When news first broke that UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre had signed with the Hollywood-based Creative Artists Agency’s sports division, it was heralded by many as a breakthrough for the mixed martial arts industry.
By being able to attract such a mainstream agency, it was treated as an indicator of just how the sport has come in a short span of time. For St. Pierre, aligning himself with such a high-profile agency could help garner greater pay from the UFC as well as land mainstream sponsors.
However, despite being welcomed into the MMA industry with open arms by many, there is one man who is less than thrilled with CAA Sports’ arrival. And that man is none other than UFC President Dana White.
“All those Hollywood agents. You know how I feel about that,” White is quoted as telling Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press. “They’re all a bunch of pukes who tell you ‘we can do this, we can do that.’ If they deliver on 20 percent of that they tell you they’re going to do, you know … When you end up signing with this those guys, they end up (screwing) you up some way.”
However, it doesn’t sound as though White is targeting CAA specifically, just mainstream sports agencies in general.
“Randy Couture, when do you think all that s— started?,” White is quoted. “Where do you think it started? It started from the day me and that agent had that talk on the phone. That’s when it started.”
White was referring to Couture being represented by Matt Walker, formerly of The Gersh Agency and now of The Wasserman Media Group. As you might recall, it was while under the representation of Walker and Gersh in which Couture took the UFC to court in a bid to escape his contract. However, both sides reached an out of court settlement in August and Couture is slated to defend his UFC heavyweight title vs. Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 on Nov. 15.
So why does White have such an issue with major agencies? Davidson may have hit the nail on the head by referring to White as “a micro-manager who likes to have his finger in every pie, [who] does not like it when his fighters leave the corporate home in any way.”