LAS VEGAS — Alyssa House is asked a lot of questions.
Questions from fighters, questions from the loving spouses and families of clients. Lots of questions in the heat of fight week, and countless inquiries long after “office hours” generally end for the day.
Still, one question is the most popular.
“Everyone always asks when we’re going to have kids of our own,” says Alyssa, wife and associate of Iridium Sports Agency Founder/CEO Jason House.
“But I really feel like we already have our kids. We have all the same feelings that proud parents would have, even though they’re not biologically ours and our family is a little bigger than most.”
Instead of two or three kids down the hall, the Iridium family spans the globe. Young men and women of all different backgrounds and cultures are constantly joining the fold, eager to be a part of the best management firm in combat sports.
The de facto mom of the Darkside clan is none other than Alyssa — but that was never her intention. Alyssa was only vaguely aware of MMA when she received her first direct message from Jason House on Instagram.
“As we got to know each other, Jason said that he was a sports agent, but I didn’t really even know what that meant at the time,” Alyssa admits. “I wasn’t familiar with MMA, but I didn’t really think about it until later when my friends would ask if it was weird to watch people fight and cheer on the violence (laughs).
“I view it as a sport now, of course, but at the time, I did question it a bit (laughs). Like, ‘Is this weird?’”
Weird or not, Alyssa’s early dates with Jason provided an up close and personal look at the inner workings of the fight game.
“Once I started being around MMA more and I got a chance to visit the gyms with Jason, I really started to view it more as a sport,” she says. “A lot of the guys really look up to Jason as a father figure, so I started to feel like I was watching my kids in a Little League game.”
As clients have grown in their careers, so too has Alyssa.
“Alyssa’s role at the agency has grown throughout the term of our relationship,” Jason says. “It started with her coming to events and helping out as she could, to being a major part of the team. She does so much on fight week to ensure our athletes can be successful when they enter the Octagon, we consider her to be one of the agents at the firm.
“No detail is too small for Alyssa.”
Long-time Team Iridium star and part-time philosopher Alexander Hernandez likens Alyssa's and Jason's relationship dynamic to milk and cookies.
"Jason is like that big, tall glass of cold milk; he's going to give you what you need to grow to be the man you need to be. He'll give you what you need, but it's always brisk. Alyssa is like that warm, sweet nourishment. She's that warm, motherly figure who let's you know that everything is going to be OK," Alexander says.
"She's kind of like that mom a lot of us didn't have," he adds. "Certainly when I've always seen her, she's been like a mom to me. A friend, a confidant, and a family member."
Alyssa’s ride with Iridium has included the highest of highs, like when Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno recently won the UFC World Flyweight Championship at UFC 263. She doesn’t pick favorites, but Brandon and the Moreno family most certainly have a special place in Alyssa’s heart.
“We’ve gone through so much with Brandon and his family, so that was an incredible moment,” she says.
Early dates with Jason often featured special appearances by clients like Marlon “Chito” Vera. At the time, Marlon was cutting his teeth in the United States, away from his young family in Ecuador while he did everything he could to provide a better living for the Vera family.
Now the No. 13-ranked bantamweight in the UFC, Marlon is one of the best fighters on the planet, but it wasn’t too long ago that he only had a couple shirts and pairs of pants in his wardrobe and one or two UFC fights under his belt.
“It really is amazing to see how far he and his family have come, and how hard he’s worked to get here,” Alyssa says of Marlon, who tagged along on the pair’s first date and would later go on to officiate the House’s wedding.
But, for every triumph inside and outside the Octagon, there have been defeats. No sport in the world has greater stakes than MMA. An off night in the office can see a beloved associate violently injured, and generally with only half a paycheck to show for their efforts.
“It is hard. I always cry, whether it’s a regional show or a big show. I always think about their kids, their wives, and their life at home away from the spotlight,” Alyssa says.
“After something disappointing happens, sometimes we just go back to the room and sit in silence,” she adds. “We care about our guys so much that, when something so heartbreaking happens, there’s nothing to say. All you can do is collect your thoughts and put on a happy face for when you go back downstairs.
Iridium recently celebrated its 12th year in the fight game. Looking forward, Alyssa has high hopes for the next dozen years.
“Things are going so well, and I just hope that continues,” she says. “I want our clients to keep succeeding in the cage, and I want our agency to continue to stand up for what is right. I want Iridium to be looked at as one of the most respectful and nice groups. I really love when people compliment our guys; that’s one of the best feelings for us.
“And more belts.”
ABOUT IRIDIUM SPORTS AGENCY
Iridium Sports Agency is a full-service professional management firm. Founded in 2009 by attorney Jason House, Iridium represents more than 80 fighters in the UFC, Bellator and ProFightLeague. Iridium's team of agents is devoted to assisting athletes in all aspects of their professional lives.