Luis Mantilla is the founder and CEO of JockPharm, a social media networking platform for MMA Professional Athletes. JockPharm is designed to connect mixed martial artists with MMA agencies, sponsors, coaches and promotions in order to self-promote and network.
Luis Mantilla: Uh, how has quarantine been on you man has been has been interesting. You know. Obviously i was very fortunate because here in finland it didn’t affect us much compared to let’s say united states or other places like brazil and so forth. You know we did where we were quarantined at the beginning of the pandemic. Uh people were not going out, uh schools were out there homeschooling, they started implementing, homeschooling and working from home and all that but uh, you know people we we it’s not like uh. We had specific times to go out. We could go out anytime, we want, but um. The the majority of people stayed inside that kind of help, a lot to contain spreading the whole thing and now we’re back to normal. But uh there’s like a big rumor that the second wave is coming. You know so now everybody’s getting uh ready for that yeah, i’m in canada, so we still have like it’s where we’re on, like the so the atlantic part of canada has like they created a bubble, so you can’t leave and uh. If you leave it takes like you have to quarantine for 14 days every time, so i think they they say we’re the safest place in north america to be. But it’s crazy man, like you, can’t leave the house with a mask and it’s just getting a bit ridiculous. If you ask me man, i can’t imagine this. This thing has like really shaken up the whole world. Man like i couldn’t. I couldn’t believe it. I remember when i was reading the news. First of all, i i saw it on the the about this covet on a news on snapchat and i was like this is not credible. I don’t, i don’t believe it. You know and then boom it’s like for real and it was spreading and then he spread it here and i was like [ __, ], okay and then um. It just got bizarre man because you’ll be walking in the street. Everything was empty. You go to the mall, everything was empty and closed. You know i thought and like i will never, because i only seen those kind of type of things in movies you know, and then i thought, like i’m never gon na live to see. One of this like thank god, but then this thing happened. It’S just like crazy and they’re, telling me, for example, in latin america, like in my home country, bolivia um, even though they’re like they have a lot of high rate of people being infected and all that they’re, just not following the rules. And it’s a shame. You know people are just going out like as normal. I see a couple of my friends still partying, you know and – and i said dudes like take it – take care of yourselves like nah. It’S all good. So, let’s see yeah my family’s uh, my family’s from spain and, like that thing got crazy, like they weren’t allowed to leave the house like it was. It was next level over there and i mean even now it’s still uh still pretty bad over there. I know like my family’s in switzerland and people and you’re not allowed like getting in like they’ve closed the doors off to most countries in europe. It’S meant it’s, it’s terrible, but i mean the only real positive. I guess to the whole thing is man. Mma is like booming right now. I love it. They’Re pointed they’re pumping out events every weekend, uh as an mma fan. It’S it’s amazing. What are your thoughts on on the ufc just kind of doing what they’re doing being the first adopters and just going out there making stuff happen? Man like well, first of all, like like any mma fan, i’m a big fan of the ufc right from a promotion’s point of view. They have obviously the best fighters in the world competing there uh great fighters. I’Ve been a fan of the ufc since, since a tough one since, like the ultimate fighter season, one man, it was it’s just crazy, um a little bit in my opinion about dana white. It’S a little bit controversial. You know um! I give it up to him. He’S a rough dude like a great businessman and everything, but i don’t know like i. I feel that the fighters could be taken care of uh. A lot better could be paid a little bit more. You know because now i i get it like uh, it’s a promotion company, so you got in get in the fans and the fans got to be entertained and stuff like that. I i completely understand you know, but this is opening uh doors for mma fighters to be noticed by what they can say as opposed to what they can do. You know i feel that mma fight, especially mma fighters, should be more appreciated for the skills and achievements you know so that that’s like where i’m at like. Then i see other promotion companies like bellator or one year, one fc like one champ at one championship. That’S a really i’m a big fan of them as well, and the structure and everything what they have done is really interesting, and i heard the payout well. The fighters are quite good and also they do have some killers there, man. It would be quite interesting if they make uh like a cross promotion competition. You know that i would like to see that that’s a that’s a perfect segue into kind of what you do and jock firm. So i’d like to to kind of start talking about that. How did you come up with the idea of creating a platform like that? Yes, well um. I have a background myself in martial arts uh. When i was a kid i did kung fu from kufu. I made the transition to kickboxing. I did it for many. Many years almost 10 years competed in and so forth, um when i was in bolivia, i was uh. That’S where i started kickboxing and i started competing. I became a national