Jorge Masvidal claimed that he had been negotiating his own contracts prior to splitting with his longtime manager


Two-time UFC title challenger Jorge Masvidal said he cut loose his longtime management firm when he decided he didn’t need them to negotiate his deals.

On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Masvidal indicated he wasn’t getting his money’s worth and decided on a “100 percent split” with First Round Management this past December. Masvidal was part of a star roster that once included UFC champs Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson, but he said he is now “basically” self-managed.

“The last three, four years, I’ve been negotiating my contracts,” Masvidal said. Masvidal said, “I have been getting on the airplane and flying over to Vegas, sitting down next to [UFC COO] Hunter [Campbell],, then sitting down next week and talking, then we reach an agreement.

“I told [FRM co-owner] Abe [Kawa] … ‘If I got to get on the plane and put 10. 5 hours on my back and take that off from training to go over there and talk to somebody, why am I giving you the percentage again? You don’t arrange my training. My training is not paid for by you. You don’t step in the cage. You don’t step in the cage. You’re setting up interviews. You’re calling Ariel Helwani to set up interviews. No. No. You got to get in front of Hunter. You gotta talk to these guys.’ I get that. But now do you get me? But why would I pay so many thousands when I can talk to them .”


FRM’s Kawa refused to comment on Masvidal’s interview, when contacted by MMA Fighting. Kawa also declined to confirm any pending lawsuits with the UFC star, which could not immediately be confirmed via online court records. Kawa was the fighter’s manager and launched the bare-knuckle MMA iKON Fighting Championship promotion. FRM football agent Peter Ariz is currently a corporate manger of Cosmic Funds LLC. According to online records, he is also a corporate Manager of iKON.

“I don’t owe them any money,” Masvidal said of his longtime reps. “They don’t owe me any money, but there’s other things that have affected the relationship severely that they could fix, or they could have fixed by now. They haven’t. So I’m waiting for them to resolve these issues. We’ll wait and see. And hopefully they will see the light so that I can make their lives easier. ?”

Masvidal is not the first MMA star to vent about the necessity of management, or even the first to complain about his former management firm. Aljamain Sterling, a former UFC bantamweight competitor said that he quit FRM after failing to find sponsors for his 2014 bout with Renan Barao.

” What they said to me was “Look, the phone isn’t ringing off-the-hook for you,” Sterling explained to MMAjunkie. But if they see it that way, then what are I really paying for them? Just to answer the phone ?”

In response to Sterling’s complaints, FRM CEO Malki Kawa said he had “nothing against” Sterling but severed their business relationship.

“Sometimes personalities clash,” Kawa said. It’s not my first time letting go of a fighter, and probably it won’t the last .”


A 2020 survey of MMA fighters conducted by The Athletic, 44 percent said MMA managers didn’t adequately represent their interests. Dan Lambert, owner of American Top Team that Masvidal has long called home, cited long-term UFC contracts for eroding the manager/fighter relationship.

“You hear a lot of stories of the guys saying, ‘All the manager does is take a phone call and say he’ll take the fight and call me and say the fight’s on this date. And for that, he’s taken 10 percent,'” Lambert said. “I think it goes both ways. These guys had short memories .”

Lambert also said before cooler heads and a working relationship developed, he once threatened to throw Kawa in a “dumpster outside the back wondering what happened during the last 12 hours of his life” for trying to solicit new clients at ATT. Kawa, who was once assaulted by fellow manager Ali Abdelaziz for allegedly spreading false rumors about an alleged sexual assault of a UFC employee, did not comment for The Athletic piece.

Masvidal believed he would stay with FRM throughout his career, before he changed his mind.

“Like if I made $1000 with you, I’m like, ‘Well then, let’s make $2000,'” he said. “And so I kept going and then, you know, s*** got f***** up somewhere along that I’m making all this money and producing all this money, and just s*** wasn’t going right, and I don’t want to really like talk about it right now, because a lot of it is like legal stuff.”

Before the UFC implemented an outfitting policy in 2015, sponsorships were a key revenue driver in the relationship between fighter and manager. Many fighters were paid multiples of their cage pay. Managers became reps in the company for companies wanting to advertise in the Octagon, which increased the incentive to sign up.

Masvidal said he’s now a free agent that can work with whomever he pleases.

” “I work with many managers and a lot companies. There are a lot great managers.” he stated. This is not a secret. I’ll say this…everybody knows FRM doesn’t have the best relations, or any relations, with any of the other managers. … A lot of sponsors, they have their own way of doing stuff and it just doesn’t appeal to a lot of people. Many people were not speaking or I had… with them.

“I’m talking to everybody now I’m having business. Every other f****** week, somebody’s trying to get me to go to lunch to pitch me on some f****** either movie script this, or sponsorship there, and it’s like OK, one door closed, but 2,000 windows opened. So, I manage .”


Before signing on to meet Gilbert Burns at UFC 287, Masvidal said he needed to get his business in order, and that meant going out on his own.

“I’m gonna make sure all my ducks in a row and get back in there,” he said. “Because the last thing I want to think about is, ‘What am I gonna wear when I go dancing on my prom night?’ I just want to show up and dance, I just wanna f****** go.”