Wallid Ismail’s management agency has taken another blow, this time with the departure of UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa.
Ismail, the founder and promoter of Brazil’s Jungle Fight promotion, has long been a prominent figure in the UFC, managing the likes of Costa, UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo, and strawweight Amanda Lemos.
But last month, Ismail lost his titleholder on MMA’s biggest stage, with Figueiredo leaving the former BJJ practitioner for Urijah Faber. During an episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast, “Deus Da Guerra” explained the decision to part ways, admitting that he had some “suspicions” of Ismail.
“I thank him for everything he’s done for me,” Figueiredo said. “I haven’t done anything unfair with him, I’m sure of that, and I hope he never says otherwise, especially because I’ve always fought to give him money. As a company, he worked for me, and I always fought for what he’s got to me, and always paid him. And if I have to pay him something else after this, rest assured I’ll leave this work without owing hm anything.
“And there were some arguments — let me think here so I don’t say any crap, brother,” he added. “We were always arguing. I started to have some suspicions [of him], you know? I have no proof, I won’t even say what, but, I don’t know, he became someone I didn’t trust anymore, and that’s bad. When you don’t trust someone anymore, in order to avoid getting hurt or anything serious happening, we prefer to step aside immediately.”
When it rains it pour, it seems. Ismail has now seen another of his prominent fighters seek alternative management. But while Figueiredo sought the help of former UFC title challenger and top coach Faber, Costa is turning to his girlfriend for representation.
Paulo Costa: “We Have Different Views About My Career”
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Costa revealed the decision to have partner Tamara Alves handle his management duties moving forward. While certainly not as passive-aggressive as the flyweight champ, “Borrachinha” did note that some differences in opinion forced the split with Ismail.
“I have nothing bad to say about Wallid. He is an honest person and very professional, I just have compliments about him,” Costa said. “We just have different views about my career and, because of that, we decided to not work together anymore.” (h/t Sherdog)
The move comes just weeks before Costa is set to return to action. After a messy pre-fight weight debacle, the Brazilian was defeated by Marvin Vettori in his last outing. As well as successful cut to middleweight, the one-time title challenger will be looking to return to winning ways at UFC 278, where he’ll meet former champion Luke Rockhold.
What do you make of Paulo Costa’s decision?