Alex Gasson is so loyal to the moniker Shawn Tompkins gave him; he keeps it alive today through his company’s name.
Gasson (Twitter @Pecker17), Ontario grappling promoter and manager of Adrenaline Training Center in London, Ontario, is a longtime member of Team Tompkins. He was brought up by Shawn Tompkins in same group and era as Mark Hominick, Sam Stout and Chris Horodecki.
Though, Gasson may not have the UFC notoriety such as Stout or Hominick, he does have his own place in combat sports. Gasson’s company, Pecker‘d Promotions, has a plethora of professional services for martial artists and event coordinating. Pecker’d Promotions is named after Gasson’s nickname, “Pecker,” which may seem like an odd handle and even stranger company appellation. However, when that label stems from “The Coach,” it’s something you carry for life.
“Shawn (Tompkins) did have everything to do with naming me ‘Pecker,’” Gasson explained to Jason Kelly and Joe Rizzo on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “It’s a funny story. It was Team Tompkins, it was old school. We we’re driving to Iowa, it was kickboxing, we did a lot of IKS kickboxing circuits. We’re ripping through, (Mark) Hominick is driving one van with seven fighters, I’m driving another van of like seven fighters and we’re ripping down. Its 4 o’clock in the morning, we’ve been driving forever, so we’re speeding. Hominick rips around passed me, cop catches him, pulls him down. Well, we’re kind of together so I pulled over about a mile, mile and a half ahead. Cop shows up, gives us a ticket as well, too. I meet up with the guys and they’re like, ‘Oh, pecker.’ That’s where it started; pecker. I was like, ‘What are you talking about, pecker?’ The cop made us pay this fine right then and there; otherwise we had to spend the night in the pecker. He was referring to putting us in jail. So, we all flipped. It was 200-250 bucks per car we had to pay this cop. We looked into it, it was all legal. That’s how it all started. Shawn was like, ‘You freaking pecker.’ It just stayed from there and I kind of went with it. Plus, I had to go with it. It’s Team Tompkins, if someone gives you a nickname and that was it, you have no choice. You can’t choose your own nicknames because everybody would be like, “Thor” or “He-Man” or “Hercules” or “Snake Eyes,” you know? Cool, cool stuff. I got stuck with “Pecker,” so I’m rolling with it.”
Pecker’d Promotions is responsible for arranging grappling events in southern Ontario. Gasson’s last function was December 2012, when Grapplers Quest took place in London, Ontario.
The show was a success, with 380 grapplers in competition. Having Fear The Fighter as the grandmaster sponsor allowed victors to receive significant prizes, and fans to win giveaways. Gasson said the level of competition was high, which made for some interesting matches, but the most fun he had all day was watching the kids do battle.
The highlight for Gasson at Grapplers Quest, though, was getting to unveil some new features.
“It was the first time ever had a tournament where all participants’ names were digitally recognized,” Gasson said. “It was the first time we implemented a very professional look. People got to see their names, the order of their matches, that sort of thing on TV screens. There were monitors mounted on each mat, so that was really cool. It was interesting to work with that.”
Always looking to move ahead, Gasson is embarking on his next grappling tournament. On Feb. 24 at the Western Fair District Agriplex Building in London, Ontario, Pecker’d Promotions in association with Absolute Grappling Championship will put on the “32 Man Showdown.”
The “32 Man Show Down” will be Gasson’s fourth event of its kind, and the competition is stiff. It’s an inexpensive show that is open to the public, which will display intense levels of grappling, but Gasson is anticipating another aspect the event offers.
“This is all about the entertainment factor of being a pugilist,” Gasson said. “A pugilist is a fighter. These MMA guys, when it boils down to it, you are an entertainer. You can be the toughest guy in the world, but if nobody wants to watch you fight and nobody wants to pay for a ticket to go watch you fight, you’re not going to make any money out of it. No promoter is going to bring you in.
“So, I’m trying to bring back the entertainment value of the sport. We all love it, but a lot of guys don’t know you can have this tournament, and this guy that weighs 150 pounds is going in and a guy that weighs 400 pounds is going in and they’re going to end up having a match.”
While “Pecker” is constructing these elaborate grappling tourneys in the province of Ontario, he has an idea what the coach who gave him such a nickname is doing.
“God rest his soul,” Gasson said. “”The Admiral,” he’s up above watches us crazy buggers keep this sport of MMA going.”