There’s been a quiet battle going on behind the scenes between the UFC and fighter management. The UFC wants to hold onto the power to make whatever fights they want and not have to pay out the nose for them. Managers are more about watching out for their fighter’s long term careers and trying to milk a promotion for every penny they can. So it should be no surprise that there’s a decent amount of butting heads going on. Or rather the UFC headbutting the sh*t out of managers.
You won’t read much about this story because the last reporter who covered it got called a c*nt by Dana White in a video blog and was excommunicated from the UFC media circle. Since then, White has been pretty vocal about how most MMA management sucks and actively encourages fighters to minimize the role agents play in their lives. You may remember Alistair Overeem severing ties with Golden Glory after a conversation with Lorenzo Fertitta. You may not remember several of the other times stuff like that has gone on. And now here’s Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua explaining why he left his long time manager:
“There are some different people helping me with this part right now; I’m still thinking. The UFC has made it clear that we don’t need a manager; all negotiations are conducted by the athletes themselves. A manager today is not like in the Pride days. At that time, they had much more weight. I am in favor of a manager, that’s not the reason that I separated from Eduardo. I want to work with people nearby: Eduardo works in Sao Paulo and I’m in Curitiba. But, this is not the only reason. There are others, like I said.”
This is one of those times where I am both impressed and terrified at the UFC’s ability to get their way. Not only are they succeeding at curtailing the power of agents, but they’ve got their own fighters leading the charge. I’m all for some checks and balances to keep fighters from ducking opponents or demanding insane-o money for fights, but this is just another situation where the UFC has so much power you end up having to just hope they won’t be evil with it. Considering their track record, that’s not always the safest bet.