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Mike Dolce: Fighters should fire their managers and spend that money on world-class coaches

Because as the nutrition expert put it, fighters like Kelvin Gastelum are paying 20 percent to someone just to answer a phone call from Joe Silva, instead of paying the proper coaching staff which actually helps them prepare to win a fight.


Kelvin Gastelum failed to make weight in his third trip to welterweight this past weekend (Sat., June 28, 2014) prior to his fight against Nicholas Musoke at UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio, Texas.

A blunder that cost The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 17 winner 20 percent of his fight night earnings.

According to Kelvin, the absence of nutrition guru Mike Dolce, whom he had worked with since TUF, was part of the reason for coming in two pounds over. Not that he blamed Dolce for not being there for him, but rather, the expensive rate that comes with his services.

According to Dolce, while finances may be the root of the problem, it has nothing to do with his rates, but rather, the rates that Kelvin's management team charged him for doing nothing but picking up a phone. 20 percent to be exact, which Dolce says is too much for an agent or manager to take from their fighters.

And much like it did Kelvin, it prevents them from affording the proper coaching staff to help them actually win fights.

He vented his frustrations on a recent edition of The MMA Hour:

"I love Kelvin. I think he's a great kid and we've developed a strong bond on The Ultimate Fighter season 17. I helped him prepare for his final fight against Uriah. I helped him drop to welterweight for the first time ever in his career where he looked absolutely amazing. He made weight on the first try; strong and healthy. And he just ripped apart Brain Melancon in his debut. From there, he was poorly, terribly mismanaged. Unfortunately, and this happens to a lot of athletes; a lot of athletes have these managers and agents that just keep putting their hands in their pockets and misguiding them because the managers want the athlete to believe that they are the most important part of their career. When that's not true. When athletes get to the UFC, you get the traditional four-fight deal with a very specific bump and then you get another four-fight deal if you satisfactorily get through those first four fights. These managers are charging these athletes 20 plus percent just to answer a phone call from Joe Silva to get an opponents name. Then they call the athlete and say, 'you're fighting Johny so and so.' The manager then takes 20 percent from that. The athlete then doesn't have enough money to pay for a world-class coaching staff that will properly prepare them to get them through that first four-fight deal to beat those first four individuals to look forward to the next higher pay grade. Dana White had said this a while back, UFC fighters don't need managers, they need lawyers. You can hire a lawyer to do contract review and negotiation for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and then be done and not have to give 20 percent of all your earnings in perpetuity, like these managers and agents do. Now there is very few managers, I don't want to bash them all, there are a few good ones out there. One of which is Dan Lambert. Lambert is with American Top Team and they have more UFC fighters than any management system, and they only charge five percent to their athletes. That's it. That's full training, full management, coaching, cornering, that's it. That's the epitome, that should be the ideal. Every athlete out there that's coughing up 15, 20 percent to these management systems, fire your manager, hire world-class quality coaches. Pay 100 dollars a session to bring in top tier training partners so that you can get the best training there is. Hire a massage therapist, chiropractor, eat healthy organic foods constantly. That's what these athletes need in order to compete at a world class level. Unfortunately, Kelvin was dramatically mismanaged. As you heard, Dana was going to give him a $50,000 bonus for 'Performance of the Night,' but because he missed weight, he was ineligible. As B.J. Penn said the other day, 'Kelvin jumped over a dollar to pick up a dime.' And that's what he did by not bringing me in or somebody like me. It doesn't have to be me, it just has to be a highly-qualified coach to help out."

Dolce revealed that the management in question was Denovo Elite Athlete Management. A team that didn't pay Dolce for six months, which meant he had to pay for his own airfare, hotel room and Kelvin's groceries for one of their first fights together.

And to date, they never reimbursed him for those expenses, which was around $2,000. Furthermore, Dolce revealed that Kelvin was the one who paid him for what was owed to him and said he and Kelvin will sit down and discuss working together for his next fight.

Despite the scale catastrophe, Gastelum went on to defeat Musoke via unanimous decision (video).

For the record, not a single one of Dolce's clients, which includes Ronda Rousey, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Beflort, B.J. Penn, among others, have ever missed weight with him by his side.

Not a bad track record.

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