ETFMG: Meet Our Heavyweight Champ Aleksei Oleinik

As Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik prepares for his fight tomorrow, the UFC’s first event of 2020, his official training & exclusive global financial partner ETFMG created the below video for their heavyweight champ. ETFMG also made this statement:

“Everyone at ETFMG is thrilled that our ETF heavyweight champ, Aleksei Oleinik, will be a Main Card event at UFC 246 tomorrow night in Las Vegas. From one industry heavyweight to another, Aleksei is a force to be reckoned with and we are proud to be his sponsor.”

An NBA Contract…Christmas Surprise…and Rumble in Vegas

Miami Heat Signs Chris Silva To Three-Year Contract

Chris Silva signed a three-year contract with the Miami Heat. The forward began the 2019-2020 NBA season on a two-way deal with the Heat and has proven himself to two-time NBA Champion Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, his teammates, and, of course, the Miami fan base. With his #SilvaSlams, rim protection, and hustle, Chris earned the opportunity.

Chris and the Heat take on the San Antonio Spurs in Miami at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 15th for their next matchup.

Alexey Oleynik Set To Take On Next Opponent In UFC 246

On Saturday, January 18th, UFC heavyweight fighter Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik (Alexey Oleynik) will be stepping into the octagon to go up against Maurice Green in UFC Fight Night 246.

The showdown will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas around 10 p.m. ET and can be viewed on ESPN+.

Bumble Taps Lexie Brown As Brand Ambassador

Social network Bumble, best known for its usage as a dating application, launched the “Queen Bee Program” in late 2019 and tapped WNBA player Lexie Brown as a brand ambassador for the rollout. Queen Bee’s focus is building a community founded on women’s empowerment through Bumble events, marketing initiatives and everyday conversations.

As a #BumblePartner, Lexie utilized her Instagram (@lexiebrown4) to reach her 128k followers. Her participation included one static post (pictured above) and two Instagram stories.

Chris Silva Reunites With His Mom After Three Years Apart

It was a Christmas miracle for Miami Heat forward Chris Silva…because he thought he was seeing a ghost.

On December 27, 2019, Chris’ mother, Carine Minkoue Obame, walked into the AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat.

“We have a great surprise for you,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told Chris following a practice. “Merry Christmas, brother.”

“That’s my mum,” Silva said, sobbing after seeing his mother.

It had been three years since Chris last saw her.

He told reporters that he had talked to his mother over the phone on Christmas Day and never imagined that he would see her soon.

“I thought I was seeing a ghost,” Silva said of the reunion.

Watch the heartwarming reunion here.

Oleg Prudius “Smiles” For A Great Photographer

Oleg Prudius, who is currently filming the movie, “Miami Heat,” was the subject of a photo shoot done by renowned photographer James Salzano.

451 Media Group continues to develop Rogan, a mythical God of Gods, a character based on Prudius.

Check out the photos here.

View the full newsletter here.

Alexey Oleynik & Andrei Arlovski Top UFC List

Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleynik is #1 overall in the category of current UFC fighters with the most fights in his career with 71. His overall record is 57-13-1.

Andrei Arlovski is tied for #5 on this list with 49 total fights. His overall record is 28-19-0 (2 NC).

Miami Herald: Silva’s surprise reunion

Inside the surprise that had Heat’s Chris Silva thinking he was ‘seeing a ghost’

By Anthony Chiang

Basketball worked to separate Chris Silva from his family. Seven years later, basketball helped to reunite Silva and his family.

A native of Gabon, Africa, Silva left his home country in 2012 just days away from turning 16 to come to the United States with a dream of making it to the NBA. Silva, now 23, had seen his parents and three brothers only once since then, and that was when he returned to Gabon for two weeks to renew his visa as a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

But just hours prior to Friday’s home win over the Pacers, the Heat, the NBA and NBA Africa teamed up to surprise Silva with his mother, Carine Minkoue Obame, following the team’s walkthrough. It marked the first time he had seen his mother in three years.

Silva, who is playing on a two-way contract with the Heat, was caught completely off guard.

