to train my butt off, and I’m sure he likes to train his butt off. We’ll both enter the cage, and the better man will win.”
While Allen plans to join the family business and maintain his fighting career, he will bring the same approach to both endeavors.
“The real estate business is very competitive, and I don’t like to lose,” Allen said. “But I also like being able to make enough money to make sure everyone gets compensated and I can provide comfort for my family. But I’ll also keep competing until I can’t anymore.”