By CagePotato Guest Contributor Ben Fowlkes
Ed Soares never stops. For the MMA manager and owner of Sinister Brand clothing, there’s really no such thing as spare time.
It’s the day before Easter when we finally catch up with him. He’s driving down to San Diego to sign an endorsement deal with Bad Boy clothing for Lyoto Machida, one of many in his stable of high-profile Brazilian fighters. With a client list that includes Anderson Silva, both Nogueira brothers, and WEC champ Paulo Filho, it’s easy to see why Soares might not be getting much rest these days.
In this exclusive interview, Soares talks to us about riding the highs and lows along with his fighters, the many jobs a manager does, and what it means to be the go-to guy for Brazilian mixed martial artists in the U.S. and abroad.
CagePotato: Ed, tell us a little about all the different things you do. How are you spending your time these days?
Ed Soares: The responsibility that consumes ninety percent of my time is my fighter management business. We manage some of the best athletes in the world — Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo (and) Rogerio Nogueira, Rafael Feijao, Lyoto Machida, Paulo Filho. We’ve got a lot of up-and-coming talents, too. Most of my time is spent handling their business, from endorsement deals to scheduling media events. I’ve had to hire an assistant to help me, and it still takes up most of my time. I also own Sinister Brand Clothing, but about eight months ago I hired a president to run my company, so I don’t handle too much of the day-to-day stuff. My two partners take care of that. And I have a partner in my management company who lives in Brazil. He takes care of everything in Brazil and I take care of everything up here in Los Angeles.
It seems like you’ve created a niche for yourself, managing so many of the top Brazilian fighters. How did you get started doing this?
Well, I’m Brazilian. Both my mom and my dad are Brazilian, and I’m actually the only one in my family who was born here in California. Before I started managing MMA fighters I started out as a nightclub promoter, and I also worked with and managed hip-hop groups. There’s actually a lot of similarities between managing a music group and a fighter, because at the end of the day they’re both entertainment. You want to create a following for your band or your fighter and you have to fill seats and sell pay-per-views.
I’ve always been interested in pro fighting and MMA, but the way I actually got into it was by producing a TV show called Passing The Guard with Jorge Guinarias, who’s a TV celebrity in Brazil — kind of like what Larry Merchant is to boxing here, he is to MMA in Brazil. When we started that in April 2004 it was basically the only MMA-related show on free television, even before The Ultimate Fighter. We did the show through December 31st of ’06, and through that we started building a good rapport with the fight organizations, simply because we were giving them exposure for free. And of course, we’ve always had a good relationship with the fighters, because that’s who we were interviewing. With my background in management, it was just a natural evolution for us to start representing fighters.