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Name Ali Abdelaziz
Spelling Ali Abdel-Aziz
  Ali Abdel Aziz
Gender Male
Ethni Egyptian
Job UFC Manager
Desc Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager who said ‘Khabib Nurmagomedov is the pound-for-pound greatest fighter we’ve ever seen’

Affiliation

Owner Dominance MMA
Org World Series of Fighting

Relationship

Client Khabib Nurmagomedov
  Frank Edgar
Colleague Ray Sefo
Trainer Greg Jackson

Notes

Twitter @aliwsof
World Series of Fighting It is a Las Vegas based promotion
Dominance MMA Management company known for handling the careers of several members of the Gracie family and UFC featherweight star, Frank Edgar

2013 05 13 Interview

[Putting Dominance MMA Management in Capable Hands] Now that I’m working for World Series of Fighting, I can’t do both. I’ll always be in the guys’ lives and will be able to watch their careers unfold from a close perspective. They’re my friends, so I have that advantage, but that’s about it. I can’t actively manage them any more

My business partners in Dominance will handle fighter management now. They’ve been working with me a long time, and now they oversee the company and represent it well

[World Series of Fighting Origins] NBC Sports has been around for a while now, and they were looking for good content. It’s a great opportunity and a good fit. I had a friend in New York, so we got the meeting with them arranged. The chemistry was great. Our first show was a time buy, but NBC was so blown away, that we very quickly signed a long term deal with them

[Title Fights] Me and Ray Sefo are always communicating about when we’re going to start having our title fights. Our titles will have to mean something. If we just start giving people belts right now, they won’t mean very much to the athletes. A lot of people said, ‘Let Josh Burkman and Jon Fitch fight for the title’, but I don’t think Fitch should walk right into a title shot. I think he should earn it. I think everybody should earn their shot. Maybe by the end of the year or sometime early next year, we’ll put on a title fight, but not now. It’s too soon

[Teamwork] I think we have the best team in the world. We have a seven time world champion in Ray Sefo. He’s such a beloved guy, and so easy to work with. Even myself; I’m an Olympian, I fought in MMA, I trained with Greg Jackson for four years … I understand, and live and breathe this sport every, single day. We did something that had never been done before. We signed a significant TV deal after only airing one event

Me and Keith Evans and Ray Sefo are doing a pretty good job, I think. We run this like a family business. We’re still very professional, but we’re very close, and there’s no big egos in it. We’re not settling for anything. We want to go all the way to the top. We’re just moving forward. I believe we’re Number 2 right now

A rerun of our second show got over 3.5 million viewers. We have found a great partner in NBC Sports. Those guys are so awesome. The presidents come to our events, and have such a great time. They’ve helped us so much. They want us to succeed. I love working with NBC Sports

[Getting Past the UFC ‘Reject’ Stigma] To get people to tune in to us, we have to bring in the names that people recognize. Andrei Arlovsi, Anthony Johnson, JZ Cavalcante are names the fans recognize and they’re great fighters. At the same time, we have guys like Marlon Moraes and a lot of other guys that aren’t too recognizable from other promotions that we’re bringing along ourselves

Somebody from Bellator, I believe, was saying that we use UFC rejects, but Karo Parisyan and Babalu just fought for them. These guys are way past their time, and some of the media was noting that, as well. You just can’t compare guys like Jon Fitch with Karo or Babalu. I get a little emotional sometimes, over things like this, but it’s my baby, you know?

You have a guy like Josh Burkman who fought for the UFC six years ago. He was fresh off The Ultimate Fighter, he was partying, he wasn’t married and he didn’t have a family. Now, he has a wife and child, and he’s matured, so he’s more focused, and you can see what he’s doing to the guys that he fights

Just because a guy has a bad run in the UFC, it doesn’t mean that their career is over. They can go off, regroup, bounce back and become a world champion. It’s all in how they handle themselves

[Possibility for Cross Promotion] If it were a well established organization, a big organization, and we had a champion fight a champion, I have no problem with that. I think it just makes the sport bigger and better. I doubt anybody else is actually willing to do it, but me and my team, we’re definitely willing to do it. Why not?

