James Krause enters UFC Sao Paulo on one of the most underrated win streaks in recent memory. In a streak that contains wins in arguably the two toughest divisions in MMA (lightweight and welterweight), Krause has pieced together 5-straight over a 4 year span.
However, despite this streak and the fact that he owns his own gym, Glory MMA Fitness, Krause is still not comfortable with where he sits in the MMA world. In fact, he may never feel like he’s made it.
“I’ve never felt a sense of security from fighting, to be honest with you,” Krause said. “I still to this day, I’ve never felt like I made it. I’ve never felt like this was it.”
Much of this feeling has nothing to do with his own abilities though. Instead it has much more to do with his view of the world of MMA.
“Let’s say I decide to fight 4 times a year, that’s once every 3 months. Let’s say I go 0-2 against two of the best fighters in the world. What’s to say that the UFC is not going to cut me?” he points out. “In six months, my life can completely change.”
Specific examples from recent UFC history do not make his outlook any more cheery. One in particular sticks best in his head.
“You see guys, the guy that comes to mind is Elias Theodorou, he’s 8-3 in the UFC and he just got cut. There’s just no security in the game,” he said. “It’s a petty ass game.”
The options outside the UFC also don’t instill; confidence in Krause. While he credits Bellator and PFL for expanding the ability to make a living within the field, he still won’t feel assured of his future.
“Really in Bellator and PFL there’s like 20 guys on their roster that are making any kind of real money,” Krause claims. “Everybody else is making dogsh** pay.”
Of course Krause doesn’t fault the UFC for this system. He understands the choices they make are all in order to improve the business. Nothing is personal, but that doesn’t help put him at ease.
“I get the sense that when I talk about stuff like this, people get the wrong impression like I’m bad mouthing the UFC; I’m not. It’s a business. It’s a cut throat business and it is what it is,” he said. “There is just zero security in this game at all and I refuse to let somebody else control how much money goes on my table.”
But don’t view Krause as someone who is just sitting idly by while he contemplates the fact that it could all end in an instant. Instead, he’s someone who is taking his life in his own hands, all completely separate to his fighting life.
Krause also has a thriving real estate business. In a short period of time, he has flipped homes, has rental properties and currently runs two places that he runs as Airbnbs. This avenue, quite the opposite of fighting, is the stable force that Krause has been looking for.
“I feel like real estate is one of the best investments in the world. You increase top line profits, you can decrease the bottom line spending, all while someone else is paying your bills,” Krause said. “It’s just a safe bet. There’s always going to be ups and downs with the economy and everything, but over the course of 10 year, it’s shown it’ll stay stable and it’s always going to keep going up.”
The stability of this plan has allowed him to take a slightly different route than a lot of his peers. It’s allowed him to make sure that he’s only fighting when he’s healthy and at his very best. It also allows him to see a future, that is comfortable and not tied to the rocky nature of the fight game.
“Cash flow is what’s in your bank account. Wealth is what you’re going to have 20-30 years from now. Fighting is cash flow. The gym is cash flow,” Krause shares. “20-30 years from now, real estate will make me a multi-millionaire.”
In the meantime, Krause will look to keep that cash and win streak flowing as he fights Sergio Moraes at UFC Sao Paulo this weekend.