I've become tired of stories of simpering females being rescued by manly hunks, so this is my variation on that theme. I know there are different federations out there, I just lumped them all together and called them MMA. Enjoy the story.
He rolled his eyes and wrinkled his nose. He was in a gym, more specifically a gym dedicated to training fighters, with the smell of stale sweat, blood, and other things he wasn't too keen on discovering.
They were everywhere, punching bags, lifting weights, jumping rope, and sparring. The place resonated with grunts, squeals, and curses, along with trainers yelling instructions. He stood just inside the door, allowing his eyes to adjust to the semi darkness. A man of late middle age approached him, with a look of boredom on his face.
"Another pretty boy in a suit", he thought, taking the guy in, "banker, lawyer, somebody trying to make money off the sweat of the fighters". Still they were a necessary evil, and he tolerated them if they could make their lives better.
"Looking for somebody?"
Mark looked at the guy, fiftyish, iron grey hair, sharp brown eyes, not aggressive but not friendly. He acted as if he wanted him there as badly as he didn't want to be. He fished out a card.
"Mark Stewart, Stewart Financial Systems. I'm here to see a" he paused, looking at some papers,
"Miss Bettina Burke."
"Betty Bang Bang? What for?"
"I've been asked by her manager to help her set up a financial plan. Seems there may be big money in her future and he wants to make sure she keeps it."
The man thawed visibly.
"Great. I'll tell Manny you're here. Come on in, look around, I'll get him."
He did look around. Not surprisingly, half the fighters were women, the gym was getting a reputation for producing some of the top ranked women MMA fighters in the Southeast. He didn't follow the sport, but admired their fitness and determined attitudes, prima donnas didn't last long here.
Manny Torres was short, thick, with a rugged face and a nose that had been broken at least once. A former welter weight boxer, he had risen to number four in the world, losing title matches twice. He made decent money, but managed to waste it all. Not overly educated, he was intelligent enough to go with his stengths. He had a keen and analytic eye, could tell if a fighter had talent, and even more importantly, if they had heart.
He had managed and trained a few boxers, all good but none were ever able to make it to the top. His reputation was well earned, if a fighter broke training or got caught doing something illegal, he was within contractual rights to drop them. He did several times, usually after exhausting all other options. He had gotten more than one fighter help, whether he trained them or not.
He started managing women in the MMA world by accident, helping train and managing a younger sister of a friend and former boxer. She had heart but not a lot of talent. He got her several matches, carefully chosen opponents with the same skill level. He knew better than anyone you could destroy a fighters will and future by overmatching them.
She won three out of four and was getting plenty of notice. Deciding she had outgrown Manny, she signed with another manager, one in it just for the money. Manny gave her some advice she didn't take before she left. Her new manager was anxious to get her name out even more, and booked a fight with the number six ranked woman in her weight class. He never told her, but he knew she couldn't win, but he thought it would be great exposure.
The woman destroyed her, breaking her nose, then grappling her to the floor into a submission hold. The girl wouldn't yield, and the other fighter, who had a bit of a sadistic streak, broke her arm. It was legal, it happened occasionally, but it was frowned upon. She never recovered, losing three more bouts before retiring.
Manny came over, looking at the guy like he did everyone, analyzing him as a fighter.
Tall, slender, he would bet money he was more muscled than he looked in that suit. Moved good, too, admiring the way he wove through the boxers, dodging suddenly as a novice got tangled in her jump rope, even catching the girl before she hit the floor. Great reflexes. Yeah, he could definitely train this guy.
Manny liked his grip, strong without being overpowering, the shake of a man confident in his own abilities.
"Come into the office, Mr. Stewart, let me explain what I need."
They went into a surprisingly neat but cluttered office. Posters adorned the walls, mostly of fighters in the gym. He pointed to one.
A tall blond in fighting attire, holding her fist up and glowering. The logo read: Bettina "Betty Bang Bang" Burke. He wondered what she looked like when she smiled.
