Head of Shark Sports Management, Tim Holman has an extensive knowledge in the business and law aspects of management. Coming from an entertainment management background, he made the transition to MMA where many of his clients were signed to Bellator MMA.
You can contact Holman by going to the Shark Management Facebook page.
Wombat Sports: Can you tell us a little about yourself? How long you have been a manager, background in the business, some of your clients, etc.
Tim Holman: I started Shark Sports Management in July 2010 while I was attending law school in Atlanta, GA. My start into MMA management is quite an interesting story. I had been a personal manager in the music industry from 2005-2008 and ultimately decided to leave the music and entertainment industry in 2008 to focus on getting my law degree and becoming an attorney. A band member of one of my personal management clients had a cousin who was an MMA fighter – he contacted me in early 2010: “Hey, you got my cousin sponsorships and gigs while he was in a band – have you considered doing the same thing in MMA?” and that short phone conversation led to the formation of Shark Sports Management later that year.
Wombat: What, in your opinion, does a manager do?
Holman: I believe that this varies by client. Some clients just strictly want someone who will find them fights and sponsors and that’s the extent of their relationship with their manager. Other clients want a manager involved in other aspects of their professional career and their businesses outside of the cage. Some clients like to have manager input on fight game plans and others don’t care for manager advice in this area. I have clients that fall into both categories or some mixture of these categories and I work with all of them very well. It is up to the client and manager to come up with the duties expected of the manager at the beginning of their relationship and agree to change those duties if other needs arise later in the managerial relationship.
W.S.: What are three qualities you like to see in a potential client?
T.H.: Marketability, a solid and well-rounded combat sports skillset adapted to MMA, and someone who listens and takes direction and constructive criticism well.
W.S.: What are three qualities you feel make a great manager?
T.H.: My extensive knowledge of contract law and contract formation, my 8+ years of negotiating experience regarding performance contracts and sponsorships/endorsements in the top levels of the music and sports industries, and my tenacity and work ethic.
W.S.: Many fighters have stated that they have bad experiences with managers and have simply done a lot of the duties of a manager themselves. Why should they reconsider getting manager?
T.H.: If they are happy with the results they are getting managing their own career, they shouldn’t hire a manager. If they have developed the skillset to do it themselves and don’t mind doing it, then by all means they should continue on that path.
W.S.: Female fighters in general have more demands than males. What specifically qualifies you to manage female fighters?
T.H.: We don’t currently have any active female clients at Shark Sports Management so I don’t have the hands-on experience to speak to female fighters in general having more demands than male fighters. We have male fighters that are way more demanding than any female MMA fighters I have come across over my years in the MMA industry. Our lack of female clientele is not by design, it is simply because very few female MMA fighters have contacted us for representation.
W.S.: What is your ethical responsibilities as a manager? Are you willing to put it in writing?
T.H.: As an attorney, I am under the same ethical responsibilities to all of my clients – whether they are legal clients or Shark Sports Management clients. This essentially means that I am bound to always act in the best interest of the client and keep our communications confidential. We do offer written contracts at Shark Sports Management and the details of all deals (whether sponsorship, promotional, personal, or managerial) remain confidential and will not be discussed with any other clients/media/etc. under any circumstances.
W.S.: What are your expectations in a client?
T.H.: My expectations for clients are pretty standard. I expect my clients to: (1) keep me informed of their progress through training camps; (2) notify me of any injuries as soon as they occur; (3) uphold their sponsorship obligations to their sponsors; (4) forward all fight offers and sponsorship inquiries to Shark Sports Management personnel; (5) consult with me regarding fight selection and fight game plan (if they have requested my input in this area); and (6) ultimately train hard and compete to the best of their abilities come fight night.
W.S.: What is your philosophy when it comes to how many clients you have?
T.H.: I personally don’t like to have more than three clients in a given weight class at the same level of competition. Otherwise, you are looking at conflict of interests that may arise and that is a breeding ground for client dissent and ultimately leads to unhappy clients or clients leaving the company. I am very selective of who joins the Shark Sports Management roster for this very reason.