On April 24, 2016, Olivier Busquet pummeled JC Alvarado for 15 minutes, taking $150000 from his bank account, and adding it to his own. Terrence met with both the winner and loser in the days following the fight to talk about victory, defeat, and plans for the future.
Four ounce gloves. Five minute rounds. Punches, kicks, elbows, and knees to everywhere on the opponent's body save the groin, back of the head, and spine. This is what Olivier and JC, two complete novices to the sport of mixed martial arts, have agreed to after six months of training, with a $270000 wager on the line. In Part 5, those six months come to fruition. The poker players turned fighters enter the cage on an April night in Las Vegas, and the result is a violent blood-soaked affair, well beyond the poker community's expectations.
For decades, Las Vegas has been home to the world’s biggest biggest prize fights. But tonight there are no world champions fighting in Sin City. Instead, two complete beginners put up a combined $270000 to duke it out in a MMA gym located five miles off the Las Vegas Strip. It’s fight day for JC and Olivier, and the big-money bettors start to filter in to witness the spectacle in person. We go behind the scenes inside both locker rooms as both sides do their final physical and mental preparation, and as the starting bell sounds, the poker community holds its collective breath in anticipation.
It’s 24 hours until fight time. The bets have start pouring in from the poker community and are coming in nearly equally on both sides. One fighter starts to see the fight as “50/50”, while the other thinks he’s a big favourite. The coaches from both sides have arrived in Las Vegas and are feeling good about their fighters — so good that it’s almost implausible.
We check in with both fighters to see how they are doing mentally and physically. Both men are going into the fight confident, but both acknowledge the potential to lose. Is this fight about the process, or the result?
As Olivier and JC approach fight day, we take a look back the early days of their poker careers and exactly how they became the high-stakes pros they are today. Both men start feeling the physical and psychological strains of the training camp. Finally, JC drops a serious allegation, and tempers flare as things start to get personal.
In the premiere episode of All In Or Knocked Out, we meet professional poker players Olivier Busquet and JC Alvarado. Olivier and JC became the talk of the poker world in late 2015 when the two agreed to a high-stakes bet not on the felt, but rather in the mixed martial arts cage. Neither man had any formal experience in MMA, but that didn’t stop them from putting up a combined $270000 to see who would come out on top.
In this first episode, we talk about Olivier’s rowdy college days and his idea to challenge the poker world to an MMA fight. We explore JC’s rough upbringing in Mexico and how his love for the martial arts blossomed. Finally, the bet comes together and the two men begin training for their imminent showdown.
Ever since we first heard about the $270000 fight between JC Alvarado and Olivier Busquet, we've been intrigued by this story. Over the past few weeks, we've been working hard on a behind-the-scenes all-access audio documentary on the showdown between the two.
We've interviewed both men in-depth about their stories, their backgrounds, their reasons for taking the fight, their fears, their concerns, their ups and downs. We'll also have interviews with coaches, training partners, friends, and fellow gamblers. It's a compelling story, and one that we think deserves to be told well.
The two of us have always had a love of good narrative audio storytelling (we've been inspired by podcasts like This American Life, Radiolab, Serial, and many others) and we want this to be our contribution to that genre. With Terrence's background in MMA as well as high-stakes poker, and Ross' passion for poker and formal training in broadcast journalism, we'll be able to tell this story as well as it deserves to be told.
It's our goal to bring you this series completely commercial-free, and we hope to do that with your help. If you like what we do, you can contribute to our Indiegogo campaign. We also accept donations via PayPal or PokerStars; to find out how to do that, click here.
If you're financially unable to contribute, we'd still love if you shared our work on social media, or simply by telling a friend. Thank you so much for your support of our project.
Ross and Terrence