OK, so, I am not sure really where to begin. I started a blog a few years ago for a Land Rover site I own that was moderately popular at the time, and I soon realized I was WAY to lazy, my spelling, and sentence structure, just wasn't good enough for me to keep an updated blog.
but here I am again......I have a feeling about 99% of you reading this opening blog statement has no idea who the hell, or what Rav Holly is, and that is ok. Maybe through this blog I can change that. That is my goal anyway.
In a nutshell I am a photographer, and a huge mixed martial arts fan. An industry insider to a very moderate level. I do hang out with people in the know.
I will be honest because me writing a blog is a dangerous thing in itself, because I often just say what's on my mind with out thinking and that can offend a lot of people, or put a lot of people off. So, if I offend anyone it is not my intention. I just write as I think, and I think I can type faster than I can think.
So, the topic of this initial post is regarding the Vblog that UFC President Dana White posted that is all the buzz in the MMA world. I was out at a sports bar last night, and ESPN is on and I notice the bottom ticker says something about UFC President Dana White on Tirade in video blog.
So, when I got home I did some googeling to see what all he fuss was about, and I realized it was in reference to a article I had read a couple days before written by Sherdog Columnist Loretta Hunt. Loretta has gotten a lot of publicity the last couple years, billing herself as the *First women MMA sports writer. Never actually met her, been in the same room with her, but that is about as far as that goes.
If you want to read the article here is a direct link to it on Sherdog. Click Here
I read the entire article a couple days ago, and remember thinking...wow, I wonder what Dana White is going to have to say about this. From watching a lot of Dana's Vblogs, and knowing how outspoken Dana is. I knew he might really have something to say about this. Boy was I right...here is Dana Whites video blog in response to her article.
Dana, take's a lot of flack, and there is a lot of people who disprove, and talk about how unprofessional he carries himself, and his over use of profanity in the public eye. So, what is my take on this whole firestorm? Well, first of all Ken Pavia, who is mentioned in the article is a VERY good friend of mine, and actually my former employer. My Old Boss Man...his company MMAagents.com actually paid to move me from Texas, to California a couple years ago, and offered me a job after we met through a mutual girl---friend, on myspace. In a nutsell, that is how, and why I came to California in the first place from Dallas. I had an almost 20yr marraige ending, and I needed a new start. Ken could see that, and I had some knowledge, and talent he could use to help take his company to the next level. So, I moved out here and went to work for him. I have been to many events, and I know exactly how it all pretty much works. I can tell you this....Ken, always has a few key people, one, or two key employ's he takes to almost every state side event.
I use to be one of those employees, and I know just how expensive it is for an Agent manager to make these events. Lets just take one in Vegas for example. You have the hotel room, you need to book close to the venue. Meals, and other added expenses, than on top of that because Zuffa is so guarded on media creditials you could have to purchase two or three tickets to get yourself in with your support staff.
Ken, took us to the events as a treat for our efforts, and the hard work we put in getting the sponsors for fighters, doing the promoting, and marketing, to get sponsorships for the fighters. Media Packs, Pictures for the sponsors. There is a LOT of coordinating, and getting all your ducks in a row for an event. Like anything else in life things don't always go according to plan. I know one time for a WEC event the screen printer flaked, or didn't meet our deadline, and we were in Vegas with no shorts, and shirt for one of our fighters. The fighters make as much, or more money sometimes off the sponsors listed on their shorts and shirts as they actually make in purse for the fight. Can you imagine if you had to send a fighter into the cage without his key sponsor gear, which is all added money for his pay day. Money for his sacrifice for the two months he literally puts his life on hold and lives in a gym everyday to get in shape for a fight.
Ken, had a friend that was coming to the event, that owned a private plane. Ken, got a hold of this friend and got him to go by the screen printers to pick up the shirt and shorts and bring it with him to Vegas, because it wasn't done when we had left. So, someone would have had to stay behind and get the items and then try to make a public fight and get the items there on time for the event. Ken's friend picked up the items and brought them to Vegas with him. Ken called me and asked me to run over to his buddies hotel and pick up the items once he had arrived. I was goofing around because I thought my work was all done, so I was just waiting around for the event to start. Once Ken called me I went out got in the rental car and headed out for the hotel on the strip to pick up the items. I'm very familiar with the strip but this guy was staying at the Luxor, or the other part of the Luxor, which I wasn't familiar with at all. Long story short, I could not find exactly where I needed to go, or get to. So, I knew when I left the Hard Rock where we were staying I had plenty of time to get the clothing and be back at the HR give them to the fighter, way before his match, since I wasn't having any luck finding were I needed to be going and then once I did find it could not find parking anywhere close. I look at my watch and I have about 30 minutes to be back before the event starts...and I am just gettin out of the car heading up to the room to pick up the stuff.
