When Matt Mitrione publicly fired Kawa, then his agent, after UFC 119 in Indianapolis, Kawa suddenly was the hottest name in the sport. The superagent has parlayed that notoriety into a budding empire of major-name talent under his First Round Management stable.
But as Kawa has found out, with more popularity comes more criticism. Mo' money, mo' problems – even from competing agents.
Kawa recently engaged in a short Twitter spat with fellow MMA agent Ken Pavia. But Kawa told Ariel Helwani on Tuesday on "The MMA Hour" that there is no official fight brewing between the two.
"(There's no beef) whatsoever," Kawa said. "I think Ken is just a little upset that at one point he thought he was the best agent in MMA. He's fallen off completely. He's got problems with the UFC, he's over there at Bellator, the whole nine. And he decided to pick something with me to get attention."
Pavia, who runs MMAagents, became embroiled in a legal action between the UFC and Bellator last summer. Pavia was alleged to have provided Bellator with proprietary documents outlining some of the UFC's best business practices for the purpose of Bellator copying them.
In the Twitter fight, Pavia claimed he was the sport's best agent – as well as its second best agent – and Kawa comes in third. Kawa, naturally, disputed that claim and urged Pavia to not start a fight he couldn't finish.
Kawa said Pavia later tried to play the instance off as clowning around.
"He later sent an e-mail to a mutual friend of ours saying, 'Hey, make sure to tell Malki to keep the beef going on Twitter,'" Kawa told Helwani. "To him it was a joke, to me it wasn't. I was just like, 'Ken Pavia, go eff yourself. I've got nothing to do with you.'"
Kawa, whose clients include UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez, former WEC lightweight champ Ben Henderson and former title challengers Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves, said what Pavia may have thought was a joke was no laughing matter to him. And he might just escalate it.
"I saw him at the fight this past Sunday, and i said, 'Hey, what's up bro?' – and he didn't say a word to me," Kawa said. "So at the end of the day, I can tell that me and him are starting to have some personal problems."
Kawa said his policy is to not get involved with other managers on a personal level, saying he respects a few of his competitors, but that there are a few he could not "care less about."
"I'm a normal guy," Kawa said. "I'm not the type of guy to say, 'Hey, we're gonna beef on Twitter, and then when I see you we're gonna pretend like we're cool.' I don't play those games. I don't know what Ken Pavia's problem is. Whatever they are, he can call me. He knows how to get to me – he already tried it on Twitter. It's not a fight he wants to have, I don't think. Not at this point."