Ellis Younger is a 19-year-old blue belt from Newcastle, England. This self-motivated and highly independent young man has three sponsors – BJJ Globetrotters, Roll Supreme, and the If U Care Share Foundation – who help him out with everything from travel expenses and competition entry fees to clothing and BJJ kimonos.
He’s unusual in this day and age in that he doesn’t have a teacher and is mostly self-taught, yet he has always sought out the best jiu-jitsu he can by travelling around the world to train and compete. Over the last two years he’s travelled to places such as California, Rio de Janeiro, Denmark, Portugal, and more.
When asked why he sponsors Ellis, Christian of BJJ Globetrotters simply says “Because he spends more money on traveling than he does on food. And he’s broke”. It may sound like he’s joking, but it’s important to note that when Christian met Ellis at one of the BJJ Globetrotter camps he was obviously left with the impression that Ellis is a dedicated young man who’s not out for a free ride.
Jack Colvin from Roll Supreme backs this up: “He’s always been really enthusiastic about the sport but at the same time pretty humble. It was the fact that he was so dedicated to travelling to the best places to train, and he’d accomplished so much just training out of a community centre in the middle of nowhere. He’s clearly prepared to go above an beyond to accomplish his goals in BJJ.”
As part of his relationship with Roll Supreme Ellis receives training gear as well as discounted merchandise that he can sell on to other people. “I’ve given him cash when he was in California and ran out of money,” says Jack. “I think he’s going to play a big role in the BJJ scene for a long time and that could take many different forms. I’m happy to support him in whichever way he takes his jiu jitsu journey.”
Read below his case study as taken directly from our eBook The Ultimate Guide to Getting Sponsorship in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:
Tell me about your sponsorships. How long have you been working together and how did they get started?
I have been working with Roll Supreme for about a year now and BJJ Globetrotters for around 5 months. It all got started just through knowing the guys and competing, making a name for myself.
If U Care Share Foundation are a suicide prevention charity. One of my friend’s brothers committed suicide back in 2005 and his family set up the charity as an answer to his death and to help out others who are in the same situation post-suicide. They travel around the country doing workshops for young people, encouraging them to talk about problems. We decided to work together and they help me out with some costs and I try to spread their message.
Is your sponsorship a formal affair? Do you have a contract and a list of obligations you must fulfil? If not, how does it work?
I don’t have a contract or a formal list of obligations, no. The guys are just happy to trust me to promote their brand via social media and by wearing clothing at competitions and so on.
What kind of support do you receive from your sponsor?
I receive a lot of gear which I am really grateful for, I literally never have to buy anything. I have even had financial support from my sponsors which is amazing!
If U Care Share Foundation support me financially. I don’t have a contract but they just help out with something once or twice a year, one year they bought me a gi then another time paid for a hotel. I wear patches and promote them via social media.
How do you personally go the extra mile in supporting your sponsor?
I try to recommend their products to everyone I talk to because I for one get to wear the clothing and training gear the most so I know exactly what it is like and I really believe it is some of the nicest gear I have ever worn. As I travel a lot, people are always asking about my gi’s and T-shirts so I’m always promoting it via word of mouth and whenever I can sneak a picture in on social media I will.
How important to your career is having a sponsor?
It is so important, as I said, I literally never have to buy any training gear which is a huge help. I don’t have much money as it is, so any financial support helps and saving me the cost of training gear helps dramatically.
What advice would you give to someone who’s trying to get sponsored?
Just keep competing and make a name for yourself, build a good social media following and the rest will follow naturally.
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