by James Ryan
Without a doubt, one of the toughest aspects on the journey to becoming a professional athlete, is in the ability to find quality representation that will aid and assist through whatever means are necessary in order to ensure the long-term success of that athlete.
After all, it’s an investment worth protecting.
Back in September of last year, I had the honour of interviewing a young MMA fighter by the name of Sam “the Rebel” Jones, who aside from being a spectacularly well-rounded athlete, also impressed me with his positive outlook on life and upbeat attitude towards the sport of MMA in general. Ultimately, Sam attributed his overall success to his trainer and manager, Tami Carswell from WFighter.com and Dynamic MMA, Florida.
As the months went on, I coincidentally began a project that focused specifically on the relationships between MMA fighters and their managers, and although Sam and Tami are not exactly considered household names in the fight industry (yet), I felt that it was absolutely crucial for me to share some of the more personal aspects of their business relationship in the hopes of inspiring and educating other would-be athletes when they themselves begin their own search for professional management services. Just because some managers come across as being “friendly” or “famous,” that does not automatically mean that they are reliable or trustworthy.
So what exactly makes a great manager in the sport of mixed martial arts?
For starters, they must absolutely possess a “service first” attitude. In other words, they should always put the needs of the person that they are representing above their own. They do this, not because society is watching, but because it is their internal nature to do so. In other words, they sincerely enjoy helping others to achieve their goals. In an industry filled with corruption, greed and massively inflated egos, it’s really great to see that a sincere level of honour and integrity still exists today.
The following is a section of dialogue that I had transcribed from a video, which was specifically sent to me for the purposes of my new book, Desolate Warrior. The results were just too good not to share.
Tami Carswell, WFighter.com/Manager/Trainer
“Specifically, I would like to talk about the relationship between a manager and a fighter.
“Now, I should probably start off by mentioning that myself and my management, are in this moment in time like a local coffee shop, and I’m nowhere near Starbuck’s, or like M-1 Global, and all those people, but I like it that way because I’m also a trainer, and I have other parts of my life. I want to do some promotions—that’s the way I keep my business.
“Also, what it gives me, and what I think these larger management companies should be doing, is it gives me a deeper connection with my fighters, and I have more time to spend with each of them.
“It’s very important as a manager to look at your fighter and their lifestyle and watch different things about their life. So, I’m not only investing my time in them and taking their money, or investing minimal time in them just to take their money. It’s a relationship that goes both ways.
“I’m going to invest 100 percent in them. I want to know what they’re doing, how they’re training, how they’re living, how they’re breathing, because that all affects how they show up in the cage or in the ring.
“As a manager, I think it’s very important to see other factors of your fighter’s life, and to be able to advise, because for me, I’m taking time and I’m investing in you as a fighter, and the risk is, I mean, nothing could ever happen in terms of your career.
“You know…that’s what most management companies look at. For me, it’s not a risk. For me, it’s—I put my attention on you. I put faith in you as a fighter, and win or lose, that was a good experience for me.
“And we’re only on this planet to relate with other people—not only, but one of the main reasons why we are on this planet together is to relate with each other and enjoy other people.
“Learn what you can learn from other people and what’s going on in their life, so it’s about relationships—100 percent.
“The relationship only works if it’s both ways. If you have a fighter and they are trying to set up their own shows, and they don’t tell you all the aspects of what’s going on in their life, it makes it hard for me, and so if I’m gonna give my investment, and my time, and my energy to you, and you don’t do the same to me, and you don’t give me all the tools so that I can go out and get you what it is that you want—you only give me half of what you want, then it’s something that doesn’t work for me, and I’ve had fighters before that I made sure I ended the management relationship with them, because I can’t help them.
“So basically, the manager/fighter relationship is very important, and the success of the fighter depends on how much the fighter divulges, basically, to the manager. I can only help you as far as you’re gonna let me know what your goals are.
“The goals of the fighter are “A Number 1,” but you need to be intimately knowledgeable about who they are off of the stage as well. That’s your investment, you know? And they’re putting their time and energy into you and an investment of their trust.
“So, what I do is, I go after what they want and I work for them, and I handle things so that they don’t have to think about them, and that brings me great pleasure—that I’m able to be a part of somebody’s goal.
“Specifically, with regards to my relationship with Sam Jones; he’s somebody obviously that I am invested in as a manager, but also as a trainer, and we put our families in together. I think a true fighter/trainer relationship is like that, you know?
“If the trainer doesn’t know everybody in your family, then something’s wrong.
“Because that’s your best friend in the ring, and you can’t see certain things when you’re in there and somebody is throwing punches at your face. The only buddy who can help you outside of that ring is that trainer.
“So, we need to be that tight. We need to be that close. Also, as a manager.
“So, Sam and I threw our lots in together and moved down here to South Florida. One—because I believe in him and I know that this is the best place for him to be, and two—there are other career opportunities for me, but that’s a big part of why we’re moving down here and why we came down here.
“Sam can be closer to his son and go after his goals, and I believe in him and now is his time.
“Thanks a lot, James. And God bless Will Ribeiro.”
Read: Sam Jones Interview: Meet the Prototype for all Future MMA Athletes
* Currently, Sam “the Rebel” Jones is scheduled to fight on Friday June 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for Fight Time 5. According to his manager Tami, five other fighters had previously signed contracts to compete against Sam, but then they all backed out due to Sam’s solid reputation in the fight circuit. The Commissioner has approved Sam (3-0) to fight an opponent with a much greater 10-7 record.
* Tami will be teaching one of the G2 Women’s MMA Summit seminars in Las Vegas, alongside the best of WMMA from July 1-3. She is also running the MMA and Boxing Programs at Dynamic MMA in Davie Florida, where she also trains Sam, as well as at the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida.
“I love what I do!”—Tami C.
All the best of luck to both Sam and Tami, as all of their hard work will undoubtedly pay-off.