Team Takedown, headed by founder Ted Ehrhardt, his brother Doug Ehrhardt, and business partner and long time friend Tim McBride, finally hit their long awaited payday when Johny Hendricks secured the UFC welterweight title last Saturday.
The company originated with a simple, granted, a somewhat long shot type of dream; To back an up-and-coming mixed martial artist on his way to the top. And once that fighter has reached their goal of UFC gold, to split it right down the middle.
The group was able to jump start their idea with finances acquired from the fire sprinkler company that the three jointly own.
“Our thought process was we could take a high-level wrestler and give them a place to live, a car allowance, health and dental insurance, a weekly paycheck so they could train… and then they’d have a really good shot of getting to the top,” said Ted Ehrdardt.
An opportunity that any up-and-coming fighter would jump at.
Team Takedown doesn’t simply take care of a fighter’s living and training expenses, however. They also foot the bill for such things as getting trainers and even family members to training and scheduled events.
Team Takedown is located at the Velociti Fitness gym in Pantego, Texas, where they have set up their headquarters. All in all, the company states that after funding all of their fighters (having eight at their highest and five as of now) cost them around $100,000 annually.
Team Takedown is seven years deep into this commitment. And according to the trio, they have coughed up upward of $4 million to aid their fighters.
However, with Johny coming out victorious last Saturday, it appears that all their patience and hard work has finally paid off.
And although a 50% cut sounds a bit rough for the new champion, Johny is nothing but grateful to his team.
“Who wouldn’t want to get paid to train and that’s all you have to focus on? Look how my fighting has developed in the last five years,” Hendricks stated before his bout with GSP, “I can train twice a day and go as hard as I want to because I know I have nothing to do in-between. I am truly blessed to be in a situation like this.”
One of the most intriguing things about Team Takedown is the sheer purity of it. All three owners are childhood friends and were wrestlers in high school, who had an unadulterated love of the sport, not suits that tried to jump on the MMA bandwagon when it was growing in popularity. Just three regular guys from the Midwest that wanted to get more involved in the sport they love.
It all started when Ted stepped away from his couching position and hired Jake Rosholt, a four-time All-American wrestler, to take his spot. And within a short period of time after watching Rosholt coach the local wrestling team, the three thought to themselves that, given the right circumstances and opportunity, they believed that Rosholt had what it took to make it to the big show.
“We started getting in Jake’s ear that he could do this,” stated McBride. “You fight and we’ll manage. We’ll get you training.”
So, after a year, the group shipped Rosholt off to Las Vegas, where he trained with Randy Couture at his gym, Xtreme Couture. After a week, he was hooked.
Rosholt now works for the Ehrhardt brothers in one of their companies, ending his MMA career in 2012. Within that time, another talented wrestler surfaced in the form of Johny Hendricks.
Team Takedown has had a rather strict doctorate that only wrestlers are worthy to join the team. Why? It’s been said that collegiate wrestling is probably the best style to enter MMA with, however, that’s not the only reason.
“They have probably the hardest work ethic of any athlete,” said Ehrhardt.
However, athleticism isn’t the only defining characteristic that Team Takedown looks for in a fighter. There are also certain moral guidelines to abide by.
“It has to be the right guy,” said Ehrhardt. “One, he has to be a great athlete, but more important to us, is character. My partners and I wouldn’t have somebody around our families and kids unless they were positive role models with strong morals and character.”
Luckly, they have Johny Hendricks as their poster boy.
And now with the UFC welterweight champ as the face of their company, and finally getting some paper rolling in to break even, what is next for Team Takedown?
“We have other fighters — two are in the UFC right now,” said McBride. “The plan is to rinse and repeat.”
When I read the headline I thought, WTF, is Johnny stupid, but after reading the article, I must say he's got a great team.