As you may or may not have heard, in a recent move that has shocked millions of MMA fans from around the world, Black House fighter and top UFC Heavyweight contender, Junior dos Santos, announced via his Facebook and Twitter accounts (how’s that for an official press release?) that he is no longer under the strained and questionable management skills of Ed Soares, Jorge Guimarães, and/or Tough Media Inc.
“I am officially no longer managed by Tough Media Inc. or Ed Soares. For any press requests, sponsorship inquiries, or other matters, please contact Ana Claudia Guedes at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
So I did.
Interestingly enough, it would seem that JDS’ new “representation” is in fact...his lawyer.
So who or what is Tough Media?
Tough Media is a management company directed by Ed Soares and Jorge Guimarães. Both of these men also happen to be the co-owners and operators of Black House MMA.
Black House is a mixed martial arts fighting team and gym (originally based out of Brazil) that currently trains many of the existing and former champions in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Black House is self-described as a “private facility where the Tough Media family can converge and train.”
According to their website (www.blackhousemma.com), the individuals that make up the Tough Media family have their own individual teams, but Black House then provides a place where those teams can meet when they are in Los Angeles.
Who is Jorge Guimarães (aka “Joinha”)?
As per the Black House website, Jorge Guimarães claims to have been “born” into Jiu-Jitsu, even though he didn’t really begin his training with Rolles Gracie until the age of 12.
In 1997, Guimarães eventually launched his own MMA-based television program in Brazil, called “Passing the Guard.” He was the creator, producer and host of the show, and used this program to “further cement his importance in the MMA community.”
Guimarães describes himself as “the Larry Merchant of MMA.”
For those of you who might not already know, Larry Merchant is a long-time commentator for HBO Sports and is considered by many sports enthusiasts as being the “greatest television boxing analyst of all time.”
Guimarães also claims to be one of the “most influential businessmen in all of MMA.”
Again, this is all self-described.
Who (or what) is Ed Soares?
Unlike his counterpart, Ed Soares was not actually born in Brazil. He is an American citizen, currently residing with his family in Southern California.
He is the former owner of the Sinister Clothing brand, which was recently sold to the Authentic Brands Group in 2010. Sinister Clothing is now marketed as the exclusive “high-end” MMA clothing brand in all nationwide Kmart stores.
As a former night club promoter, Soares felt that with his “background in management, it was a natural evolution for him to start representing fighters.”
Personally, I don’t see the connection between promoting night clubs and managing the careers of professional athletes, but that’s just me.
Soares is also a famous on-air Interpreter for many of the Brazilian fighters that Black House represents, which has made him somewhat unpopular with many fans of the sport. In particular, Soares has become extremely well-known in the MMA community for handling all of the interviews for the current UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
“Our company is more like a family than a business. That’s one of the differences with us, I believe—we’re a very tightly knit group. Eventually, the goal is to be a larger agency.”—Ed Soares
Some of you may also remember Tough Media as the management group that was recently made famous for initiating the post-career smear campaign of former WEC fighter, Will Ribeiro, which garnered them International notoriety amongst the MMA community.
“James, just finished your book earlier today, and I must say I am disgusted with Ed Soares and his way of treating someone who literally put his life in his manager’s hands. The language barrier never helped the Ribeiro family of course, but at the end of the day, someone in Ed Soares’ position should be taking care of his fighters and treating them like his family. Instead, he did the opposite when his help was needed the most. Perhaps I am naive and expect too much from people, but it really has shocked me with how many lies they were willing to give you, to make themselves look good, and Will/Wladimir look bad. But hey, after reading your book, my conclusion is that Ed Soares is the new Don King of MMA.”—John Peterson, MMA Fan
Book: Desolate Warrior (Canada Day Sale 25% off, plus FREE ground shipping)
Despite Soares’ ongoing claims that his management team and their fighters are like one big, happy “family,” it would seem obvious to anyone that is at all familiar with the story of Will Ribeiro that those claims are nothing more than a conveniently clever facade, designed to hide the ugly truth that currently exists behind the Black House curtain.
Unfortunately, after speaking directly with dos Santos’ lawyer, the reasons for the split are still very much unknown:
“Hello James, thank you for your message. I researched your subject, Mr. Ribeiro at desolatewarrior.com, and it is a shame he suffered such a terrible motorcycle accident. All my best to him. As to your question of me, I apologize, but it would be grossly unethical for me to divulge details regarding my clients. Best, Ana Claudia Guedes, Esq.”
Oh well, I tried...
In any event, one thing is for certain...the Tough Media family is beginning to show serious signs of dysfunction and that has to be weighing very heavily on the minds of the other fighters that they currently represent.
After all, if you were a professional fighter, would you really want to be represented by a business that places their own personal fame and celebrity above your own?
In the case of Junior dos Santos, it’s safe to assume, NO.
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them...I have others. Check them out at www.mmehfighter.com
Follow JR on Twitter at www.twitter.com/coachjamesryan