This Saturday, Cruz is set to make the walk to the Octagon for the first time in 2022. He’ll headline his hometown card, UFC San Diego, opposite top-five contender Marlon Vera, with both men looking to push further towards the 135-pound gold with a victory.
Ahead of this weekend’s main event, Cruz has noted that the timing and opponent is exactly what he was searching for, and he secured that perfect fight scenario without the use of a middleman.
While a number of fighters utilize agencies and notable managers to book their fights, a couple of ranked bantamweights have questioned the need to.
First was rising star Sean O’Malley, who explained to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour why he chooses to conduct his own business.
“I am my management,” O’Malley explained. “Solo dolo. No middleman, no one taking a random percentage for being a middleman. I do all my own deals and s*** gets done right… Say UFC gets a sponsorship deal, and whoever handles that at the UFC, they’re like, ‘The UFC wants Sean O’Malley, I’m going to go to his management,’ and then their management takes 20 percent, 15 percent, whatever, just to tell me about the deal.
“Not to do anything, just to say, ‘Hey, the UFC called, you want this deal?’ Sure. It’s the same thing with fight money too. You want 15 percent of my money because you did what? No, that ain’t happening,” O’Malley added. “Oh, you want some of the bonus too? That ain’t happening.” (h/t MMA Fighting)
Now, former two-time UFC bantamweight king Cruz has shared the same sentiment, questioning why he wouldn’t represent himself.
Cruz Shares Same Sentiment As O’Malley
During his own appearance on The MMA Hour this week, “The Dominator” pointed out that he organizes his own fights and has a strong line of communication with matchmaker Sean Shelby.
“I represent myself. I talk to the matchmaker directly. I’m pretty clear,” Cruz said. “I don’t necessarily manage myself, I just represent myself. That’s the best way to put it. I communicate for myself… I’ve had to learn. I’ve been in the game for 16+ years.”
When asked whether he’d advise other Octagon combatants to follow suit with self-representation, Cruz was adamant that with the sponsorship constraints imposed by the UFC, there’s no benefit to having a manager.
“I think in the UFC, we’re signed to a six-fight contract… four-fight contract usually at the lowest. Why would I pay someone for four fights when it’s set after one?” Cruz questioned. “That doesn’t make sense to me. Then on top of that, with a manager, how are they supposed to be bringing me in sponsors if the UFC dictates the sponsors? UFC dictates the sponsors and UFC dictates the contracts, so what does a manager actually do?
“What managers are good at, in my experience, is making it seem like they have all the hookups. In UFC, what hookups can you get when the UFC makes the decisions for you? Now, if you’re in Bellator or if you’re in PFL, any of these other organizations, it makes perfect sense, to me, for a fighter to have a representation because sponsors can get brought,” Cruz added.
Many of the top fighters and champions in the UFC employ the services of a manager, including the likes of Kamaru Usman and Justin Gaethje, who are both aligned with Dominance MMA Management CEO Ali Abdelaziz, and Jorge Masvidal, whose contractual negotiations are handled by Abraham Kawa.
What do you make of Dominick Cruz’s stance on managers?