Most of you have heard that Anthos, a private investment company, has positioned themselves to purchase 50% of CrossFit Inc. from Lauren Glassman (Coach Greg Glassman’s ex-wife). The fear is that this company, not understanding what we have, will destroy the nature of what makes our community special. The rumors have been swirling that Anthos would “franchise” the affiliates, force us to peddle supplements and change the nature of what has made us great.
I don’t believe rumors and hate “he-said she-said” battles of social media so when news of this potential hostile take-over came out I spoke directly with representatives of CrossFit HQ to see what the deal was. Their side of the story was compelling and scary. Basically, their story is the worst fear an affiliate owner could imagine – an outsider with substantial power takes control and destroys what we all love so much. But that was only one side of the story, so I called and spoke to Bryan Kelly, the Co-Founder of Anthos. We spoke for over 45 minutes and Mr. Kelly was very forthcoming with his motives, thoughts and intentions. Mr. Kelly stated that he was a CrossFitter, loved CrossFit and that is why he wanted a piece of the action. He believes Greg Glassman is a visionary, an amazing leader, and he repeated that he had no intention of changing the affiliation model. Mr. Kelly was forthcoming, personable and convincing. I thought our conversation would have beeb much more uncomfortable, but I actually enjoyed talking with him and felt more comfortable about the potential CrossFit/Anthos marriage after our conversation.
From the onset I have been reluctant to post about this rocky situation, or get involved in any way. I wanted to know and understand first hand what was happening, but I loathe the social media “he-said, she-said” battles and blog-wars that this has turned into. Having said that, in light of recent events, I now I feel it necessary to voice my opinion on the matter.
As a successful affiliate owner and lover of everything CrossFit I was originally scared to hear of an outside threat potentially taking over the business that has given so much to so many. My conversation with Mr. Kelly helped to subside my fears as he promised that his intentions are not to disrupt a business model that is working so well.
Since our conversation it has become public that Mr. Kelly said, in writing, that he would never approach Lauren about a selling her 50% of CrossFit out of respect for Coach. In the same statement Mr. Kelly said that such a sale would allow a third party the ability to create gridlock. My fear is that Mr. Kelly cannot be trusted. HE LIED. And now I believe he lied to me during our phone conversation and is continuing to lie to the community through his social media posts and emails.
I trust Coach Glassman whole-heartedly and completely. Coach is one of the rare people in this world that every time you speak to him, you feel better about yourself, the community and the future. Coach has always had the best intentions of the community as the driving force behind his decisions. He continues to lead CrossFit to great places, and continues to lead me. He is the single man I have modeled CrossFit New England after. Coach said, “do all the right things for all the right people.” And that is exactly what I have done.
Repeatedly in my conversation with Mr. Kelly, and recently in his Facebook video, Bryan refers to CrossFit as “his investment.” On the other hand, when Coach talks about CrossFit he talks about “his life’s mission”. These two very different viewpoints sum up exactly how Coach and Mr. Kelly view CrossFit and how they would direct the company. Coach is motivated by bettering people’s lives, creating an extended family of affiliates, and “doing all the right things for all the right people.” There is no “end” for Coach. Just like the CrossFit program isn’t a short-term “get-fit-quick” scheme, Coach is in this for the long haul (his entire life), and because of that he can be trusted to make the right decisions. On the other hand, Anthos is motivated by an investment opportunity, and the only way to realize the potential gains from that investment is to cash out at some point. Mr. Kelly and Anthos will not be steering CrossFit with the same core values that we as a community have come to embrace as our ethos.
Mr. Kelly has said that he is a CrossFitter and that he respects and understands the Affiliate Community. But he doesn’t train at an Affiliate. He did for a short while, but left. You can be a CrossFitter and train in your garage, or with a coach, but you cannot understand the business and community of CrossFit if you aren’t part of an affiliate.
My allegiance is with Coach Glassman. He is the reason I started CrossFit New England. If Coach decides the best course of action is for mass de-affiliation, we will be the first to follow him wherever he goes. The comforting thing is, I spoke at an Affiliate Business Seminar this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with close to 40 box owners in attendance, and the feeling was mutual. The resounding sentiment I heard around the room was, “CrossFit is Greg Glassman”. If Coach leaves CrossFit we all believe he can recreate this fitness revolution under another name and he will start it with 4,000 loyal foot soldiers.
My recommendation to Bryan Kelly is to step away. There will be other suitors for Lauren. You are not leaving her in a bad position. Your interest and motives in CrossFit are suspect at best and you are not welcome. Please go away.