Malki Kawa is trying to change the face of MMA management by eliminating the negative stigmas that have come hand in hand with it since MMA started getting mass exposure. He has some standards of representation that you won’t find in practice with most of the current fighter management teams. For instance, he doesn’t believe in locking down his athletes in long term contracts. He feels that if a fighter is unhappy with their management, they should be able to leave on their own terms, and without having to pay an early termination fee. He goes on to say that all of his fighters are signed to the same deal.
He outlined the details of signing Jon Jones, amidst some controversy that he may have acted unethically, and stolen Jones from another manager, and denied the rumors, stating,
“Jon approached one of my clients, which was Thiago Alves and he asked him who represented him, because he (Jones) wanted the same representation. And that’s how our relationship started. It took a certain amount of money to settle to get out, and I don’t think Jon is ever going to look back again because of the type of work I do for him.”
When addressing management with questionable practices of paying fighters to stay with their respective agencies, he had a message to give:
“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. 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 doesn’t believe in taking a percentage of FOTN, KOTN, or SOTN bonuses, either. He believes that only the athlete is responsible for performance based bonuses, and the management team shouldn’t charge for something they had nothing to do with.
Regarding Ben Henderson, Malki believes that Ben is the number one contender, and due to the timing of other contender fights (Guillard, in particular), Clay Guida will probably be his next opponent. He spoke briefly on Diego Sanchez, and his upcoming fight with Matt Hughes at UFC 135, and feels that Diego has never been better since rejoining Team Jackson, and that he’s “chased away all his demons.”
You can follow Malki Kawa on Twitter
To hear the audio from this interview, please go to TapouT Radio