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MMA agents are starting to sweat

The funny thing about the whole Dana White vs Loretta Hunt situation is that it stemmed from an article that was actually pretty balanced. The article was titled “Some Managers, Agents Lose Backstage Pass” and basically looked at the UFC’s policy of keeping fighter representation out from underfoot during events. It goes back and forth multiple times, laying out agent concerns…

“There have been situations where business has been presented,” said a rep, who also explained that fighters can be approached backstage by sponsors, commercial photographers and press, all toting release forms.

In addition to unreported locker room bonuses, fighter reps have told that verbal contract extensions have taken place. One rep said his fighter was even presented with a written contract to sign without counsel advice before he could continue on with his duties that evening.

…but also sharing the opinions of people who don’t see this as another step towards an evil empire:

“It all depends on your relationship with the fighter,” Cox said. “If they want me backstage, they’ll ask me to be there and give me one of their credentials. If not, I have no problem getting a ticket and watching from the stands.”

“We all have horror stories of what these promotions have tried to do, but I’ll be honest, I’ve never had a problem with any of them except the IFL,” Cox said. “In the end, it comes down to the fighter. I have faith my guys won’t sign anything without me looking at it first.”

The best analysis of the situation is from Zach Arnold, so go there if you want to read that. The worst analysis, that’s my job.

This story is bigger than the UFC booting agents out of the back areas … it’s really about the UFC kicking them in the nuts over and over and over again for the past year or so. From shit-talking managers nonstop during the Randy Couture incident to threatening to excommunicate an entire fight camp over video game rights to slowly taking over the handling of fighter sponsorships, the UFC has been muscling in on agent turf for a while now. And all this is on top of a weak agent system already where contracted payouts are low and fighter turnover is high.

Long story short, agents barely had a leg to stand on before and as time goes on it only seems to be getting worse for them. There’s no denying that this is what’s happening. The only question to ask is if you think it will work out better for the fighters in the long run. And hey … nothing would make me happier if the UFC took over and ushered in a new age where all it’s fighters were compensated fairly for the risks and sacrifices they take. But for some reason (maybe it was Dana’s “Fuck you faggot liar bitches” response to Sherdog’s article), I don’t have a good feeling about all this.