Authentic Sports Management and First Round Management merged in February 2011, making them a major player in the MMA world, but the short-lived partnership is already over.
In a joint statement, the company announced that manager Malki Kawa
would be leaving Authentic to resume operation of his First Round brand, and taking several of his key clients with him. Among them: the current UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones
Interestingly, Jones had been under the same management umbrella as his onetime friend but current rival, former UFC champ Rashad Evans
. Evans, however, has chosen to stay on with Authentic, which will continue to be led by Glenn Robinson
The company offered no specific reason for the split, only to say that Kawa and Robinson "amicably agree" to the move.
"We agree that this decision allows us to provide more focus, deeper resources and only the absolute best management services for the athletes we represent," Robinson said in the press release. "This agreement is mutual and on good terms with the best intentions for everyone."
"As managers we both agree this is the right move," Kawa said. "We understand and respect each other, and at this point I will go in a different direction."
Among those impacted by the change are a slew of top-level MMA stars. Jones, Carlos Condit, Thiago Alves and Ben Henderson are part of a group of those who are expected to follow Kawa to First Round, while Evans, Kenny Florian, Anthony Johnson and Jorge Santiago are among those who will stay with Robinson at Authentic.
Both companies are relatively new, with First Round opening in 2008 and Authentic founded in 2010.