Burgess Meredtth stole Rocky. And the movie doesn't know a manager from a trainer. But the question remains, does a fighter need a manager?
In a guest editorial at MMAJunkie, Aaron Riley, whose career spans nearly the length of the entire sport, details his difficult record with five managers, right up to today, where his latest manager has yet to disburse sponsorship checks from a fight against Tony Ferguson at 2011's UFC 135.
Riley ultimately decides that managers are not necessary. Riley argues that the UFC payscale is inflexibe, that sponsorship is just the icing on the contract cake, and that sponsor money often doesn't show up anyway.
I've felt the sting of mismanagement several times. I've had 44 professional MMA fights over 15 years and have seen managers come and go. I frequently resorted to negotiating fights and sponsors on my own because a manager failed to come through with lavish promises.
made the decision to do business with these guys, so anything that comes out of it is my own fault. This is a short manifesto for young fighters to learn from my mistakes, which hopefully enables them to take charge of their own future before they go through the same painful process that I did.
•First and foremost, read the fine print before committing to a manager.
•Be ready to go to court when things go south.
•Don't let payments drag on forever.
•Hold managers to their promises.
•Go through other fighters to get a sense of how trustworthy a manager is.
•Interview your manager, not the other way around.
•You don't have to have a manger in your zip code, but familiarity is key.
•Most importantly, ask yourself if you really need a manager at all.
•Don't let him take credit for something he didn't do.
•Obviously not every manager lives in the moral gray area. There are plenty of mutually beneficial fighter-manager relationships.
•My final piece of advice is simple: Do it yourself. You don't need a manager. You just need someone you can trust.
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