MONTREAL- MAY 8: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua receives the light heavyweight belt after defeating Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 at Bell Centre on May 8, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
With high-profile Brazilian mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters -- Jose Aldo, Junior dos Santos and Mauricio Rua -- releasing their managers such as Ed Soares and Eduardo Alonso, respectively, it is unsurprising that certain questions are beginning to surface.
What's the deal?
Though details are few and far between, one cannot fully understand what goes on between a manager and his client. Things such as negotiations, percentages owed for services and conflicts that may arise between the two --unless you are right smack in the middle of the action -- is often times unknown.
The reasons behind departures could be endless, yet explanations will probably be few. Just ask Soares, he simply received an email for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion's trainer that his services were no longer needed.
Often times, trainers do their best Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys owner, president and general manager) impersonation by trying to wear as many hats as they can by serving as not only trainers, but managers, too.
Cesar Gracie for example, he serves as manager and head trainer for Nick Diaz . Furthermore, Jose Aldo's trainer, Andre Pederneiras, who used to manage Aldo as well as train him, could now be possibly reassigning himself that role yet again.
In an interview with Sherdog.com, Mauricio Rua, who recently parted ways with long time manager Eduardo Alonso, says that the UFC has made very clear that the fighters do not need managers, as well as goes into more detail as to what lead to the split with Alonso.
Check it out:
"Actually, it wasn't for that reason. Since Chute Boxe, I've always worked with three people or companies: my manager, my coach and a media team that takes care of my image. Unfortunately, I hadn't found a team that inspired my trust, and now I found a good team. Eduardo is a very competent guy, but he doesn't like this way of operating; he prefers one person taking care of everything. Not commanding everything, but overseeing everything. I don't agree, [I prefer] each guy in his area. I like him, I know he likes me, but there was some conflict of ideas. There are some different people helping me with this part right now; I'm still thinking. The UFC has made it clear that we don't need a manager; all negotiations are conducted by the athletes themselves. A manager today is not like in the Pride days. At that time, they had much more weight. I am in favor of a manager, that's not the reason that I separated from Eduardo. I want to work with people nearby: Eduardo works in Sao Paulo and I'm in Curitiba. But, this is not the only reason. There are others, like I said."
In case you have been sleeping under a rock, there was also a well publicized rift between Alistair Overeem and former camp Golden Glory, which also served as his negotiators for upcoming matches. The rift came months after Zuffa released several fighters from their Strikeforce and UFC rosters who were managed by Golden Glory.
Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and Zuffa and Golden Glory came to terms on payment options to their fighters.
Perhaps the absence of a manager could mean more coin in the fighter's pocket, seeing that they now won't have to worry about paying a percentage for management services. That, in and of itself, can be a huge factor for not feeling the need to have a manager, and as "Shogun" stated, the UFC is more than willing to negotiate with the fighter directly.
Though Rua says he prefers a manager, Alonso has not been officially replaced.
With all the recent moves, are more MMA stars going to follow suit and do their own negotiating or have their head trainers do that as well without the need of a manager? Or are these just a few isolated instances that have no bearing in the MMA grand scheme of things? Then again, who will fight for those big time endorsement deals?
Perhaps some head trainers wear that hat, too.