Gov Bredesen OK fight game overseers Incubator CEO aims for by mikeholy


									Gov. Bredesen OK's fight-game overseers; Incubator CEO
aims for martial-arts debut this fall
On Friday, Gov. Phil Bredesen signed into law a measure that creates a
state commission to oversee boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial
arts. The new law expands state oversight of combat sports. It may
also accelerate a Nashville's entrepreneur's move into global economic

                 First, though, Shane Messer (at left), the
                 erstwhile information-technology
                 manager and founder of Nashville-based
                 Incubator Group, intends to be among the first
                 promoters to schedule a mixed-martial arts      Gameness martial-arts gear is getting full-blown promotional
                                                                                  of the General Assembly's
                 contest in Tennessee. That first event may be treatment in wake freedom for combatants legislating new
                 set in Nashville's Municipal Auditorium,
perhaps as early as this fall, depending on how soon the newly authorized Tennessee Athletic
Commission can get geared-up.

Messer, 33, is working the fight scene for two Incubator companies: Ed Clay's Nashville Mixed Martial
Arts Academy on Allied Drive, one of the ten largest MMA gyms in the nation; and, Gameness, a
provider of martial-arts gear. Although professional lobbyists hired by the Fedex Forum in Memphis and
others carried the fight on Capitol Hill for a the new commission, Messer played a supporting role.

He found himself in that arena as a result of his role in the Incubator Group. Through the firm, Messer
plays a variety of financial and other C-level jobs for his portfolio companies, which generate about $8
million in aggregate annual revenue. In addition to the martial-arts ventures, Messer helps lead
Integrated Product Resources, which provides audio, video, lighting and other technical products and
services; Suite Upgrades Inc., which restores hotel and executive-suite furniture and fixtures; and,
provides pro bono services to Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB), a United Nations-linked nonprofit
based in Hartford, Conn.

Despite his seeming success as an entrepreneur, Messer often seems eager to put business behind
him. He recently told VNC his goal is become directly involved in economic development in other
nations. He said he could imagine himself leading an effort to establish something like the Small
Business Administration in another nation, perhaps Iraq.
Toward such ends, Messer is not only attempting to build wealth through the Incubator Group, he said
he's also studying for undergraduate and law degrees via Tennessee State University and Northern
California University, a nontraditional institution that prepares enrollees to take the California Bar
Exam. As a result of these commitments, Messer told VNC that some weeks he spends no more than ten
hours on portfolio companies, with the remainder of his energies devoted to his education, LWOB and
his nephew and young son.

Not surprisingly, Messer often sounds world-weary. In a recent interview, he ackowledged that having
left home at 15 and having lived awhile on the streets, he's all too familiar with the "fear of being alone"
and destitute -- fears he said "drove me to become obsessive about making enough money" to ensure
he'd never feel stranded, again.

Intent on supporting himself despite his lack of experience and formal education, Messer gained
computer experience early-on. He soon turned his talent into a job as information-technology manager
for Aladdin in Nashville. Soon afterward, he began providing IT services to other clients, which, in turn,
led to his serving as a small-scale private-equity investor and financial executive for startups and other

His efforts have been recognized. In 2005, Messer became one of ten persons worldwide who were
named "Online Volunteer of the Year" by the UN's Volunteers Programme and its Online Volunteering
Service, following Messer's nomination by LWOB.

Messer's first encounter with world attention came in 2003, when he launched a online contest called,
"Find Those Weapons of Mass Destruction," which attracted media attention for about seven months
during the Iraqi War and occupdation -- earning Messer more than $60,000. In 2005, Messer launched
pro bono online project to helped refugees from Hurricane Katrina, matching homeless persons with
available beds.

Messer said fitness and martial-arts were important disciplines for him as he emerged from years of
tribulation. But, he said, today his work with Ed Clay and others "is more fun than anything..."

In nearly the same breath, however, Messer said he intends to strengthen the Gameness apparel
franchise and will promote combatants with high potential. With promotions in mind, he said he
recently bought a 45-foot tour bus, clad in MMA scenes, and has bought a condo in Costa Rica for
entertaining fighters and other VIPs.


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