I am starting to panic, now...so I go from speed walking to a light jog...through the hotel up to the room, get the stuff haul ass back down to the car, and back to the Hardrock...checking the time every couple minutes. I'm so freaked out I pull into the Hardrock parking lot, park illegally just basically leaving the car. Run, into the hotel, then the venue, which was being held at the Joint in the Hardrock, make my way back to the back where the fightes are...and right before I get there. I get stopped by security. I only have a ticket but no media, or any other pass. So, I am trying to explain to the security I have the clothes for one of our fighters.....he didn't care, so now I am on my phone trying to call Razor Rob who is one of the corner guys for our fighter to come out and get the items. Razor is helping the fighter warm up, so he doesn't hear the phone...finally out of luck another fighter corner man see's me as he is walking in and tells the security gaurd I am with him, and I get in and the fighter gets his sponsor shorts and shirt.
I know some would say we should have had the shirts and shorts done way before we left for Vegas, but the truth is you hold off until the last minute trying to get every fighter every sponsor you possibly can, so they make as much money off the fight as they possibly can. Once you lock it down, then you are at the mercy of the screen printers who are printing and putting all the sponsor logos on the shirt and shorts to keep his word on time frame. Sometimes things just go wrong.
So, with what Dana said in the video about having all the work done, and just buying his own ticket and setting in the stands and watching the fight is understandable and probably true, but things are totally different now, then from when he was managing Tito and Chuck.
There is and still can be a lot of work and preparation being done by a fighters management behind the scenes right up until an event, and it can make it really hard for a fighters management to do their job when they don't have the right creditials to move around the venue, and have access to their fighter in the back.
With all that being said I totally understand Dana's side of the coin too. The back of a lot of venues are very limited to space, and it seems you get every Tom, Dick and Harry wanting to have a backstage VIP pass...which is basically what it boils down too. Same as a rock concert...if you have access to the back, then wow, you really think you are somebody. I actually use despise Dana some what because of the whole Tito feud, but I see both perspectives, but I still did not really like Dana White until he started doing his Video Blogs on Youtube. I gained a lot of respect for watching his day to day routine and honesty on his Vblogs.
Word on the street is he will do one more vblog and pull the plug. I hope not, I really enjoyed watching them. I do think he needs to take a chill pill, and calm down when it comes to running the business and probably being the most powerful person in the MMA World today, I think sometimes he lets the power go to his head.
Dana is very into loyalty, and I myself am too, but if someone, fighter, teeshirt company, or anyone crosses him, he gets all up on his blackball horse to burn them down. This is how he conducts business...whether it is a fighter like Tito Ortiz who speaks out against him, a clothing company like Affliction that pisses him off, so he bans their entire brand from every Zuffa LLC event. Are you kidding me?...That would be like the NFL saying...we are now only supporting Nike. Reebok is never allowed back into any of our venue's and none of our players under contract are ever allowed to wear Reebok again while playing at any event in the NFL. I mean really? We all really want to take MMA to the next level, and it is actually really almost getting there, but what head of a major sports organization does that?
Ending this novel I will say this on behalf of my friend Ken Pavia, an Athlete needs his agent/manager...and that agent/manager should have total access at all times to his client, especially at a venue. To not give a manager/agent credititals is shady, wrong and makes me go hmmmm, .
If the speculation is right that Dana White, and Zuffa are out to try to monopolize their promotion, cut out all the middle men....getting the sponsorships for all the fighters themselves and pushing agents/managers out....that is a very scrary thing. Especially for the fighters.
Some fighters have college degrees and great business sense. I would say they are a minority. For most fighters who just want to fight and have an agent deal with the business side of their pay day it is crucial for them to have someone on their behalf looking out for their behalf so they don't get ripped off and taken avantage of. It is worth the percentage they give a agent to make sure they make as much money as they possible can, and they can just concentrate on getting in shape and the fight.