“As a matter of fact, I talked to her like two days ago and she was still back home on Christmas,” Silva said in advance of Saturday’s Heat matchup against the 76ers at AmericanAirlines Arena. “We were just talking, catching up and all that. I saw right after the walkthrough, I saw her walking in and I couldn’t believe who it was. I thought I was seeing a ghost. After I realized it was her, I couldn’t help myself. I was emotional.

“This is a great league. For them to do something like that for me means a great deal. It shows the heart of the people running the league and NBA Africa. I just thank them, I’m grateful for them doing this.”

The Heat documented the surprise. The video showed a shocked Silva as his mother walked onto the AmericanAirlines Arena court, with teammates and coaches huddled around him. It unfolded like this:

“The holidays also are really about being around the people you love, and mostly everybody feels very grateful that you’re able to spend that quality time,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said to the team in the video, setting up the surprise for Silva.

“But I always think about Silva,” Spoelstra went on to say. “When was the last time you saw your family?”

“Three years ago,” Silva answered.

“We have a great surprise for you,” Spoelstra said. “Merry Christmas, brother.”

That’s when Silva’s mom walked through the tunnel and onto the court.

“That’s my mom!” Silva said in the video, seemingly in disbelief moments after realizing it was his mother and quickly bursting into tears.

Following Friday’s game, Spoelstra called it “one of the most special moments I’ve been a part of in this profession.”

“This has been in the works for about a month and I was so nervous bringing the group together,” Spoelstra said. “… To be a part of it as an organization, to be able to make this happen with the NBA and to be able to experience and have Chris experience this moment, it was really incredible. And hearing the gasps and the responses from his teammates is something I’ll keep with me for a long time.”

Heat wing Jimmy Butler said of Silva’s moment: “That’s love right there. Family is everything and that will always be bigger than basketball. For his mom to be here is special. He has been away from her for so long and he’s working incredibly hard. … I hope that they stay up all night and talk about what they missed over these past three years.”

When Silva first arrived to the United States from Gabon in 2012, he didn’t speak English and had never been on an airplane before the long trip. Once Silva made it to the United States, he attended and played basketball at Roselle Catholic High in New Jersey before playing four college seasons at South Carolina.

At first, the transition to the United States was a tough one.

“Coming here and not knowing anybody, speaking no English, it was a challenge at first,” said Silva, who did not play in Friday’s win. “Basketball just helped me get through all of this, get away from those sad moments. It definitely helped me get through all of this. Basketball then made my family come here, I’m just grateful for this game.”

Spoelstra remembers when Silva revealed his story to the team during training camp in early October. While Spoelstra didn’t know much about Silva’s background before the Heat signed him as an undrafted free agent this past offseason, he learned a lot about Silva in that moment.

“Back in training camp, one of the nights, one of our sessions, some of the young guys told their stories to the team and Chris’ story stood out,” Spoelstra said. “Incredible bravery on his part to be able to come to a new country, didn’t speak the language, didn’t know anybody, to chase a dream. We feel that we’re a place where we can make dreams happen. But I had goosebumps. Everybody has goosebumps when he was telling that story. Then to fast track three months to be able to be a part of something like this is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my career.”

Silva entered Saturday averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 9.5 minutes in 25 games with the Heat this season. With two-way contract players allowed to spend up to 45 days in the NBA during the G League season and the rest of the time with their team’s G League affiliate, Silva has yet to be sent down to the developmental league.

The Heat will have enough room under the hard cap to convert Silva’s two-way contract to a standard NBA contract starting Jan. 14, and Silva has enough two-way days available to play in every one of Miami’s games before then. The Heat has an open roster spot with just 14 players currently under standard deals.

If Silva has his two-way deal converted to a standard NBA contract, that will be another memorable day. But Friday stands alone.

“Today has been crazy,” Silva said. “From seeing my mom and catching a good win, all that, it’s crazy. I’m shook.”

Silva will have his mother with him for the next 10 days. And he can’t wait to spend time with her.

“I don’t know much about Miami, but I’m going to find out about Miami,” Silva said. “I’m going to try to take her out to dinner to some nice places and spend a lot of time with her.”

View the full story on Miami Herald.