champion and i thought that was it. I was quite popular because of that in my home country. You know like all right, that’s good! Then i came to finland and obviously the ego and i was like a little bit um. How could i say like um uh? I i thought i was the best. Let’S say, let’s put out that you know, i thought it was like a badass and everything i came here and then i got like the first class. I was like so yeah, let’s, let’s do this like boom boom boom boom and then they kick my ass and everything so um they put me literally. They put me back to basic course uh. That kind of like taught me a lesson in terms of ego uh to be calmed down, and then i learned everything what i know i i knew today, obviously that what i have learned in bolivia was a big uh hong kong. It complemented each other right, so i started competing here and then i joined this gym. Uh total fitness club from uh this um uk kx world champion kickboxer and everything was great. He taught me well, he taught me how to come down. He taught me the stamina and this and that he put me out there in fights and at the beginning was like good and then at some point i noticed the momentum started to get low, so this guy, i noticed he was more interested in chatting out with The girls from the gym you know, and that kind of that was frustrating man. You know because i i was i was new in finland. Nobody knew me, nobody was like checking out my thighs and i was like how can i promote myself, and i had no idea how to do that and then maybe i should change gyms and i have no idea how to look for a good gym. That would like be good for my training and helped me out with the career that i had in mind at that time. You know, and then i was like at that time. I was like man, it should be. It would be good if there would be a facebook for fighters and that’s where the whole idea started. But that idea was on pause for some time and then after be having more experience in martial arts and and mingling with uh with other fighters, coaches and promotion owners. I noticed that one of the key um, the key aspects of the in the fighting game is knowing how to promote yourself. You know, and not only how to promote yourself, but do it effectively not only to attract the fans or to grow your fan base but like to attract sponsors, to attract competition, to attract the right management and all that it was very crucial and me, as a Fighter at that time i would like man, but this is time consuming, because i just want to concentrate on training and competing and a lot of people identify with me and that’s why they do they want to focus on training and competing. So i was like okay. Let me learn a little bit about more social media, how to market myself, and it was so tedious man, because i would have to go to facebook and then then instagram and and uh youtube, and i was like damn and then i was like okay. Let me try to resemble uh a platform like linkedin yeah, and i started with that and still like a jog form is it’s in its infancy, but it’s growing day by day and that well, that’s how it all started man. So that’s what we do like. First of all, we wan na we want fighters to be able to create their own networks in the platform. At the same time, we want fighters to be noted by promotion companies and also we want job farm to help them how to promote themselves effectively on social media and that’s how it all started yeah. I think it’s, i think it’s a brilliant idea, because i spoke just a couple weeks ago to to the koski brothers who who i think they say pronounce their last name, but they won on the ultima on um the contender series and they both got contracts in The ufc and one of the things they said, they’re like we’re 6-0, we couldn’t find fights and they’re like it wasn’t until we found an agent that we were able to get an opportunity and it’s unlike any other sport because in you think about hockey, you think About baseball, you think about all these other sports there’s a process right like you, you make your way up to the minors. If you’re good, you get noticed in mma, it’s different because you can compete on the regional scenes for for years. But if you don’t like you said, don’t know how to promote yourself. You don’t know how to get these opportunities. You don’t know how to get sponsors. There really is no opportunity for you um. So i guess what would your message be to fighters? I mean how can they go out there and and promote themselves in a way to get noticed by by a ufc or a one fc or a bellator one of these bigger organizations uh one number one thing is like well, it sounds redundant but know how to Do it effectively know how to promote yourself know how to be on social media just like by just by you posting a pic of yourself once in a while? It’S not going to be enough uh another thing be authentic, be 100 yourself. You know, because that’s going to stand out even though you’re an introvert, let that stand out you know be an introvert, but be a very good fighter, know how to promote that introvertness from yourself people say: okay, shy, guys are not very popular. That’S not true man. You get a lot of shy, guys that are very charismatic and they come off across the material they post on their social media right and and then like. If you want to like uh, because i i have talked to many fighters and they say like, i want to have a sponsorship deal, but i want i want nike immediately and like well. Also it doesn’t go. It doesn’t work like that. It’S a process, let nike show that you’re a fan of them. You know they likely see that you’re wearing their product and all that. So