Ken Pavia (left) has sold MMA Agents. | Photo: Al Quintero
After nearly seven years as owner of MMA Agents, Ken Pavia has sold the fighter representation firm to serve as vice president of business development for budding MMA media company Takedown Entertainment.
Paradigm MMA Management announced Thursday that the Paradigm Sports Management subsidiary has acquired the MMA Agents client roster. The management firm purchased the MMA Agents in collaboration with Mishal Abdul, owner of Titanium World Trading.
Speaking exclusively to Sherdog.com, Pavia detailed the reasons behind the sale while explaining his new responsibilities as a Takedown Entertainment executive.
“I’ve been approached a number of times throughout the years [to sell MMA Agents], but Paradigm offered the most experience and connections, and it seemed like a natural [fit],” Pavia said. “They have a number of NFL clients, and the NFL has a much more time-tested system of sports management and client relations.
“The timing and the opportunity were both right. Takedown represented an opportunity that, in the long run, not only benefits me, but also benefits my clients and the industry,” Pavia said. “The funny thing is that over the last four or five [years], because of my roster and connections, I’ve been offered two or three things a week -- whether it's helping out with a promotion or consulting or advising in some capacity, but it was never the right time or opportunity. With Takedown's business model, it was an offer I couldn't refuse.”
As first reported by Sherdog.com, Takedown Entertainment is a publicly traded MMA media company that seeks to broadcast live MMA events from all over the world, partnering with both domestic and international promotions, including Sportfight, Alaska Fighting Championship and Extreme Fighting Challenge.
“Takedown has been aggressively signing new organizations, and people are now coming to us. Conceptually, whenever I tell the story, people always ask why no one has done this before. It's so simple, and it just makes so much sense,” said Pavia. “As I present it to these promoters, they are all on board. I think we've had a 98 percent closing ratio. And the broadcasters, they're all saying the same thing at this point. They're saying, 'If you can do what you say you can do, we are very interested.'
“In summary, it's like a 'Friday Night Fights' of MMA. It's difficult for these triple-A-type organizations to find major broadcast deals, primarily because of the consistency of programming. You can't put on 40 events yourself every year. But if you put on a solid six, and the top three of them are broadcast by Takedown, then Takedown can [broadcast] a number of organizations for 40 to 45 weekly events,” Pavia continued. “When you have NASCAR-level graphics, and the same announcers every week and a consistent look, that's very attractive to a broadcast partner -- an international distributor or a major domestic cable provider.”
As vice president of business development, Pavia now oversees the relations between Takedown and the contracted domestic and international promoters.
“I'll also be delving a little into the advertising and the distribution of sponsorship for the fights,” said Pavia. “I’ve traveled 40 weeks a year for the last five years, and I don't anticipate that slowing down with this opportunity.”
Though Pavia's clients will now all become Paradigm athletes, they won't have to part ways with Pavia immediately. According to the agent, he will remain a part of the company as an adviser until the transition is complete.
“I'll be consulting for quite some time and helping with the transition to uphold the level of service they've come to expect. I'll be helping [mostly] with the booking. Last year alone, we booked 192 fights through 60 organizations in 16 countries,” Pavia explained. “You can't replicate those connections overnight, so I'll be helping out. It's more for the guys who aren't with the major organizations, like the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator. They will need the help.”
Headed by former UCLA linebacker and safety Audie Attar, Paradigm Sports Management was founded in 2009 and specializes in representing NFL and MLB talent. Attar graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree, and then the Paradigm founder earned his MBA from Pepperdine University.
MMA Agents was founded in 2005 by Pavia. Headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., the company represented multiple UFC, Pride and Bellator talents who are now expected to fall under the Paradigm banner, including Karlos Vemola, Cyrille Diabate, Alexander Shlemenko, Ben Saunders, John Hathaway, Dennis Hallman, Ricco Rodriguez and Rob McCullough.
“[The clients] actually know Audie, so across the board, I think there's a comfort level. I think it's a no-lose situation for these guys. They're still getting the benefit of my advice when they call upon it, and they're getting the benefit of what Paradigm brings to the table,” said Pavia.
As for the remaining employees in the MMA Agents office, they will all stay employed, either in their current capacity with Paradigm or in new roles with Pavia at Takedown.
“Half the office is jumping over [to Paradigm] and half are staying with me,” said Pavia. “But everybody is going to end up with a job in the end.”