Shortly after it was announced Authentic Sports Management and First Round Management would formulate one powerhouse MMA agency, the companies abruptly ended things before the celebratory champagne had the opportunity to pop. While partnerships evaporating in the wind is old hat in the business world, it’s not every day two of the UFC’s biggest superstars are centered around the controversy.
The agencies amicably agreed the separation was “in the best interests of the athletes they represent.” “Suga” Rashad Evans stayed sweet on Authentic Sports Management, while Jon Jones went with Malki Kawa’s First Round Management – as if the transaction never even took place.
Regardless, it didn’t take long for keyboard warriors to conclude the severed relationship between the friends-turned-foes was the cause for divorce.
“Everything is related to something. It happens like that,” Evans admitted on MMAWeekly Radio. “I think the problem is, me and Malki had a disagreement and it kinda soured the whole relationship in a lot of ways. Malki was very vocal in saying things such as ‘Jon Jones is gonna destroy me’ and stuff like that, when he’s supposed to be representing me.
“One of my friends pulled me to the side and told me, ‘Listen, you need to address Malki. Malki is your manager and he needs to stop going around saying he’s representing you in one breath, and then in the next breath saying Jon Jones is gonna destroy you.’”
Glenn Robinson quietly goes about his business running Authentic Sports, while Kawa is known for being one of the most boisterous managers in the business. At the end of the day, Evans felt the conflict of interest was far too great and changes needed to be made.
“Whether he believes [Jones is going to beat me] or not, that’s irrelevant.” Evans said in closing. “The simple fact that he’s saying he’s representing [me], and then he’s spitting venom on [my] name, when in reality, on the outside at least make it look like you’re representing both [fighters] to the fullest and not putting one above the other.”