that’s that will be the number of advice. The number one advice says would be like know how to promote yourself. Do it effectively be authentic and um believe in the process of getting sponsorship, and that would if that would be your goal, i kind of want to get an idea of of the the platform. So so there’s three uh like you can be a fighter uh sponsor and an agent. Is that correct like there and that’s how they connect or or how does the whole website work and and how does the networking uh work for the fighter? Well, at this moment is mainly uh, ideally, would be only for fighters. Amateur professionals beginners, whatever you want to call it all kind of fighters in the mma world coaches, obviously join the majority. The the majority of coaches that are active today, they’re fighters they’re still fighters themselves, so they join as well, but in the back end we have a a talent management agency, keeping eyes on everybody who joins, keep an eye on that talent. And if that talent is interesting enough, they will contact them directly. You know, so those are our partners uh, it’s called um. Our partners are dodge sports based mcdonald’s yeah dice was like great yep. Great great company man to work with the ceo is a great guy. Man, like a very nice guy, matthew, dodd, shout outs to him and also my guy joey man, he’s like the the creative director they’re doing a fantastic job. They treat their their their fighters like family, so anyway, like they keep an eye on the platform they search for new talent. At the same time, they give us fighters from the roster for us to help them promote themselves. So job form would be that bridge between that a fighter between the fighter and the promotion company or the talent management agency, but recently uh, for example, here in europe in belgium to be specific, uh there’s this fight promotion company – that is you using job front to Um to find talent for them to invite them in various competitions, uh there’s one competition happening in south america. In ecuador they told us to told me to find specific fighters with a specific uh weight class and i use their platform to do that. You know so little by little is growing and uh. Yesterday i got the green light uh that we’re gon na be featured in the middle east, so we’re talking about dubai, abu dhabi. So hopefully we get some good talent from there as well. That’S awesome man. It’S great to hear that that uh, that things are coming together for you, what sorts of difficult difficulties do you have being in europe? I mean when you think about like the ufc and mma, i guess in general, especially from over here in north america. I can just imagine the difficulties you have in in finland, especially well. Yes, definitely there are a lot of. There are a lot of challenges. Uh. One of the biggest challenges that i face is uh, not not knowing very well the local language yeah yeah. So i’m still like a very beginners man. In that i can. I can have a conversation and finish with a three-year-old. That’S that’s the extent of my knowledge man. You know uh so, but regardless that uh, that has uh slowed me down in terms of promoting jog form within finland for finnish fighters. You know and they’re a little bit quite conservative. They want to be known, but here in finland uh a lot of them. When you tell them okay, you can be featured in the united states and they’re like well. I am in finland i’m good here. You know so that’s a little bit of a challenge, because we have gained more popularity in the states us being located in finland also in canada, and i was being located in finland as opposed to being popular in the country where we’re located. There are very, very few fighters only like one or two in jog form that are from finland uh, including in my in the gym that i train at. I have invited fighters to join, but they don’t have that mentality yet to promote themselves and stuff like that. Not only because not not not because they don’t want to it’s just um, it’s just a different mentality, different culture, that they have. You know uh america. They love to promote themselves, man. I i agree with that. They love to show off what they got and good or good and bad finnish people are more conservative in that way. They’Re more quiet. They hear, for example, the scenery. If you see a celebrity, it’s not like. Oh, my god, let’s take pictures, let’s ask for an autograph and stuff like that, so there’s more like okay, there’s that guy all right cool like that, for example, there’s this famous uh formula, one driver, kimi, raikkonen, kimi, raikkonen, yep yep, and i remember a couple years Back, i saw the guy uh um, i was playing pool and i saw the guy playing pool. Just like a couple of meters away from me – and i was like to my friend – is that the f1 driver yeah and i was like, oh my god, that’s him and everything my friends are like calm down man. It’S not like that and then i even went to like i do. Could i have an autograph and he laughed like sure and then, but he was extremely humble, and that was the first experience i had with a celebrity like that, because usually the the the known public figures that i have met they’re either in a rush or they Don’T want to talk to you, or it’s very, very uh, limited the interaction that you have with them, but with this guy he was like there talking to me like a normal guy, and then i noticed also that everybody was normal with him and then i got To meet other local celebrities from finland and it happened the same way. You know like a normal guy there’s another guy that i met called axel smith uh. He was a vj for