We had the good fortune of connecting with Jordan Kurtz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jordan, how do you think about risk?
No nuts, no glory. I used to be very reserved when it came to taking risks and putting myself out there, but I wasn’t happy and wasn’t on track to where I wanted to be in life. A month into starting my business and operations, I got the worst phone call I’ve ever gotten in my life. I had just finished recording a podcast I got the call that my little brother was found dead.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so I empty the cup today. You’ve got to take the bat off your shoulder if you want to get a hit.
I got my very first commentary gig by taking a major risk. I was asked to put the headset on for the first time on 5/5/2019 for No Mercy Extreme Fighting five minutes before the card started. They were in a pinch dealing with a no-show, and Trevor O’Connor recognized me from my online presence and logo on my sweater. He said to the promoter something along the lines of, “this kid knows the sport and knows how to speak on a microphone, so let’s see what he can do live.”
With only five minutes before showtime, I obviously had done zero research and had limited knowledge about some of the early amateur and debutant fighters. That’s a scary situation, overall, but I took it as a challenge. I risked bombing and being terrible in front of all the folks who watched the fights, but I thought of it as I’ll never know if this is something I can do unless I try. Needless to say, I did not bomb. This show led into the next, which led into pay-per-view cards for other promotions, and now also being the voice of the Colorado Combat Club octagon.
Coach Marc Montoya once challenged me to compete in a grappling match to keep my long hair. It wasn’t just a risk of losing my long hair, but also a risk of doing so in front of a room full of people that included UFC personnel, fighters, managers, etc along with an audience of a few thousand people online that watched the live stream. I didn’t lose, and I grew as a person because of it. If I didn’t risk putting myself out there with defeat being a potential outcome, I would not have gained that sense of fulfillment and the mental edge that I did.
My adoption of the philosophy ‘If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later’ has opened so many doors.
Also, to be fair, I’ve also taken risks in business that turned into colossal failures. Those business ventures may have failed, but I was ultimately able to learn from the mistakes.
No one who is successful in life does it by being passive and sitting on their thumbs. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, et al, all risked it for the biscuit throughout their lives.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I had wanted to start the podcast years before I actually did it, but I didn’t have the confidence in myself nor the support from my significant other at the time.
Long story short, I went through some real mental trials and tribulations and thought about the end a time or two when that bad and toxic relationship ended. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, the whole shebang. My saving grace was having my friends over to the house on the weekends for fight nights. A lot of them were fans of the sport, but not to the hardcore level that I was/am. The background info that I could give them on the fighters and then the knowledge I was able to explain while watching fights got to a point where they were literally telling me that I am wasting my passion if I do not pursue it. They were right.
As far as the name Comments From The Peanut Gallery goes, it’s layered. I wanted to give a platform to people who didn’t really have one. The sport has exploded over the last few years, but I still feel like I provide the largest independent platform for Colorado fighters to get their message out. I also now host an MMA radio show every Wednesday night on 98.1 FM Mile High Sports radio, which provides and even bigger reach and platform being that it is digital and on terrestrial radio. I come from Pueblo, CO, where we were always looked at as ‘lower’ whenever we came up north. I come from the cheap seats, and I’ll never forget my roots. I’ve also got the gift of gab and can be a real-smart ass, so I was told many a times growing up by teachers, coaches, relatives, etc. that “we don’t need any comments from the peanut gallery”.
When I started CFTPG, I covered all sports and some pop-culture topics, I had former NFL players, collegiate all-Americans, a couple business owners, a DefJam DJ, but it was really the MMA community that embraced me. I will still have guests outside of the MMA space on the show from time-to-time, but fighting is what I care the most about in life.
The original slogan was ‘No topic is safe from Comments From The Peanut Gallery’. I’m a first ballot hall of fame lip-sparring champion who can throw down roasts and one-liners with the best of them. I started off like a sawed off shotgun shooting from the hip and spraying anything and everything like a hood version Barstool’s KFC or Michael Rapaport.
Now, I keep that same energy, but I channel it and choose my battles more wisely. If all you do are outrage and rant videos, that’s what you become known for. I’d rather be more collected as a whole, then turn up and drop the mic when it’s necessary.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If we were to go out and about for a week, the mornings would start by hitting a coffee shop. I’d mix it up between Dirt in Littleton, Kaladi by DU, Corvus on Broadway, and Milano in Greenwood Village.
We would enjoy the Colorado outdoors at places like WashPark, Sloan’s Lake, Red Rocks, and hit the water on the Chatfield Res gravel ponds when it is warm enough.
As far as food goes, there’s a few places on my go-to list for when friends come to Denver. Anywhere from Hapa Sushi, Ohana Island Kitchen, Illegal Pete’s, any spot in Avanti, Tokyo Joe’s, Pho Littleton, and more would be on the list.
Then, naturally, we’d get our training in every night at Factory X in Englewood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, everything I do is dedicated to my baby brother, Jacob Alan Kurtz, who tragically died in 2018.
Overall, I have a lot of inspiring forces. First, my brother not being here anymore inspires me to be the best I can be for both of us, and I want to be someone my parents, Mona and Jeff, are proud of. My mom has always been a rock for all of us and I want her to see her son succeed.
I’m also inspired by people like Coach Marc Montoya at Factory X. Coach is a guy with diverse interests that don’t fit the ‘mold’ of what you would think from this hand-to-hand combat master. We both have a baseball background, we both worked in finance at one stage in our lives, and we are both entrepreneurs that are chasing our dreams. I have grown more as a person because of the wisdom and conversations with Coach over the past few years than ever in my life. Coach has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and grow.
I’ll never forget sitting in the car with him while on a pheasant hunt with Anthony Lionheart Smith and him telling me, “You’re not getting paid anywhere near what you are worth right now. But if you really love it and you stick it out, the day will come where you will be paid far more than you ever imagined for what you do.” That hit home and resonates still to this day, years later, because I am still on that pursuit.
Coach also hates my long hair and put me up to competing in a 5-minute submission grappling match in the training area of the hotel for UFC 241, and if I lost, I would’ve had to shave my head and if I didn’t lose he would never give me a hard time about it again. He’s a man of his word, he doesn’t bust my chops for it even though I know he still hates it.
Coach is a straight up OG savage, but he’s also a human with whom I have a great relationship with. He helped me find my ‘why’ and I will be forever grateful because of it.
I’ve also got to give a lot of credit to UFC fighter Youssef Zalal. I met Youssef right after my brother died (years before Youssef was in the UFC) and I was at a crossroads of going down a self-destructive path or trying to break the mold and carve my lane. Youssef shared with me that he experienced the same trauma and he not only inspired me to be better mentally with my approach, but also got me to a better place with my physical health. I was fat and out of shape, but he pushed the right buttons to light a fire under my ass and make me get into the best physical shape of my life (went from 210 lbs to 170 lbs), which was a major compliment to my newfound mental approach.
JaCobi Jones/Dirty Toe Films Kongo/Gold Reel Productions Garrett Franklin/Franklin Films