Like any athletes, mixed martial artists don’t limit their success and notoriety to the cage. Be it through television and movie appearances, popular YouTube channels, and gaming streams or paid partnerships and promotions on social media, a host of notable fighters enhance their income outside the Octagon.
One of the main sources of funds come through businesses and investments. Most notably, former champ-champ Conor McGregor has made a name for himself in the business world through an incredibly successful whiskey, a clothing brand, a fitness range, and a venture into Ireland’s free house industry.
Exploring similar options as McGregor and the likes of Dustin Poirier, Bruce Buffer, and the Diaz brothers is Usman. “The Nigerian Nightmare” has risen to prominence in recent years courtesy of a dominant reign on the 170-pound throne, which even saw him call for a blockbuster boxing showdown with Mexican superstar Canelo Álvarez.
As expected, Usman has looked to use the wealth and fame he’s amassed through MMA to explore other opportunities.
While it was recently announced that Usman will be appearing in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie, the 35-year-old’s search for new opportunities outside the steels surroundings of the cage haven’t always ended that well…
Usman: “He Got Us For Half-A-Million”
Appearing as the guest for episode #128 of Joe Rogan’s JRE MMA Show, Usman discussed his attempts at forging some success as a businessman — and it may have left him traumatized by pizza…
Recalling one particular investment, Usman harked back to the time when he was convinced to invest in an Italian franchise based in Canada. The owner, who was an acquaintance of one of Usman’s friends, expressed a desire to add a South Florida location to his restaurant chain.
“(This guy), he’s Canadian, owns this franchise; pizza-pasta franchise in Canada,” Usman began. “I met him through a mutual friend that I had in Florida, a friend of mine who’s a smart guy, into business. The friend’s like, ‘Yeah, he has this restaurant that already has like five or six locations in Canada; doing well, blah, blah, blah.’ I just happened to go to Canada, maybe in 2017 or 2018, and he was like, ‘Hey, come look at these restaurants.’
“I go look and it’s amazing. There’s crowds of people, and I have this food and it’s amazing. I’m like, ‘Okay, this is cool, but I’m still reluctant. I don’t know enough about this.’ … you know when you have this intuition, but you just don’t f*cking listen to it?” Usman added whilst laughing.
Against the advice of those around him, Usman and a number of others invested around $500,000. But after being sold the planned Florida restaurant, the owner sold it again, and again, and again…
“He’s (owner) like, ‘Okay, I’m coming down, I wanna do the same thing in South Florida.’ I’m still reluctant ’cause all my advisors and my accountant says, ‘Don’t get involved in the restaurant business. Don’t do it,” Usman said. “I listen for a while, but he somehow uses my friends, the people around me, to get to me.
“All in all, we get a group of guys, a group of us, and he gets us for like, half-a-million. He sells us the restaurant, one of the businesses. He got them (the others), ’cause they were in for another location, so he got them for over a million… He got us for half-a-million, but he turned around and sold it, at the same time, to another couple… got them for half-a-million,” Usman continued. “Turns around and sells it to another… he sold the same restaurant to like four different people.”
Despite the elaborate scam, Usman noted that the owner is still walking around unpunished having not built the restaurant and denied ever receiving money for it.
“The thing is, he’s still walking around,” Usman said. “Who knows how many people he’s done that to… All I know is he sold us a location that we paid him for, (but) was never built at the time, and now he’s saying he didn’t get money from us.”
Usman went on to suggest that his team is exploring options, with a potential lawsuit looking likely. Either way, it appears that “The Nigerian Nightmare” will be steering clear of the restaurant business moving forward.
And given how the man who dethroned him in the cage last month celebrated his win, perhaps Usman will be avoiding pizza, period.
What do you make of the scam that Kamaru Usman fell victim to?