From Negotiations to Philanthropy: Exploring the Impact of MMA Managers

April 11, 2023
From: Spartacus
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Managers play a crucial role in MMA fighters’ careers by handling various aspects of their professional lives, such as negotiating contracts, securing sponsorships, scheduling fights, and providing guidance and support throughout their careers. Managers help fighters navigate the often complicated and fast-paced world of MMA, allowing them to focus on training and competing at the highest level. A good manager can make a significant difference in a fighter’s career by providing them with opportunities and resources that they may not have been able to access on their own.

The purpose of this article is to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the best MMA managers of all time. By highlighting the contributions and impact of these managers, the article aims to raise awareness of the crucial role that managers play in the success of MMA fighters. 

Ali Abdelaziz


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Ali Abdelaziz is a prominent MMA manager who represents some of the most successful fighters in the sport. He was born in Egypt and grew up in New York City, where he began training in wrestling and boxing. Abdelaziz started his career as a fighter but eventually transitioned into management, where he has made a significant impact.

Abdelaziz manages a roster of top fighters, including Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje, Henry Cejudo, and Frankie Edgar. He has been instrumental in securing high-profile fights for his fighters, including Khabib’s bouts with Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

Abdelaziz’s management style is known for being aggressive and proactive. He is often involved in negotiations with promotions and sponsors to secure the best deals for his fighters. His efforts have resulted in lucrative contracts and endorsement deals for his fighters.

Abdelaziz’s management career highlights include guiding Khabib Nurmagomedov to an undefeated 29-0 record and helping Justin Gaethje become a top-ranked lightweight contender. He has also helped Frankie Edgar become a champion in multiple weight classes and has played a significant role in Henry Cejudo’s rise to the top of the bantamweight and flyweight divisions.

Ali Abdelaziz is highly regarded for his effective, professional, and athlete-centric management style that has led to the success of many fighters. His approach is characterized by prioritizing his fighters’ interests and needs, which include training, nutrition, medical needs, and contract negotiations. Abdelaziz’s close relationship with his fighters has been likened to that of a father figure, and he offers them constant support, advice, and guidance. This relationship creates a sense of trust between them, enabling open and honest communication.

Malki Kawa


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Malki Kawa is a sports agent and the founder and CEO of First Round Management, a prominent talent management agency that represents athletes in various sports, including football and mixed martial arts (MMA). Kawa is one of the most successful and influential agents in MMA, representing some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, and Demetrious Johnson.

In addition to his work as an agent, Kawa is also involved in MMA promotions, serving as a vice president of the Professional Fighters League (PFL). He has played an instrumental role in the development of the PFL, helping to secure major broadcast deals and establish the organization as a major player in the MMA world.

Kawa is highly involved in his clients’ careers, providing guidance and support throughout their journey, and has developed winning strategies for his clients, including selecting the right opponents and making critical decisions that have led to their success. His meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment to his clients’ success have contributed significantly to their achievements in the MMA world.

Moreover, Kawa’s philanthropic efforts have helped to support his fighters’ success outside of the octagon. By using his platform and resources to support charitable causes, Kawa has helped his clients to build positive reputations and to become respected figures both inside and outside of the MMA community.

Ed Soares


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Ed Soares is a Brazilian-American businessman and a prominent figure in the MMA industry. He was born on October 28, 1967, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and later moved to the United States. Soares started his career in the entertainment industry, working as a music video director and producer in Los Angeles.

In 2003, Soares started managing fighters in the MMA industry and quickly became one of the most successful and respected managers in the sport. He founded the management company, Black House MMA, which has managed some of the biggest names in MMA, including Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, and Jose Aldo, among others.

In addition to managing fighters, Soares has also been involved in promoting MMA events, including the RFA and Legacy Fighting Alliance. He has also been a commentator for several MMA events and has provided expert analysis on the sport for various media outlets.

One of Soares’ most significant strengths is his communication skills, which allow him to understand his fighters’ needs and concerns. He works closely with his clients, providing guidance and support every step of the way. His open and honest communication style has helped him establish trust and rapport with his fighters, enabling effective collaboration and problem-solving.

The team mentality that Soares promotes has also played a crucial role in his fighters’ success. He encourages his fighters to work together, supporting and motivating each other. This sense of community and camaraderie has helped his fighters succeed both inside and outside the octagon.

Audie Attar


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Audie Attar is a prominent sports agent and founder of Paradigm Sports Management, a full-service talent management agency. He was born on May 14, 1978, in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Attar earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and then went on to earn his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law.

Attar began his career in sports management in 2009 when he founded Paradigm Sports Management. Initially, the company focused on managing boxers, but Attar quickly expanded its services to include MMA fighters as well. Over the years, he has worked with some of the biggest names in combat sports, including Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping, and Cris Cyborg, among others.

Attar has become known for his unique approach to sports management, which emphasizes building close relationships with his clients and providing them with personalized support and guidance. He is committed to helping his fighters achieve success both inside and outside of the octagon, and he works tirelessly to negotiate the best possible contracts and endorsement deals on their behalf.

Attar’s involvement in his clients’ careers is unmatched, as he provides strategic guidance and support to help them achieve their goals. His ability to develop winning strategies and make critical decisions, including opponent selection, has contributed significantly to his fighters’ success in the octagon. Additionally, Attar’s involvement in philanthropy has helped his clients build positive reputations and become respected figures in the MMA community and beyond.

Abraham Kawa


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Abraham Kawa is a well-known mixed martial arts (MMA) manager and founder of the management company First Round Management. Born on October 4, 1984, in Toronto, Canada, Kawa grew up in Miami, Florida. He has been involved in combat sports since his teenage years, first as a wrestler and then transitioning to MMA.

Kawa started his management career in 2008 when he founded First Round Management along with his brother Malki Kawa. The company quickly gained a reputation for representing some of the top MMA fighters in the world. Kawa’s management style is characterized by his attention to detail, professionalism, and commitment to his fighters’ success.

Some of the notable fighters under Kawa’s management include UFC champions Kamaru Usman, Jorge Masvidal, and Rose Namajunas, as well as rising stars like Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou. Kawa’s ability to negotiate lucrative contracts for his fighters and secure high-profile endorsement deals has contributed significantly to their financial success.

Kawa’s involvement in the MMA industry goes beyond just management. He is also a licensed MMA judge in Florida and has worked on several high-profile MMA events. Additionally, Kawa is a co-host of the popular MMA podcast “The Punchline with Manny & Abraham.”

Abraham Kawa has a strong reputation and is highly respected within the MMA community. His successful management of several top fighters, including Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal, has earned him recognition as one of the best agents in the business. 

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Managers play a crucial role in the world of MMA. They not only help fighters secure the best contracts and sponsorship deals but also provide crucial guidance and support throughout their careers. Without managers like Audie Attar and Abraham Kawa, many fighters may struggle to navigate the complex landscape of the MMA industry and miss out on important opportunities.

As the sport of MMA continues to grow and evolve, new managers may emerge and make their mark on the industry. The legacy of successful managers like Attar and Kawa will undoubtedly inspire and influence future generations of managers, fighters, and fans alike.

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