WSOF CEO Confirms ‘Amicable Parting of Ways’ with Former Executive VP Ali Abdel-Aziz

By Tristen Critchfield Dec 17, 2015
World Series of Fighting CEO Carlos Silva confirmed to on Thursday that former Executive Vice President Ali Abdel-Aziz is no longer with the promotion.

MMA journalist Mike Russell first brought word of Abdel-Aziz’s departure via Twitter. However, Silva disputed Russell’s assertion that Abdel-Aziz’s contract was terminated by WSOF.

“I’d characterize it as an amicable parting of the ways,” Silva said. “No one gave those words to Mike, and you’re not gonna get that from me.”

Silva said that the two parties elected to part ways primarily because Abdel-Aziz wanted to focus his time and energy on his company, Dominance MMA Management. Abdel-Aziz represents a number of prominent fighters including Frankie Edgar, Fabricio Werdum, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rafael dos Anjos, to name a few.

“We sat down with Ali and he really wanted to go and continue to grow the business he’s got on the outside and his management business. So he’s gonna go and spend 100 percent of his time doing that,” Silva said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a number of fighters in that management group are with us [in WSOF]. We’ll continue working with Ali and his group the same way we work with a bunch of management companies. We really wish him well. He was a part of really growing this thing in version 1.0, and now he’s gonna go and grow a business that he wants to grow and be successful. We hope he’s really successful at it.”

Abel-Aziz’s role with WSOF came under scrutiny during a recent Nevada Athletic Commission hearing when NAC Executive Director Bob Bennett denied the organization’s request to expand this Friday’s WSOF 26 card from 18 to 20 fighters. According to a report from, Bennett told commission members that he had “operational and administrative concerns” about WSOF.

WSOF President Ray Sefo is listed as the promotion’s matchmaker in Nevada, but a lawsuit filed by WSOF Asia alleges that Abdel-Aziz engages in a conflict of interest by serving both as a matchmaker and manager. According to the lawsuit, Abdel-Aziz often set up bouts in WSOF designed to favor fighters under the Dominance MMA Management umbrella.

Silva acknowledged that Abdel-Aziz’s potential conflict of interest could have played a part in him leaving WSOF.

“I think it was part of the mix. I think it was the combination of him wanting to concentrate on it and us wanting to be compliant in everything we do,” Silva said. “So we put all of that together and we sat around a table and made the decision together.”

While Silva did not deny that Abdel-Aziz had a hand in putting together WSOF’s fight cards, he said that Sefo is the promotion’s matchmaker. Silva described the process as a “team effort” headed by Sefo and doesn’t expect that to change with Abdel-Aziz gone. He did not say if there were plans to hire a replacement to fill Abdel-Aziz’s position.

“Ali was out there talking to the press a lot. He did that for WSOF. As I’ve joined, I’m doing more of that. Ray has been our president since the beginning. Ray is the matchmaker,” Silva said. “Ali and Ray and a couple other people were part of that team that put together our fights. When you’re a small promotion, it is a team effort. Ray is going to continue leading that effort along with a couple of us as his teammates to make sure we keep putting on great fights. Ali was part of that team and now he’s gonna be off working with his fighters to build his management company.

“We’ll just keep putting together great fights with Ray as our leader doing it.”

WSOF 26 takes place on Friday at the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and is headlined by a featherweight title bout between Lance Palmer and Marcos Alexandre Campos de Almeida. The main card airs on NBC Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m . PT.


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