Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Pav Says... Travel for work sucks

Originally Posted by Ken Pavia [ken-pavia] on MMAjunkie on Apr 21, 2008 at 9:07 am in

- News -

So I have been racking up the frequent flyer miles as I have been on the road for 12 consecutive weekends without a break in sight. I refuse to be outworked.

This month has me back and forth to the East Coast four times -- Ottawa for Hardcore Fighting Championship, Atlantic City for YAMMA, Montreal for UFC 83, and Virginia for the Ultimate Warrior Challenge. There were actually three events in one week, which meant Ottawa, Denver (UFC Fight Night 13), and Fresno (ShoXC) with stops home between each.

What does this all mean? Well you become acquainted with unique facts during layovers and stops. In the spirit of enlightenment, I shall share.

Vitamin Water, which is sold in every airport gift shop, should be called sugar water. It has 13 carbs, but there are 2.5 servings per bottle. Hudson News is filled with rags that tell a story of 416 kids who were taken from a polygamist cult filled with women all wearing the same dress that I can't believe anyone would ever have sex with. Oh, and airport chairs are designed with "uncomfortable" being the controlling concept. Let's see: hard plastic? Check. Short backs that don't support? Check. Molded arms so you can't lie down? Check.

Being on the road, not only do you get to spend extended time with clients and prospective clients, but you also get to meet the people behind the scenes. In the spirit of honoring the non-fighters, I would like to give awards to the people that make the show go on. So without further ado…

The Vampire Award
Tracy Lee from www.Combatbatlifestyle.com does not sleep. Because she attends an event to take pictures every weekend too, we occasionally share a room and help each other out. It is not uncommon for her to go with cameras in tow to eat with one fighter and crew, meet another crew for a party, and see a third for the after-party. She returns to download pictures to websites and rushes out to breakfast. A couple of times she has dozed with her laptop on her lap for 15 minutes, but she never sleeps.

Honorable mention goes to Scott Coker, promoter for Strikeforce, who I can expect a call from between 12 and 3 A.M. five days a week, Josh Gross from Sherdog.com, who answers up to about 2 a.m, and MMA Junkie and Performify, who are also seemingly always at work.

Most Likely to Whack Your Hamstring Award
Dude is like 10-foot something, but Mask from TapOut is coming down low. It is his term of endearment and trademark greeting. If you don't get it on the hammy, he either doesn't know you well or doesn't like you.

Best Dressed Award
Bruce Buffer is just put together well. His nails are always done, hair is never out of place, and in his most casual moments, he is still polished, even at breakfast. On a side note, if you have heard stories about him helping fighters out of difficult situations, they are true. Good guy.

The honorable mention here breaks the rules and goes to fighters. It a world filled with Affliction, TapOut, One More Round, etc., it is rare to see someone suit up at the events. I think it is a cultural thing where in Canada growing up, you had to dress up going to your hockey games, but many of the Canadian fighters have carried the tradition over. Dave Loiseau, Mark Hominick, Sam Stout and Chris Hordecki immediately come to mind. You have to give it up for Tito Ortiz, too, who has shed his Punishment ringside attire and has got Jenna-ed and now dons custom suits.

Pimp Award
This one is delicate because you can never be sure who has a wife back home, and you don't like to out anyone, but the obvious choice is Eddie Bravo. For all his metroness, The Twister pulls tail. He seems to have one in every port. There will be no honorable mention here, but if you see me at an after party, ask. The stories are aplenty.

Biggest Balls Award
This one goes to Keith Crawford of Hardcore Championship Fighting. After a recent event, an undefeated heavyweight prospect tasted a loss for the first time. He asked matchmaker Crawford what he thought of his performance and got a brutally honest answer. Offended by the answer, the fighter had his manager call Crawford and challenge him to a fight. Without blinking, Crawford, who while in seemingly good shape (but just south of 50 years old), accepted. Stay tuned for the results of this story.

Honorable mention goes to Dana White for being Dana White, and Bas Rutten walking the walk and having a presence in the lobbies.

