Urijah Faber may be retired, but the squad he founded in Sacramento, Team Alpha Male (TAM), continues to make moves.
Faber announced Monday on The MMA Hour that TAM and California-based charter aviation company Mountain Lion Aviation have partnered together on a new sponsorship deal that paves the way for TAM to enjoy a new “discretionary bonus program, training scholarships, funds for coaching salaries, a life skills training curriculum, and career and financial counseling,” along with “complimentary flights for the fighters and their families to attend fights,” according to a press release.
Faber said the deal was brokered with Mountain Lion Aviation chairman Jim Wilkinson and will help the team transition into its next era following TAM’s recent move into a new 21,000 square foot facility in Sacramento.
“[Wilkinson] stepped up big-time with a substantial sponsorship for our team,” Faber said Monday on The MMA Hour, “including salaries for our coaches, which, we’ve always been a self-funded team where the guys pitch in and pay cash to pay for the coaches. Now we’ll be able to staff, put guys on, make them more comfortable so they can be hands-on a lot more, spend more time with the fighters, be more involved and make the scene even better.
“We’ll have a scholarship program now,” Faber continued. “We’ve got a little bit of a recruiting budget and we have guys that we’re trying to pull in and build the team throughout, from 105-pound girls to the heavyweight guys. We’ve been looking to grow the team and make the best team in the world through and through. He’s also incorporating a discretionary bonus system, which has kind of gone away with the new ownership with the UFC. You may end up with a check in your mailbox — that’s the way it used to be with the UFC.
“We’re incorporating something very similar here, and it’s pretty cool. We already had our first round of our established guys getting rewards, which was pretty cool for them and helped out a lot. … And the last part is we have our own aviation partnership now, so private flights for fight-related things, for friends and family and teammates while we’re going across the west coast on the fight scene, so it’s pretty cool.”
Faber said the free flight program has already paid dividends for one fighter on the team: undefeated flyweight prospect Joseph Morales.
“He had his wife that was pregnant with their first baby,” Faber said, “and he’s 22 years old, and it ended up being a massive fight for him, and Jim was like, ‘hey man, let’s get your girl out there and your mom out there,’ and it ended up being a monumental fight for him. He won the fight, he had the baby two weeks later, and his whole family was there to experience it, so it’s been pretty cool, man. It’s a cutting edge thing that we’re working on here, and it’s exciting on a bunch of different [levels].”
Faber said the team’s current sponsorship deal with Mountain Lion Aviation is for one year, but nonetheless is something Faber expects to last moving forward.
“It’s open-ended,” Faber said. “We definitely have a year deal right now with intent to continue beyond, and we have a lot of big things in the making. So, these things that I’m talking about right now are just kinda small potatoes compared to the things that we’re working on, so we’ll have more announcements as those things unfold. But it’s a perfect time. The new gym that we have, we went from an 8,500 square foot facility that’s been kinda rundown over the last 12 years to a 21,000 square foot facility with all the amenities and an Octagon and so many cool things. So it’s a bright, bright future for Team Alpha Male and we’re excited.
“I think [Mountain Lion Aviation’s] got four or five planes on-call now, and we’ll just go through — they call it the Chief Possibilities Manager, who basically helps us structure our flights when we need them. It’ll be getting our fighters, from the top guys to the lower-tiered guys, to their fights across the West coast primarily, and beyond there in a pretty quick fashion.”