[Goals] To be honest, we don’t get all caught up in the rankings and tournament champions or anything like that. Our number one goal is to put on great fights that the fans will enjoy. We definitely want to develop world champions, but that comes with time. Think of PRIDE. Everyone remembers those great fights, but the most amazing battles weren’t always championship fights

[Matchmaking] I have fought before and I do actively train, and that makes me a better matchmaker. A lot of people don’t know this, but Joe Silva trains, too. You can’t just come off the street and think you’re going to be a matchmaker. That does not work. Maybe you get lucky here and there, but you’re going to run into problems

I don’t think guys that haven’t trained are qualified to be matchmakers. Sometimes I speak my mind too much, and that gets me in trouble, but that’s how I feel on the subject. Listen, I’m not talking bad about Bellator, but does their guy qualify to be a matchmaker? Probably not. Maybe he trains, but I’ve never heard of it. If he does, that’s great. Do Sean Shelby and Joe Silva qualify? Absolutely, because they train all the time. That’s how it should be

[Key to Success] We have a great platform that we can do nothing but grow from. We have a great team. We have great investors. Finally, we have great talent. We have all the tools for success. I don’t think anybody can do what we did, as quickly as we were able to do it. I’m not saying we haven’t struggled. Of course we have. It’s not easy to put on fight cards and make everything seamless. It’s a hard thing to do, but we have a great team, and a great partner in NBC Sports, and I believe we’ll be around for the long haul

2014 03 25 Interview

[Abdelaziz said the World Series is not treading on Nick Newell’s disability. His performances against Caldwell and Fadal, each of which ended in the first round, earned him the shot] I had no choice but to give this to him, because he earned it

[Abdelaziz said he spoke with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva about Newell’s interest in signing with the promotion. He said he wouldn’t hold Newell back if the UFC came calling, much the same way he didn’t stand in Anthony Johnson’s way when the UFC offered Johnson a contract] He was honest with me from the first time I spoke with him and he said his dream was to fight in the UFC. That’s where he wants to be, and I understand that. I called Joe Silva and talked to him about the kid and told him how badly this kid wants it. Joe said, ‘You’re making me feel like a piece of [expletive], but he needs to fight some tough competition and get some wins’. That’s what we’re giving him

He’s come over here and he’s been excellent. He has fought his way to this [title shot]. And if we can help a guy fulfill a longtime dream, then that’s great. That’s what we want to do

2014 06 18 Interview

[WSOF’s Ali Abdelaziz on Bellator shakeup] If you’re a top promotion out there – I’m not talking about AXS TV promotions. If you’re on network or on cable television, and you want to do a challenge, World Series of Fighting will open the door, pay-per-view, split money, split gates – we all make money. Boxing does it. NFL East, NFL West does it. We can do it. We can have a clean competition

[While the WSOF executive wouldn’t say Rebney’s name in addressing news of his departure, he said the switch was good for the sport] Today is victory for all of MMA – for me, for you, for all the fighters. Today should be [named] MMA Independence Day. Freedom from slavery, freedom from abuse, freedom from shadiness – this guy left. I don’t want to say his name – just MMA fans should be happy, and I’m very sure a lot of people are

[Ali Abdelaziz talks about Bjorn Rebney’s achievement] I want to say something to be a decent human being. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due, and this individual created a promotion. He gave fighters an opportunity to fight. They didn’t get treated well, but you have to give the guy credit for starting a promotion like that and having [121] shows. That’s not easy to do; it’s hard. But it’s even harder the way you do it and the way you treat others, and this is my issue

But I do respect that this guy put on that many shows, and now, a new guy can come on the block. We don’t know if the damage can be fixed, but I like Scott Coker. I think he’s a great guy, and I wish him the best of luck

