In the management game in MMA, it’s not all that unusual for a fighter to split with one person and find representation with a different manager.
Business changes, new people enter the industry, and the world keeps turning.
It is unusual however when certain managers lose a client, if only because of their track record of loyalty within their ranks. That’s one reason why when news broke that Junior Dos Santos had parted ways from his managers Ed Soares and Jorge Guimaraes, it was considered a pretty big deal.
Soares and his partner Guimaraes have managed several fighters over the years and continue to work with top talent like Anderson Silva and the Nogueira brothers. Their history shows a fierce loyalty to their fighters and that loyalty is typically reciprocated.
It was a shock to everyone, including Soares, that Dos Santos opted to leave the management team and venture out on his own.
“We’re his managers; we’re not his Dad. I still to this day don’t know really why we’re not working with him anymore. He never really gave us any reasons. Money and fame changes people, and sometimes that happens. He’s got his reasons,” Soares told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I almost think that’s a better question for you sometime to ask him, because I still really don’t know what happened other than we’re not representing him any more.”
Dos Santos entered the UFC in 2008 and has been undefeated ever since. It was Soares and Guimaraes that brokered the deal to get him in the UFC again after he was signed to the promotion a year earlier by a different manager before that deal went south.
“I don’t think we could have done a better job with Junior Dos Santos than what was done. Nobody knew who he was two-and-a-half years ago, we pretty much got him in the UFC. Because at first the UFC didn’t want to sign him because he signed with the UFC through another guy, so he had a deal to fight in the UFC and then he went and fought in Brazil and lost. The UFC was really bummed out and basically said ‘no, we’re not going to sign this guy. He screwed us. He signed with us then went to another event and lost,'” Soares explained.
“So we got him back a win and we convinced them let’s get this kid back in. He made a mistake, he was young, he really didn’t understand the whole deal.”
What resulted was a win over Fabricio Werdum in his debut fight and from that moment on Dos Santos has been on a tear through the UFC heavyweight division. It all culminates in November at UFC 139 when he faces Cain Velasquez with the UFC heavyweight title on the line.
“We put him in a good fight in the beginning, believed he could beat Fabricio Werdum. He went in there and did that and (we) basically guided his career and fast tracked him to where he is today,” said Soares. “Look at where he’s at. He was on The Ultimate Fighter, which gave him a lot of popularity, and it is what it is.”
While there still appears to be some confusion as to why they aren’t working together, Soares holds no ill will toward Dos Santos… he just isn’t sure what happened.