Agents United: A One Note Symphony?

November 17, 2008

Today was supposed to be the day that Showtime went about the business of auctioning off the contracts of the ProElite fighters, but that was called off just shortly before the weekend. One of the side effects of the Auction was the strange bedfellows that fell in together to oppose the auction. The agents and mangers for many of the fighters affected by the proposed auction banded together to present a united front in opposing the sale. The statement itself alluded to the often adversarial nature of the relationship of the signees.

With the impasse with ProElite, the group seemed to have an appetite for the battle. And it was an honorable battle and one worth fighting. As much as they were girded for battle, though, they have a much larger war that beckons that they may not have the stomach for. The game they play as it is currently constituted is one of divide and conquer, each with their own little fiefdom that is protected. You are left with a fragmented group. The result is that they hold very little collective power in negotiations with the promoters in the industry and in particular the 800 lb gorilla of the industry, the UFC.

With the fighters on the individual level being in a constant state of flux, the true level where there would be any hope of collective bargaining is at the agent/manger level. Heretofore, such a level of cooperation amongst the fighter management level would have been a farcical thought. The uniting against Showtime does, however, give a slight glimmer of hope towards such a coalition being possible, but still the cracks were there.

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