Miami Herald: Family is Heat Rookie Chris Silva’s Motivation

Heat rookie Chris Silva’s motivation? Family and the dream to one day be reunited.

By Anthony Chiang

Running can be symbolic of so many things.

For Heat forward Chris Silva, running is symbolic of his unique journey and hope to one day be reunited with his family.

The undrafted rookie describes himself as more of the long-distance type who is known for his two-mile runs following basketball workouts. Silva prefers to run on a track or any circular path.

That’s where the symbolism comes in.

“It just unblocks my head. All I think about is making it,” Silva said of running. “There’s something about it. I like to do a circle because when I get tired in a circle, I know I can’t stop here. I have to finish to get back to the house.”

Playing under a two-way contract with the Heat, Silva (6-8, 234 pounds) is currently on his own circular path trying to make it back home to his family. He’s averaging 4.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 games in his first NBA season.

A native of Gabon, Africa, Silva left his home country in 2012 just days away from turning 16 to come to the United States with a dream of making it to the NBA. He has seen his parents and siblings only once since then, and that was when he returned to Gabon for two weeks to renew his visa as a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

“Two weeks felt like two days, to be honest,” said Silva, 23, of his lone trip back to Africa to visit his mother, father and three brothers. “I don’t think anybody besides my uncle has ever seen me play basketball.”

Silva’s uncle, Miguel, will watch him play again Wednesday when the Heat faces the Celtics at TD Garden. The Heat (14-5) begins a challenging back-to-back set Tuesday against the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

Miguel, who is Silva’s legal guardian, lives in Boston and is one of Silva’s only relatives in the United States. The two have been through a lot together.

Miguel stayed up all night to track the four different flights Silva took to first arrive to the United States from Gabon. Silva didn’t speak English and had never been on an airplane before that long trek, with Miguel worried he would get lost along the way.

Once Silva made it to the United States to attend and play basketball at Roselle Catholic High in New Jersey, there were tough times Miguel had to talk Silva through. Silva was homesick almost immediately.

“He felt lonely. He wanted to see his mom, his dad,” Miguel recalls. “But he couldn’t make it. I remember at some point, the high school told me he had been down and they wanted to send him home to see his family. I said, ‘No, I’m going to talk to him because he just got here.’ I didn’t want him to want to go back right away.”

Miguel told Silva: “It’s a struggle, I understand. You feel lonely. I also got to the point after three months that I wanted to go back home, too. You’re going to be fine. You got good people who love you.”

Now, Miguel sends daily updates to their family in Gabon regarding Silva’s accomplishments — from being voted onto the SEC’s All-Defensive team in each of his final two seasons at South Carolina to playing for the Heat as an undrafted rookie.

While attending the Heat’s Oct. 23 season opener against the Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena, Miguel sent a short video to the family of Heat public address announcer Michael Baiamonte introducing Silva when he entered his first regular-season NBA game.

“I have to update the family pretty much every day,” Miguel said. “They try to watch him play online, but the internet is so messed up over there. Now they have WhatsApp, so I can take a picture or record a video and send it to them.”

The time change also makes it difficult for Silva’s family to watch any of his games. A 7:30 p.m. Heat home game begins at 1:30 a.m. in Gabon.

“It’s a luxury to have cable in Gabon, especially to have those channels for those games,” Miguel said.

Silva has grown accustomed to going through life on his own, though. It has been seven years since he arrived in the United States.

“After spending all these years doing it by myself, I kind of got a hang of it,” Silva said. “But it would be nice. I don’t want to say being away from them is difficult, but it would be nice once something is hard or I have a good game to go home and see my mom. Talk to somebody in the family.”

View the full story on Miami Herald.

Alexey Oleynik + ETFMG Sponsorship Highlighted in Bloomberg

In Zero-Fee Era, Wrestlers and Astronauts Help Funds Fight Back

By Claire Ballentine

  • ETF issuers need to stand out in market ruled by three firms
  • Tactics include advertising gimmicks, and taking to Twitter

Smaller asset managers are getting creative as they look to take the fight to the likes of BlackRock. Meet the Boa Constrictor.

