With all the recent news concerning the problems between Zuffa, the UFC, Strikeforce and Golden Glory, the use of managers in MMA has come under the microscope.
First Round Management’s Malki Kawa, in an interview with MMA Weekly, tried to dispel some of those problems.
Kawa came under fire when he signed current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to a contract, as many claimed Jones was still signed with another agency.
“Jon approached one of my clients, which was Thiago Alves, and he asked him who represented him, because (Jones) wanted the same representation,” Kawa said. “And that’s how our relationship started. It took a certain amount of money to settle to get out. I don’t think Jon is ever going to look back again because of the type of work I do for him.”
Kawa has a different way of working with his fighters, as he does not believe in long term contracts because if the fighter wants out, he should be able to walk at any given time.
“If you’re a manager and you’re paying a fighter who’s in the UFC money so that they can be with you, you suck,” Kawa said. “You’re probably the worst type of manager out there. And if you’re a fighter, and you’re taking money from a manager for the same reason, then you probably suck too, and you shouldn’t do it.”
Kawa also doesn’t believe in claiming a percentage of “Fight of the Night” or any other bonus money because the fighter is responsible for the performance-based award.
When asked about another client, Ben Henderson, Kawa sees a perfect opponent out there to match up with his superstar.
“Clay Guida would be the guy that would make the most sense based on scheduling,” Kawa said.
He also said that Diego Sanchez, who meets Matt Hughes at UFC 135, has “chased away all his demons” while training with Team Jackson in New Mexico.