The economy has affected many club operators these days, but I recently heard from a mixed martial arts club operator who says that he was dealt a punch by a very different source recently.
Eric Hibler, owner of Eric Hibler's Pittsburgh Fight Club, contacted me earlier this week to say that his facility was devastated by a flash flood on Saturday, June 8. Because his club is not in a flood plain, he did not have flood insurance. Therefore, his insurance policy does not cover the damages.
And the damages are considerable. The flood waters included raw sewage and other particles that the EPA and other agencies have told Hibler will destroy any porous materials that they touch. They've also told him that no manner of cleaning or disinfecting will make the materials usable again.
So, Hibler is reaching out to other club operators for advice about what to do. We ran a story about clubs that dealt with flood-related circumstances in 2008.
Have you been in a similar situation? What did you do? Are there agencies to which he can turn?
Hibler also is trying to rally his community to help.
“We are in desperate straits and could use some more voices to inspire some type of community outreach program to help us get back on our feet,” Hibler wrote in his e-mail. He has set up a relief fund on his club's website to take donations and explain what happened to his facility, which was recently used to film a mixed martial arts movie titled “Warrior.”
You can offer your suggestions to Hibler by commenting on this blog, or reach out to him directly at [email protected].