The UFC heavyweight best known for winning bouts with a rare judo chokehold burst onto the exchange-traded-fund scene earlier this year as an unlikely advocate for a cannabis fund run by ETF Managers Group. At a dinner arranged by the issuer in midtown Manhattan last month, Boa — real name Alexey Oleynik — taught impromptu lessons on how to throw a punch, and flexed for tough-guy photos in a shirt branded with the company’s logo.

It may seem like a gimmick, but the intent is serious: Oleynik is bringing ETFMG to the masses, bearing the firm’s name during fights and spreading its brand on social media.

Read the full story on Bloomberg.

Miami Herald: Heat converts forward Chris Silva to two-way deal. Here’s why he has drawn Haslem comparisons

By David Wilson and Anthony Chiang

Chris Silva’s impressive preseason has earned him one of the Heat’s two available two-way contracts.

The Heat awarded the forward with a two-way contract following its preseason finale Friday in Miami, a league source confirmed. Silva played 12 minutes, scored three points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out an assist in the 144-133 loss to the Rockets at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Associated Press first reported the news on Silva, who went undrafted out of South Carolina this year.

Two-way contracts allow a player to spend up to 45 days with an NBA team during the G League season and the rest of the time must be spent with the team’s developmental affiliate, and the contract prevents the player from being signed by another NBA team. Silva is expected to spend most of the season with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Silva, 23, finished the preseason averaging 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 9.8 minutes per game. He played in each of the Heat’s five tune-ups, and his best performance came in the preseason opener with 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Silva has drawn comparisons to Heat veteran forward Udonis Haslem because of play style and the fact they both played for Frank Martin, who coached Silva with the Gamecocks and Haslem at Miami High.

“In terms of the ferocity, the competitiveness, the aggressiveness on the glass … yeah, you can make those comparisons,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier this week. “I mentioned that to Chris in one of our film sessions that just the way he approaches the game every single day with that competitive edginess to him is similar to the guy who’s going to have his number retired here.

“That’s a perfect example of somebody who may have had to do it in a different way, not getting drafted and having to play overseas. But he fought and scratched and crawled his way back to be in this league, and he was not going to take no for an answer. Just from the little bit I’ve gotten to know Chris, I think he’s going to be similar. He’s going to make you have to make decisions. That’s what you want from young players.”

Silva said earlier this week of the Haslem comparisons: : “I get it so much. It’s crazy. I mean, I respect it because UD is my guy. He’s a vet and look at what he has done for this organization. There’s a lot of respect. His mentality is rock solid, so I try to learn a lot from him during practice and during training camp. He has just taught me so much. His leadership has been big time during this process.”

Silva is from Gabon in Central Africa and began living in the United States as a 16-year-old.

Silva is known for his defense, as he was the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2017-18 and was voted onto the SEC’s All-Defensive team in each of his final two seasons at South Carolina. He finished his South Carolina career with 1,509 career points, which ranks 10th in program history, and also ranks sixth in rebounds (876), third in free throws made (577) and sixth in blocked shots (186).

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound athlete was one of six Heat players on an Exhibit 10 deal vying for a two-way contract, along with guards Daryl Macon, Bubu Palo, Davon Reed and Skyler Flatten, and forward Kyle Alexander.

The Heat currently has 20 players on its roster, but there will be cuts made soon. NBA teams have to trim their rosters down to 15 players (not counting the two two-way contract players) by Monday, which means making final decisions Saturday because of the 48-hour waiver period.

For the Heat, the only decision left is who will fill its one remaining two-way contract spot.

Miami is locked into 14 players on the regular-season roster to remain beneath the luxury-tax threshold, but it can hand out one more two-way contract. The Heat can either convert another one of its Exhibit 10 players to a two-way deal Saturday instead of waiving them, or waive each of the five remaining Exhibit 10 players on its roster and leave its other two-way slot open until another player it prefers becomes available.

The list of former Heat two-way contract players includes Matt Williams Jr., Derrick Walton Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., Yante Maten and Duncan Robinson.

Read the story in the Miami Herald.

