Its High Time For Athletic Commissions to Dig Into MMA Manager Practices

Today retired MMA fighter published quite the tweet. I’ll let it speak for itself.

If this was revealed in any major league sport it would be top news on ESPN, Sports Illustrated and probably major outlets outside of sports. But in MMA crickets.

Let me break down the legal scandal in plain English.

Managers represent their clients. They owe them a ‘fiduciary duty’ meaning they must put their clients best career financial interests first. The most basic of which is negotiating the best pay day for their bouts.

If a manager says to the opposing side of a negotiation “we will take even less so you know I am easy to work with” they are looking to do one thing. Line their pockets by short changing their clients. That is a breach of fiduciary duty.

Many North American athletic commissions licence MMA managers. The standards for who qualifies are basically non-existent letting grossly underqualified people represent other’s career financial interests for profit. This needs to change.

But even with the lax standards in place something like this should not be tolerable to commissions. Many have the power to suspend or revoke the licence of someone who brings disrepute to the sport. A manager throwing their own clients under the bus to curry favour with a promoter certainly does that.

To look at two quick examples the Nevada Commission enjoys the power to

suspend or revoke the license, approval, registration or sanctioning of, impose a ban on participation in unarmed combat in this State for a certain period against, otherwise discipline, or take any combination of such actions against, a person licensed, approved, registered or sanctioned by the Commission or otherwise associated with unarmed combat in this State who has, in the judgment of the Commission…Engaged in conduct at any time or place which is deemed by the Commission to reflect discredit to unarmed combat.”

The New York State Athletic Commission regulations note

Any license, temporary work permit or other authorization issued under the provisions of
this article may be revoked or suspended by the commission when the licensee, permittee or
authorized entity has, in the judgment of the commission, violated any provision of this article,
rule or order of the commission, demonstrated conduct detrimental to the interests of
authorized combative sports generally or to the public interest

There are countless examples of Commissions throwing the book at licence holders for seemingly insignificant infractions. The Nick Diaz marijuana ban comes to mind. If commissions really want to exercise their powers for the protection of fighters a story like this should be looked into with their full resources.


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