Praised by commissions as one of the top matchmakers in the Tri-State and respected by fighters on a national level as one of the few matchmakers who seeek diligently to match up the most well matched fights, JL Barger is the hardest working Matchmaker in Mixed Martial Arts. Judges often make comments at MMA Big Show events how JL’s matchmaking skills require them to actually work due to the number of fights that go the distance and how close they are.
“Anyone can throw fighters together in a weight class and hope for the best only to result in a lot of 30 second TKO’s and ruined careers but JL is a different breed of Matchmaker who takes pride in his fights and wants to see every fighter do well and may the best fighter win.” Says MMA Big Show President Jason Appleton. “In a sea of promoters and matchmakers more than willing to setup easy wins for ticket sellers that bore the audience, JL knows that having a reputation for the best fights is the most important aspect of a quality promotion.” He continues.
JL began his MMA career as a Judge in multiple states for 5 years as he excelled in his knowledge of the sport through research of the rules in each state and the requirements of each states commission. From there, he began coordinating various elements of events for the MMA Big Show and ultimately became the right hand man to Big Show Entertainment President, Jason Appleton. JL began scouting talent within the region for MMA Big Show and built solid relationships with fighters and teams. JL doesn’t just look for “new blood” as they say, he looks to find the most career minded fighters looking for big opportunities to fulfill their dream and helps make sure they are given those opportunities. Never waivering during tough times as the ups and downs in the MMA game can get nausiating, JL just works that much harder. In the cut throat business that can be MMA where many are willing to sell their loyalty and integrity to the highest bidder, JL has always remained loyal to the MMA Big Show and it’s fighters.
“JL is seriously the hardest worker in MMA and he always seems to manage pulling all of the chaos together. I’ve heard horror stories of past matchmakers and can only say, JL is the real deal.” Says Cristen Schuerman, Ticketing Coordinator for the MMA Big Show.
Though JL often rubs elblows with the likes of Dana White, Chris Lytle, Andre Arlovski and others whom he is still in regular contact with, JL is also a single father of a 2 year old son that keeps him well grounded. JL Bargers sole livlihood is dependent on his ability to match great fights and coordinate exciting events. With being not only the Matchmaker for the MMA Big Show but also the event coordinator, JL doesn’t work a day job full time and handle MMA Big Show part time, the MMA Big Show is his full time job and he’s the best at it. MMA is his passion and as a former high school wrestler and lifetime MMA fan, JL is in this business to see fighters succeed and certainly not to line his pockets.
JL Barger has been able to pick up the pieces left behind from previous people that came before him and make magic happen, always finding new ways to make the shows more interesting and exciting for the fans.
If there is one thing fighters know when fighting for JL Barger is that if you train hard and fight hard, JL will push hard to grow your name and reputation.
“I want to fight for the MMA Big Show because I’m 5-0 as an amateur and nobody knows who I am and I see guys that are 3-0 with the Big Show and everyone is talking about them everywhere I go.” Quoted from a fighter with another promotion but left anonymous for obvious reasons.