MMA Elite CEO and Owner Alden Halpern has officially stepped down as head of the highly successful sports apparel brand.
Halpern will retain ownership and majority share of the company, but has decided to part ways with the MMA industry for personal reasons. Stepping up to fulfill the role of CEO will be current MMA Elite President Steven Jolna. In addition, Lucas Pires will now act as Vice-President of the company.
So why did the CEO of such a hugely successful business step down?
Halpern cites his disappointment with the current state of professionalism in the MMA industry as a major reason for his departure. In an exclusive conversation with Fight Parrot’s Brad Gustafson, Halpern provided some insight into the root cause of his disdain.
I’m tired of the rumors and nonsense. People I thought were friends [in the industry] turn out to not care. I become personally involved with everything I do, but it all comes down to money with these guys. I feel under-appreciated.”
I know I’m not perfect, but I try. I try to go overboard to help out.”
Mr. Halpern believes that personal relationships seem to hold little to no value in this industry. He noted his experience with former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman as a perfect example of how his experiences differ between the sports industries.
Shawne Merriman and I worked together [on the Lights Out clothing line] and I decided it was best for me to pull out. We still remain friends to this day. There were no hard feelings.”
The latest cause for Halpern’s disappointment comes from the recent Cheick Kongo news. It was announced today that Kongo was finished with his UFC contract, and would be continuing his career outside of the promotion.
However, it was originally reported by a national media outlet that Alden Halpern was Kongo’s acting manager who announced his release from the organization. This was false, but when it was later discovered that Kongo left the UFC on his own terms, a whirlwind of negative attention came crashing down on Halpern.
Despite the negative experiences in his Mixed Martial Arts venture, Halpern remains positive, and knows that there are two sides to every industry.
I still think [Mixed Martial Arts] is the greatest sport on the planet. I still made a lot of great connections in this industry, and am still friends with guys like King Mo [Muhammad Lawal] and Michael Bisping among others.”
I will still be a fan, and watch the fights from the comfort of my home, but I will not attend the events.”
What is next for Alden Halpern?
Halpern has six other businesses to focus on. He is happy that he will now have more time to contribute towards these projects in the absence of his MMA Elite responsibilities. The MMA Elite brand will be left in good hands with newly appointed CEO Steven Jolna, and a new chapter will begin for one of the premiere companies in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Top Photo Courtesy of