Jeff Griffith Discusses Big Plans for a Future ‘MMA Bet Club’
We ended our last interview with Jeff by saying, “The sky is the limit for Jeff Griffith.” We couldn’t have been more right since now Jeff has exercised his entrepreneurial mind to churn up yet another exciting business idea. Except this time his idea is even more ambitious and has the potential of making a long-lasting mark on the sports betting industry. In our last interview with Jeff, he told us about The Grind’s Pilot Episode, Rounders Edge, Grinder Gear and Bustout Poker Apparel. This time, we are delighted to hear all about the tentative title for his new game, the ‘MMA BetClub’. Find out about it through Jeff’s own words below and see the official press release over at Bustout.
Jeff, it’s been some time since we last talked, what have you been up to?
I’ve obviously been working on Grinder Gear, we’ve got some new designs coming out, we’ve been down to BestBet in Jacksonville which is truly – if you’re in the US and you’re on the East Coast especially – I’ve got to say this place is one of a kind. It’s pretty spectacular, it’s strictly a poker room and, man they’re just doing it right down there. So I really like that place and we expect to be back there during the World Poker Tour that kicked off in November.
Then there’s the main event, when Mike and Vincent come in with the ‘lights, cameras and action’, I think that starts probably on the 18th November. We look forward to going back down there then and working our booth selling Bustout and Grinder Gear but I think the reason for this call and interview is to discuss this invention that I’ve got that I’ve been working on for quite some time. We’ve got a patent pending now and we’re about to roll it out to the gaming industry.
Sounds fantastic! Do you want to share a bit more insight about what exactly you’re planning to release or what the idea is? You say a patent, new product, sounds interesting. Tell me more!
Basically it’s a game that came out of a desire to be able to bet on mixed-martial arts – it’s a passion of mine – and really other than poker, it’s one of the only sports that I really follow closely. About four years ago the idea came to me because my wife put her foot down when I said, “I know what’s going on here, I know who’s going to win. What if I just bet $50 on a few of these fights,” and she said, “Absolutely not!”
And I agree with her on that, it’s never a good idea to get into sports betting but basically it just made me think of a way to play this, or I should say, enjoy the excitement of betting on sports with a limited exposure if you will, but that you still get the same enjoyment out of betting across “multiple events”.
So we did it around mixed-martial arts, it was a UFC event, back in July 2009 and I shared it with some friends and it was a big hit, everybody liked it a lot. So I kept it close to home, just people I trusted and good friends but over the years it just became more and more apparent that maybe I had something here. We took it to our trademark and patent attorney that we had with Bustout and Grinder Gear and he really just loved it.
He thought it was one of the better ideas he had seen come across his desk in 20 years so we thought maybe we’ve got something with this, so we decided to pay to have the research done, the patent filed and now we’re about ready to roll out. Right now I call it MMA Bet Club, that’s just the working title but in a nutshell what it does is it combines a poker sit ‘n’ go type format and structure with fantasy sports betting and in this case like I said with MMA, you’re actually betting against the house or against Vegas but it’s kind of in a fantasy format. It has the same limited exposure that a sit ‘n’ go does. So for poker players, it would be like playing a 10+1 9-seater sit ‘n’ go, or whichever game you choose, it obviously can be done with many different game amounts and tables. Obviously you could have an 18-seater and 27-seater, there’s many different ways that it can be incorporated but that’s the idea and it’s gotten great reviews from a few people in the industry. So we’re really excited about it and we’re getting ready to roll it out.
I figured, why not let you be the first in the poker journalism world, give you a first pass at this, you know because we’re really excited about this and hopefully it kicks off and then you can say, “Hey, we were the first ones to tell the world about it.”
Sounds fantastic! Appreciate the insight! Now you have been saying that basically MMA Bet Club is some sort of fantasy game and it’s also like a tournament format. Is this comparable to Draft Kings, where you enter into a tournament and bet on sports, or is this completely different?
That’s a great question and I would say, it’s definitely not completely different, but it has some significant different elements which will be noted when we roll it out to the powers that lead the bigger gaming sites. We want them to be the first to really learn the ins and outs of it, but it has some similarities which is why I think it’ll be well accepted. It does have some significant differences, which is why we think we can get a patent on it and we expect to bring this to not just poker sites but the gaming sites and the fantasy sports betting sites as well. I believe it can be integrated in any of these current existing gaming platforms with minimal rewriting of software or that sort of thing.
I have a PowerPoint that I’ve put together which I shared with you, where I actually just gave my vision of how it might be included in a ‘poker-type’ software or setting, but obviously there’s gonna be a lot of different ways that it can be applied. There’s a lot of marketability for it and the biggest thing for me is in terms of the selling features of it, I believe that the cross-over market between mixed-martial arts and poker is just tremendous worldwide.
Interestingly, some of the biggest countries that are MMA frenzied are the same ones that are huge in the poker community, be it South America, Mexico, Canada, the Scandinavian nations, Japan, so there’s just a very strong cross-over, or parallel if you will, with the marketing, the 18-34 male demographic. What we hope happens with this is that it gets the attention of some of these top gaming sites to realize that if they incorporate this game, that they will have a marketing edge in a very competitive world to basically get players to deposit on their site, if they have it versus if they don’t.
Alright fantastic I mean you got me excited here! When will this be available and for who? Is this going to be US-friendly?
That’s another great question and I’ve consulted some people, some good friends that I have made in the poker world over the last several years, you know Eric Morris who is a founder of Bluff and Chad Brown who’s a world renowned PokerStars professional poker player. They actually brought it to my attention that this could fall under the fantasy betting or the fantasy sports in terms of legality and licensing. My initial plan in rolling it out was strictly poker sites but I have since been made aware that this could actually fall under a legal fantasy sports betting type of game.
I’m not an expert on that, I don’t know the answer to that but I’m looking forward to seeing just how big it can be and how broad it can be. For the most part we’re more concerned, really in the beginning, at targeting the poker sites that have a worldwide audience where it’s legal, sites like 888Poker, PokerStars, Full Tilt, iPoker, PartyGaming, Bovada, sites that people know, that they’re already playing worldwide.
Ultimate Poker of course would be awesome just because they’re owned by the UFC, so they’re more than aware of the cross-over and their site is legal in Nevada and early November, their site will be legal in New Jersey as well. 888Poker – who has endorsed Georges St- Pierre, the current welterweight champion in the UFC – they have gotten a deal done with the World Series of Poker and are going to be entering New Jersey in the next couple of months with a legal online gaming poker site. So we’re not sure just how broad it can go in the US, but we’re really more excited about its popularity with the rest of the world, matching and running parallel with the mixed-martial arts and its popularity with the rest of the world.
Want to hear more about MMA Bet Club? Check out the press release here.