It was an unusual sight at UFC Fight Night 57 when Matt Wiman stepped into the cage for the first time in over two years without a single sponsor on his fight trunks. Though he is coming off of a long layoff and isn’t exactly a household name, he is more than capable of obtaining sponsorship if he wanted it. Wiman has been fighting for the UFC since 2006 and was also a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter. So why then was he donning UFC Shorts without a single sponsor? In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Wiman shed some light on the why behind all of this.

There are many things that fighters have to deal with outside of the cage that are sometimes more challenging to navigate than their actual occupation of fighting. One of which is obtaining and dealing with the proper management. By and large, in order to obtain sponsorship this is the path that fighters have to go through. Regarding sponsorship acquisition and management, Wiman said, ” …I think that the worst part about sponsors is the people around them; sleazy wannabe managers.”

Managers and agents don’t have the best reputation as a whole, but they are certainly necessary when it comes to navigating the business world of fighting. The problem seems to be, as he said, “wannabe managers.” The average cost of a manager is 15-20% of a fighter’s income. This is a substantial percentage, but not unlike other sports or even show business.  The sport is young, though, and many people are trying to capitalize and get into the business while they still can with ease. This has created a landscape for the aforementioned wannabe managers to find a home in MMA.

The big question is, if he got burned by someone why hasn’t he obtained proper management? He has been around the sport long enough to know the who’s who and the reputation of certain managers. His recent remarks and his actions seem to indicate that the brush stroke may be broader than one relationship gone awry. No doubt, the business world of combat sports is littered with troubling circumstances and sometimes shady characters and Wiman is putting a spotlight on it by passing up thousands of dollars in potential income.

About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.