"That's her. She's got a lot of talent, will probably make it to the top, if I can get her to control her temper. We're working on that. She's got a bout coming up with the number eight fighter. I think she'll win."
"What's her rank?"
"Right now, she's unranked. If she wins, she'll probably get ranked. Ten, maybe even nine. She's done really well in her regional fights."
"Seven and two. Two on points, three by knockout, two by submission."
"What about the two she lost?"
"The first loss was her very first fight, and nerves knocked her off her game plan. The second she should have won, but she got mad and lost her concentration. Why the questions about her fighting ability?"
"You're asking me to assist her in managing her money. I invest a lot of time in my clients, that's why I charge more. I'm very successful at what I do, so I can pick and choose. Most of the people I work with already have wealth, they want me to grow it. With her, I'm starting from ground zero. I want to know if I'm wasting my time."
"Then why are you here if you think it might be a waste of time?"
"Once upon a time there was a businessman who worked in New York City. There was also a cop who worked there. On September 11 one year, something bad happened. This particular cop saved that particular businessman, carrying him down four flights of stairs to safety. The cop was named Burke, the businessman was named Stewart. The cop had three sons and a daughter named Bettina. The businessman had a son and a daughter. The son's name was Mark. The Stewart family owes the Burke family, Mr. Torres, more than money. Even if she sucks, I'm going to do the best I can for her."
Manny was stunned. Then Mark smiled.
"Of course, it would be better for everybody if she was really talented and makes a boatload of money. Can I talk to her now?"
She came in the office five minutes later, glowering. Still in exercise gear, sweating heavily from sparring. Plus, she lost her concentration when the guy in the suit walked by, and her sparring partner gave her a good shot to the mouth. She could already feel it swelling.
"What a prissy looking man" she thought, taking in the crisp suit and highly polished shoes. Damn, not a hair out of place.
"Miss Burke, I'm Mark Stewart."
She stuck her sweaty hand into his, enjoying the slight frown as he withdrew. She bet it took everything in his power not to whip out a hanky and wipe his hand off.
"Call me Betty. What are you gonna do to make my life better?"
"My purpose is to advise you how to grow your money. I assume you have a career plan after your fighting days are over. It's my job to make sure you're financially secure to pursue it."
"What's in it for you?"
He seemed surprised at the question.
"Why, money of course. I charge for my services."
"I hear you charge more than most. Why?"
She's smarter than she looks, he thought, actually did a little home work.
"Because you get just me. Let me explain. Say you go with one of the big houses. They'll probably do a good job for you. They'll assign you a financial manager. He'll be handling you and countless others. He won't have time to watch over you personally, most likely dump your money in some mutual fund plans, maybe a few bonds as a security blanket. The norm is five funds. Every fund has a manager, and that manager gets his fee whether he makes you money or not. Your manager gets his fee. At the end of the quarter, if you make money, great. If you don't, your manager and every fund manager he has you in still gets their fees."
"I don't do that. No mutual funds. I'll investigate a stock and determine its' viability before I suggest you invest. And I don't make decisions for you. I give you the facts and let you make your own decisions. If I think you're about to do something foolish, I advise against it, but the ultimate decision is yours."
"And don't get me wrong. I'm not a one man show. I have a partner and several assistants who do research for me, but ultimately I make the decisions to recommend something to the client. If it flops, the blame is mine."
He paused, grinning.
"Of course, if it takes off and you make a bundle, I take all the credit."
"This was just a meet and greet, Miss Burke, to see if we can work together. If you want to establish a relationship with my company, call and set up an appointment. The receptionist will tell you what to bring for the first consultation.
Good luck to you, Miss Burke, I hope your career is a successful one. Here's my card."
He rose to leave. As he was leaving, he looked over his shoulder.
"Oh, and to prove I do my homework, watch your next opponent's left leg. It not as weak as she leads everyone to think."
Manny and Betty watched him go.
"Is what he said true?"
.... There is more of this story ...