Manager Alex Davis on the dangers of ego

by John Morgan | source:

Noted MMA manager Alex Davis is a founding manager of ATT, and a lifelong Judoka. Judo was explicitly designed by founder Jigoro Kano as a vehicle for the development of character. Davis started Judo at the age of 13 under a Japanese sensei, Takashi Yamagushi. As Davis explains "Learning Judo from a Japanese is different than from a westerner, there is so much more to Judo than just competition and throws, and ufortunatly it is lost to most of the world today." In an important piece by MMA Junkie, Davis talks about the danger of ego in MMA.

"Time and time again, I find myself staring ego in the face," Davis recently told "A lot of money has been spent, events have been created, fights have been accepted, enemies have been made and big decisions taken – all based on ego."

"I don't know why ego so permeates MMA. Maybe it's the feeling that we get when we watch a fight that brings it out? We see a great fighter obtain a knockout or a submission, and we watch as he celebrates. At that moment, he is the man – the hero, the winner! We all want to be like him; we want that aura. We want to be looked at in the same way we are looking at him. We want to be near him, to participate in the glory; we want a piece of this. It's intoxicating. It touches us right in our ego, doesn't it?

"But, it's not reality. Whatever motivated this same guy to end up in that ring, a whole lot of hard work also went into it – a lot of sweat and a lot of pain. And here is where ego gets in the way. Your normal person, who for the most part has never really taken any activity as far as where these guys have taken what they do in order to do it, don't get it. They do not understand this reality. All they know, and its unconscious, is that they want a part of that glory. They want to be like that, and a lot of people act on that feeling. They act motivated by ego, and they will try to buy that feeling.

"Ego is a sorry decision-maker. It's a sorry trainer and sparring partner. It's a lousy manager. Ego turns champions into losers. It makes them forget what got them there in the first place. Some guys seem to be inoculated against it. Other guys are completely moved by it, and a whole bunch of other wackos are intoxicated by it."

"Decisions based on ego will always be the wrong ones. It's not a logical factor. It's a feeling, although a real one, and decisions based on it will deviate from the objective, which in our case is to win fights.

"Martial arts teach us humility, teaches us about ourselves. When we step on a mat to compete or into a ring to fight, at that moment we are all by ourselves. No friend or trainer can share that moment. It's us and that other guy giving us that dirty look from the other side as he goes through and deals with the same moment."

"The potential damage ego can cause is something a lot of people getting involved in this sport need to learn.It's pathetic to run into these people that just jumped on the bus but seem to think that they can just come up and buy a window seat in the front. Reality is not like that and careers are being ruined by this attitude. Fighters are being pried away from places like Greg Jackson's or American Top Team and fed an illusion of what some newcomer can do for them – what a Greg, who has spent a lifetime time doing this, supposedly can't. And what is all of this based on? Ego!

"I guess it also has to do with our culture – what we see on TV, how heroes are created and fed to us. I have been many, many times to Japan for fights, and one thing that has always struck me is the completely different way in which the Japanese fans see fights and fighters. In Japan, a loser can be as much a hero as the winner. He is appreciated by how hard and valiantly he fought. He is worshiped for never giving up, even though in the end, he lost.

"There is a deeper meaning to martial arts and MMA. It's what makes this sport noble rather then a bloodsport. Ego has no part of it. Ego is shallow and futile in comparison. The fighter learns that lesson, and that's why for the most part, fighters can be some of the nicest people out there. But in all aspects of MMA, not just fighting, we must learn to separate ourselves from our ego.

"What makes fighters win fights? Hard training with the right people and the right attitudes at the right times. It's determination. It’s the will to overcome, to stick with it, to surpass our own selves, to become better and better. Maybe some people are motivated to do this out of their own ego. I guess what makes each person tick is different. But for sure, the moment ego takes over as the main decision-maker, things will go downhill."

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Recent Comments »

Dr Violence site profile image  

10/24/11 2:31 AM by Dr Violence

I don't really get itHe just rambling on about problems and saying it's all because of ego when it's notThe Japan thing, the whole reason they fight valiantly and never give up is ego isn't it? Ego = heartIt's really about how fragile the ego is and how inflated the ego is... you need to have a solid ego, not too big, about 6 inches by 3/4 inches, weighing no more than a kilo or two, so that you can carry it around easily.

Rafael135 site profile image  

10/24/11 2:19 AM by Rafael135

^ this

Vasechkin site profile image  

10/24/11 1:51 AM by Vasechkin

what is this dude talking about?Give me some specific examples?

Malachy Friedman site profile image  

10/23/11 12:05 AM by Malachy Friedman

good read...oprah has a great segment on this believe it or notalthough ego can propel us to go where we might not have tried and even learn from a humbling

McGruff The Crime Hog site profile image  

10/22/11 10:42 PM by McGruff The Crime Hog

Very well said. We can all learn from this, I hope to surround my kids with influences like him.

DaddyO4 site profile image  

10/22/11 10:21 PM by DaddyO4

Alex Davis and his partner Joe Mullings are as good as it gets in MMA ,or anywhere for that matter.These guys should be the representatives and spokespeople for our sport.They are great businessmen and even better people.So knowledgeable about the sport and so generous in what they have done and are doing for the sport.

JRockwell site profile image  

10/22/11 9:22 PM by JRockwell

Wow, that was great, gonna put some parts of that on my gym wall for sure.

thomase site profile image  

10/22/11 9:14 PM by thomase

That is a really great article!Big 'English' Tom