Friday, April 03, 2009

Some Managers, Agents Lose Backstage Pass

Originally posted on

If Zuffa won’t credential certain individuals backstage as managers, then why not just apply for a second’s license?

Agent Ken Pavia, who has 55 athletes on his roster, said a cornerman is a crucial role that most managers or agents leave up to the pros.

“With the multiplicity of disciplines the fighters must be schooled in, their striking coach, their ground coach are needed in the corner,” said Pavia, who was among those denied. “Their training partner is in the locker room with them, helping them warm up, to break a sweat, to grapple, to pummel, whatever. Often, a full-service fighter will have all three in his corner, which pushes the manager or agent out.”


Almost all the reps that spoke to said they’d be comfortable with three licensed cornermen and one managerial figure allowed backstage, which is the setup the UFC and WEC approved until recently. Pavia suggested that promotions institute criteria to ensure only professionals gain entry and don’t abuse the system.

Many reps fear that if they don’t speak up, other promotions will follow Zuffa’s precedent and that many of the smaller companies don’t have the manpower and organizational skills needed to prevent the added problems that will arise.

“There was an event where backstage was so disorganized that all the fighters, not just mine, were worried if this fight was even going to happen, if they were going to get paid,” Pavia said. “There was nobody backstage. There was no water. There were no inspectors in sight. My fighters wanted me there.”

Kizer and Lembo, whose respective commissions handle the bulk of the big-money boxing events in the U.S., said backstage entourages can get out of hand, but they’ve never heard of a boxing promoter denying a manager or an agent a backstage credential.

“One qualified businessperson, that has a relationship with the fighter, serves the purpose backstage,” said Pavia, who boarded a red-eye Monday night to meet his main event fighter, Martin Kampmann, in Nashville.

In Kampmann's corner, six-time UFC champion and mentor Randy Couture, striking coach Mark Beecher and training partner Jay Hieron will undoubtedly provide the Dane with worthy advice.

Meanwhile, Pavia will support his fighter from the audience, hoping his services are not needed backstage.

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