mtv, finland and i was like in the metro, and i saw the guy and also like. Oh my god, is that axel smith and blah blah and my friend, let’s go talk to her like no, you cannot cause that come. Let’S go talk to him and we went talk to him and he was also the nicest guy and he invited us for some coffee right there and then so. That was quite nice. You know. But yes, you do get those challenges uh, but the traction is building little by little and once we get that credibility from from um from the finished fighters, it will start growing locally, but definitely i don’t want to be attracting only finnish fighters when it comes to Scandinavia, i would like to attract like uh swedish talent, norwegian talent, which they have really really good talent over there, especially in sweden, especially norway, and started from a young age, and i would like uh jon from to be a part of their journey into success. I love that idea because, like when you think of like organizations like cage warriors or lfa, they tend to just be strictly talent from one area. So i, like the thought of you, know finnish fighters being able to compete in the us or in canada or whatever. So it’s i like that, because it’s i find with like organizations i’m in canada, so organizations like tko like or fla. These organizations tend to just be strictly canadian talent, and i think it would be really nice for the canadian market or the finnish market to kind of see a little bit of other talent as well, because the styles are different right, like if you have a brazilian Competing in finland, there’s jujitsu that you haven’t seen there right. So i think it’s really nice to see that uh that blend – and i love that i love the ability to bring that all together, yeah. Definitely man and like i said you do have some really good talented fighters. Yeah, you know here, you know the the the local talent is quite big and it’s, but it’s very uh, it’s very new uh. They have their own promotion company in finland, cage finland. They do events from time to time, probably like two or three times a year, and then you could get to see the the not only the local town but the european talent in general. But you get a lot of finnish fighters. They are very dedicated to the sport very dedicated to their training and they’re very dedicated to the fighting game. You know, and i would love the world to have an eye on on them for sure i uh it’s funny, because when you think of finless finnish fighters, there’s only one fighter that i can even think of on the top of my head right, makwan and miracani. I can’t really think of anybody else, so if is there any talent that you can think of right there off the top of your head that you’re, like someone you got to watch this guy he’s from finland may not have heard of him, but man he’s he’s Really really really talented, yeah. Well, there’s a there’s anton covenant, uh he was uh in in in the ufc. Unfortunately, he didn’t did. He didn’t do quite good, so his contract was not extended, but definitely he he is a fighter to watch and then there’s this heavyweight guy glenn sparta, not only he’s a beast, he’s huge and he’s the nicest guy he’s like a goofy dude. You know – and i i thought he was gon na – have a little bit of an eagle when i first started talking to him. No man. He was just like super nice um. He is now training in tiger muay, thai outside of thailand. You know um, he doesn’t live in finland, he lives in australia and he moves from australia to thailand all the time. You know now he’s in finland because he came to visit his family and because of the cover he cannot go out. You know, but it was good because i got the opportunity to get to to get to meet him, so he’s a heavyweight um. He is talking. He told me that he’s talking to the ufc to possibly participate in the ultimate fighting championship, the new season, if they feature the heavyweights, so if that happens, that would be a great um, great lens for the world to notice him. You know definitely keep an eye on that: guy, glenn’s farm, great guy ferocious fighter and the nicest guy you ever mean man and just a goofball. You have a good fine talking a good good time. Talking to that guy, i love it. Um man, that’s i mean. That’S pretty much all i have man, i i really appreciate uh talking to you, i really i i like jock farm. I like the message i like everything. It stands for. I really like the idea. I hadn’t even thought about it until i saw it. I was like man, that’s that’s, actually brilliant, being able to connect people, because, when you think of guys like, for example, mike perry or conor mcgregor, really the only way for fighters to get noticed is to do something. Stupid like it really just seems like negative tension. Is good attention? It’S like that’s how you get noticed by the ufc is being like mickey gall and just calling out cm punker something crazy like that. But there really is no direct way to make it to the ufc or bellator, and i like this being able to connect with an agency or connect with sponsors, and it’s really just one platform that can do that. So i really like that, so it was. It was great talking to you, man, and i love the idea. Thank you for having me man. It was a pleasure anytime. You want to do this again. Just let me know all right, we’ll do also thank you for uh for getting up bright and early. It’S like five o’clock in finland, so i appreciate uh. I appreciate you getting up early for to do this. No problems, man, anytime, my pleasure, buddy, all right man, all the best and stay safe. All right! You too take care. Man have a good night yeah. You too, bye