Add to the mix the phenomenon of fighters under the same management team facing off with one another. It’s a somewhat unspoken ideal that most managers will go out of their way to try and avoid one fighter on their roster facing off with another.
While it has happened before, some past situations have even caused fighters to change or leave managers, or vice versa when it comes up.
Monte Cox, who previously managed former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, famously had issues representing him andfellow 170-pound fighter Sean Sherk because the two were both at the top of the division and Cox didn’t want to get caught in the middle when or if they had to square off.
With the announcement of the UFC on Fox 2 co-main event between Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz, management is once again caught in the middle, but things are playing out much more diplomatically this time around.
While Sonnen and Munoz don’t train together, they are both managed under the MMA Incorporated banner by CEO Jeff Meyer and COO Mike Roberts. Meyer and Roberts represent several high profile fighters including UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes, and of course Sonnen and Munoz.
Now that their clients are set to square off in a fight that will determine the next challenger to Anderson Silva’s middleweight title, they are steadfast in supporting both fighters and, as cliché as it sounds, treating this fight as business as usual.
“Today, the UFC announced that two of our represented athletes, Chael Sonnen and Mark Muñoz, will compete against each other at the UFC on FOX show in January. Our agency represents many top contenders in the UFC. The likelihood that two of our athletes’ career paths would collide has always been a possibility and has now become a business reality,” said CEO Jeff Meyer in a release sent to MMAWeekly.com.
“While we personally take no joy in our clients fighting each other, our over-riding obligation is to assist our clients with the advancement of their respective careers. The UFC on FOX show presents an amazing opportunity for both Mark and Chael to compete on the biggest stage in mixed martial arts as well as gain exposure to millions of additional fans.”
Unlike any past situations where fighters have literally had a break-up with a management team over a situation like that, Sonnen and Munoz will be sticking with their team at MMA Inc., and the team at MMA Inc. is sticking by them.
“Mark and Chael are part of the MMA Incorporated family and will remain so long after this bout,” said Meyer. “Throughout their respective camps, and ultimately the fight, we will continue to serve both men with the same dedication and attention to detail that we have provided each of them over the past several years. We wish both Mark and Chael the best of luck in what is sure to be an amazing fight.”
Nothing will change for either fighter in regards to their management team heading into the fight, although asking Meyer or Roberts who they think will win might remain a bit of a sticky subject.
Sonnen and Munoz square off on Jan. 28 at UFC on Fox 2 in Chicago.