Chris Silva Makes Waves in First Miami Heat Preseason Game

By Anthony Chiang

Forward Chris Silva, who is among those competing for a two-way contract from the Heat, impressed in his 14 minutes Tuesday. Undrafted out of South Carolina, Silva finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

“He made us watch him. That’s for sure,” Spoelstra said of Silva. “He’s had those moments in training camp, too. The offensive rebounding, the pursuits. He had a great block tonight. But he probably had five blocks better than that in training camp, where he shocked everybody in the gym. His efforts, his second jumps, his pursuits, all of these things, that’s a talent. That’s a skill to have a motor like that.”

To read the full recap, visit the Miami Herald.

Business Insider: 451 Media, Oleg Prudius Sign Deal To Develop Mythical Character

Former WWE Star the influence for new character, Rogan

NEW YORKSept. 30, 2019 – 451 Media Group has signed an agreement with Oleg Prudius to develop a series based on an all new mythical character, Rogan, God of Gods, the company announced today.

451 Media Group is a diversified media, tech and entertainment company co-founded by Michael BayAnthony GentileJohn Gentile and Doug Nunes, that empowers original and mainstream creators across film, TV, immersive VR/AR, mobile gaming, digital content, and publishing.  451’s portfolio includes original IP from such acclaimed talents as Scott RosenbergGeorge PelecanosRob Cohen and Mark Mallouk and many more.  451 is also a strategic investor with a portfolio in a range of innovative media technology companies.

“Meeting Oleg led to us developing this character which he can embody and bring to life,” said 451 co-founder Anthony Gentile. “It was a first for us as all of our previous characters had been based on fictional characters; it allowed us to incorporate those unique aspects of Oleg’s bigger-than-life persona that so impressed and fascinated us, and to create a wholly new original character and mythology. We are all thrilled to have ‘The Big O’ in our 451 family.”

Prudius wrestled under the name “Vladimir Kozlov, The Moscow Mauler.” He won the WWE Tag Team Championship with his partner Santino Marella and regularly fought against the biggest names in the sport including Triple H, The Undertaker, Jeff Hardy and Shawn Michael. Prudius was also the 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion. Since becoming an actor, Prudius has logged 21 credits which include roles in The Fate of the Furious and John Wick: Chapter 2 and, most recently, in season two of Marvel’s The Punisher. His most significant role came as the strong man “Bear” in the action thriller and billion dollar box office hit Wolf Warrior II.

“I am honored that 451 is developing the character Rogan with me as the model,” said Prudius. “I owe so much to Vince McMahon and WWE for giving me the opportunity to build my personal brand, and now I must thank Anthony and the team at 451 for opening even more doors.  As I have researched my ancestry, the character of Rogan could easily have been my ancestral blood. This is a project I am so deeply excited to develop.”

“Oleg is an amazingly talented and dedicated professional,” said Robert Zito, Managing Partner of IPZ, which represents Prudius. “He is a phenomenal ambassador for brands, and will literally go through walls to make his projects successful. We could not be more happy for him.”

About 451 Media Group:  451 Media Group is a full spectrum media entertainment company that builds its own IP and portfolio of exclusive transmedia brands to provide the highest quality stories, characters, and engaging new worlds. 451 utilizes leading advancements in mobile and online technology, and other innovative media channels to develop and launch its IP and brands across all worldwide platforms.  For more information, visit www.4five1.com.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

To view on Business Insider, click here.

IPZ Board Member Bob Hurley Named the Greatest Scholastic Coach in New Jersey History

The Greatest of All-Time

By Matthew Stanmyre

1. Bob Hurley, St. Anthony (boys basketball)

In 45 years as coach at St. Anthony, Hurley led the tiny Catholic school tucked in the shadows of Jersey City to 28 state championships, 13 Tournament of Champions titles, eight undefeated seasons, four national championships and 1,184 wins, establishing an unmatched legacy in New Jersey high school sports. In addition, more than 200 of Hurley’s players went on to play in college and several made it to the NBA. In 2010, he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. His career may have kept going, except St. Anthony, after years of struggling, shuttered in 2017 amid financial constraints.

To view the list of the top 10 New Jersey coaches, visit the Star Ledger.