Bling Award
This award goes to Jarred "Skala" Shaw. Dude is always wearing bling, whether it's earrings, watches or necklaces. Many promoters use angles. Don King had the hair, and Skala has the bling. Don't let the demeanor fool you, though; the kid does his homework and knows fighters.

Most Friends Award
Every organization should have a Bert Watson like the UFC has. Bert is like the stage manager for ever aspect of the event. If you need a room, a ride, or directions to anything, Bert is your guy. At show time he is the one who tells you where you are supposed to be when. Because he is seemingly doing everyone favors all the time, everyone (me included) feels indebt to him. He does his job with a big smile and always has a warm greeting. He is one of the reasons everything runs so smoothly. He is also great for an old-school story at the hotel bar. He worked with Smokin' Joe Fraser back in the day and is filled with tales.

Honorable mention goes to Bert's right hand man Lester, Greg Jackson who everyone likes, and the TapOut crew.

Most Likely to Be Working a Lobby Award
OK, I am not eligible. I live in lobbies in part because I like to make myself accessible but also because I enjoy the interaction and staying as topical as possible. The person I see the most is a competitor, Matt Stansell of North County Fight Club. Make no mistake www.MMAagents.com is the best option and the second-best option for management, but NCFC does a good job for its clients, and all those guys work hard.

Honorable mention goes to all the staff at ProElite Inc., notably JD Penn, JT Steele, Rich Chou, Skala, Jeremy Lappen and Gary Shaw. They are always holding court in the lobbies and are accessible.

Closer Award
Let's divide this up into hard close and soft close. If Dave Houshair from HCF fighting wants a fighter, he gets him. He is blunt, to the point, relentless and is not afraid to step up. The flip side is that you need to be careful when negotiating with Rich Chou of ProElite. He "bros out," and before you know it, a deal is done.


Wow what an event. More than 20,000 people showed up, and they broke the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadians, record for beer sales in a night. They were lined up for blocks for hours to get into the arena. The first event in Ohio was pretty amazing as was the electricity in the arena for Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell II, Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia, and Phil Baroni vs. Frank Shamrock. This event ranked right up there, especially when Georges St. Pierre walked out. Personally there was an even bigger moment for me that was overshadowed.

Jonathan Goulet is French Canadian from the Montreal area and had fought 21 of his 30 fights in Canada. He grew up in the shadows of the Bell Centere. When I signed Goulet, his dream was to get back to the UFC. He then dreamed to fight in his hometown on the biggest stage Canada had ever seen. Some might say it is home field advantage; I call it enormous pressure. Just to add to the pressure, he was chosen to start the event as the first fight of the night. The kid was so cool it was like he had ice in his veins. Even when he got clipped on the button with a left hook and dropped with a minute to go in the first round, he never panicked. There was no way he was able to hear us in the corner with the crowd noise, so we will chalk up his hip movement, scrambling, and intelligent defense to instinct. The referee was close to stopping the fight, but The Road Warrior survived.

In the second round Jonathan found his range and caught Kuniyoshi Hironaka. Mind you his opponent owns victories over IFL belt-holder Ryan Shultz, Churuto, Nick Diaz and Forrest Petz. Goulet calmly pursued and was able to do what Jon Fitch was unable to do: finish Hironaka. Goulet will remember April 19, 2008, for the rest of his life. His grandkids will tell the story to their friends at school. Of course the $75,000 bonus for Fight of the Night will make it that much more memorable.


There is a new game in town, and its name is the Ultimate Warrior Challenge. Marcello Foran and John Lewis have put a very formidable card together, which includes MMAagents.com clients Aaron Riley, Carlo Prater and Zack Light. The event is at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., this Saturday. If you are in the area, come to the event, introduce yourself and I will give you a code for a 20 percent discount for www.MMA-locker.com.

Ken Pavia runs MMAAgents.com, one of MMA's biggest sports agencies and one that represents approximately 50 MMA fighters. "The Pav" is an MMAjunkie.com contributor who gives a behind-the-scenes look at an MMA agent's career representing some of the sport's biggest stars. He can be found on MySpace at www.myspace.com/kenpavia. His views do not necessarily reflect those of MMAjunkie.com and its staff.

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