Born in Istanbul in 1983, Ertan Balaban attended Ball State University in Indiana , USA and graduated from Business college. After a couple of years, he started practising the sport of MMA and decided to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is one of the key building blocks of the sport. He founded the ‘‘Mixed Martial Arts’’ club at Ball State University and started offering classes the same year. After graduating from the business administration department of Ball State’s Miller College of Business in 2006, he opened his own gym on campus marking his first entrepreneurship experience. Upon his return to Turkey in 2007, he decided to contribute to the development of these disciplines in Turkey and became the pioneer of these sports.
In 2011, he named his team Balaban JiuJitsu team and signed a contract with WFC, a leading MMA organization in Europe, and won his first match by forcing his opponent into submission with a ‘Mata Leon’ choke at the 50 second mark. He founded Mata Leon Kimonos, a BJJ apparel company, and exported to 28 countries. He concluded his career in 2013 after fighting at the Glory World Series, one of the biggest global organizations, with a 6-2-0 record and proposing to his now wife at the end of his final match. Considering his personal needs as well as the needs of his team, Balaban adopted the idea of opening a strength and conditioning centre and proceeded to dedicate separate parts of the facilities he established to martial arts and CrossFit, the most effective strength and conditioning program in the world, bearing in mind the interplay between different disciplines.
CrossFit Balaban opened the doors of its first location in Ataşehir in 2013 and continued its growth with its second branch in 4. Levent, and third location in Fenerbahçe thus becoming the first affiliate with locations on both sides of Istanbul. In 2018, he changed the concept and named his gym 'Balaban Solid Sports' which is now offering more types of classes. It's a mixure of Functional Training, Fight Club and Welness center.
Ertan Balaban, currently holds a black belt at Atos Jiu-Jitsu under Leo Davila and actively continues his sports business career and entrepreneurship.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.
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