[Abdelaziz isn’t entirely convinced his idea will be accepted this time around] If I was Bellator, it’s too risky. They’ve been around for 127 shows, [and if] you have a company that’s young and hungry as the WSOF coming on board and beating your guys up, it’s not a smart business decision. But I’m open to it. I love challenges, respectfully. Right now, because my man Scott Coker is on board, I will respectfully do that

2016 11 23 Retrieve

[Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently irate with UFC for only taking care of current Featherweight and Lightweight champion, Conor McGregor] At the end of the day, Conor is going to get what he wants. But, Khabib is not going to go fight any other guy if there is no belt on the line. He’s not fighting nobody

You have to understand, too, Khabib is getting; Khabib is under a UFC contract and I will never break a UFC contract and sign with another promotion. He got offered $5 million from a promotion in Russia to fight. You understand? That’s how much the man can get. We would never do anything like that because we will always honor UFC contract

2017 12 17 Retrieve

[Khabib Nurmagomedov was hospitalized on the day of the weigh-ins with severe abdominal pain, which turned out to be coming from his liver] We were going to wake up the morning of the weigh-in and make 155 pounds. When we went to the room, Khabib Nurmagomedov couldn’t sleep. He was in a lot of pain. It was an ugly, ugly night. I don’t even want to talk about it

2018 11 01 Retrieve

[Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor in the fourth round of their grudge match] Listen, the guy we just fought said he made $50million. I think, as a global superstar, Khabib bypass him

You have a guy meeting with Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdoğan and the other guy selling liquor on the corner store. It’s not even in the fking same planet. Good for him. Whatever. It’s none of our business, he do what he does. We try to go to Africa, we try to do different things. It’s not even close

At the end of the day, maybe a whole bunch of money gets on the table, maybe the rematch. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll give a rematch to the guy we just killed

Whatever’s gonna bring Khabib money. This is now my job. It’s not Khabib’s job. Khabib created legacy, 11 years, 27 fights. Right now, money talks, bulls
t walks. That’s it

2019 06 05 Retrieve

[Ali Abdelaziz said about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s new contract] We’re extremely happy. We’re well taken care of. We can’t ask for any better. We are very grateful. The easiest negotiation I ever did. It was fair, straight to the point. This is one of the biggest deals in UFC history. I don’t care about Conor McGregor, I don’t care this is one of the biggest guaranteed money [contracts] in UFC history. When you do this kind of deal, people normally burn bridges. The bridges only got stronger, that’s all I’m going to say

Khabib Nurmagomedov is the pound-for-pound greatest fighter we’ve ever seen

2019 09 12 Retrieve

[Conor McGregor called for a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov – even suggesting Moscow for the location] Conor is like a sour ex-girlfriend, she can’t get anybody else. This is what Conor is – he’s irrelevant.

You heard what Justin Gaethje said, he’s not a good person. The train has left without him. We don’t wanna talk about Conor, honestly. Khabib Nurmagomedov had such an amazing night on Saturday, he fought a great fighter [Dustin Poirier], he beat a world champion, this is what we should talk about. Conor? Who cares. No, we already beat him, we whooped his ass

He [McGregor] made it this ugly, this is the only thing he can do, promote ugliness. We don’t promote ugliness, we Muslims will promote peace. We fight in a violent sport but you saw what Khabib and Poirer did at the end of the fight, it was nothing but respect. We don’t wanna go through this Conor b*** again. There is a 0.0 per cent chance

2019 11 07 Retrieve

[Over the summer, Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz claimed Mayweather - who is nicknamed ‘Money’ - needed the fight due to being short of cash] Floyd Mayweather to this day keeps begging to fight Khabib, begging! Floyd’s running out of money. I’m telling you, people reaching out to me every week about Floyd to fight Khabib but at the end of the day, we’re not interested, for now