Joe Mullings, a partner at MMA Profit Advisor, spoke with ProMMAnow.com today to discuss the impact of the UFC-WEC merger from an agent’s perspective and also gave an update on his client Edson Mendes Junior’s preparations for a UFC 123 lightweight bout against Darren Elkins. Below is an abbreviated transcript of the discussion.
ProMMAnow.com: As someone who represents fighters, what was your first thought when you heard about the merger?
Joe Mullings: I think it’s great and I think it’s great for the sport. There were a lot of great fighters in the WEC and this will raise the bar.
It’s just the nature of the business. The quality of the shows might’ve suffered over time by trying to carry two brands.
This will also allow guys in the UFC stuck at 155 that can drop lower to move down in weight. The world is going to get a much better look at 35ers and 45ers they haven’t seen before.
ProMMAnow.com: I don’t know if this impacts any of your clients, but is there a concern about the growth in the UFC’s roster meaning more cuts down the road?
Joe Mullings: It’s the old supply and demand scenario. There’s a larger supply of fighters and only so many seats. Some people could start to fight defensively, not to lose; there are champions out there fighting not to lose. But if you come to fight and fight to win and put on a show, the UFC will keep a place for you.
ProMMAnow.com: How about sponsorships? Could some guys lose out, maybe going from a televised WEC fight to a dark, unwatched UFC match, or is it mainly only going to be a net benefit?
Joe Mullings: In general, sponsorships have been down in the last year or 18 months with economy. But I don’t think this will effect it on the negative side at all. There’s definitely a difference between the UFC and the WEC from a branding perspective. If you’re soliciting someone that isn’t as familiar with the sport, you can show how the UFC covers a much larger demographic.
Joe Mullings: The camp went great. There were no injuries, his preparations were very directed and specific. It’s a fight and anything can happen, but we’re looking forward to sharing with the world his skills. But he’s facing a guy who has fought in the UFC twice, and we saw with some of the guys coming over from PRIDE, their first fight in the UFC they didn’t perform as best as they could’ve. We’re making sure he’s prepared to keep that from happening.
If you haven’t checked it out, take a look at ProMMAnow.com’s exclusive profile piece on Junior, which discusses his Muay Thai background, MMA training and reaction to landing a spot in the UFC.