Francis Ngannou has one of the biggest managers in MMA as he is represented by CAA's Marquel Martin. Martin has the unique perspective of once working for the UFC.
Marquel Martin's job was to help with sponsorships around the UFC octagon and he helped analyze the deal with Reebok from 2015. He is clearly the right person to have to negotiate on your behalf with the UFC.
Fun fact about Marquel Martin, UFC president Dana White bought him his first suit when he appeared on ‘The Bachelorette.' It's safe to say the two have an interesting relationship.
Now Marquel Martin faces Dana White when he negotiates on behalf of his UFC clients like Francis Ngannou, Kevin Lee, and Khalil Rountree. The man he meets during the negotiations is not the same person outside of it.
“I quickly learned that Dana White, if you know him, if you work for him, and you're friends with them, he's one of the best individuals that you'll meet,” Martin said on The Lucas Grandsire Podcast. Super generous, nice, good family, all that good stuff. But on the business side, he's an absolute animal. But you got to look at his track record and what he's done to get UFC to this point, alongside Lorenzo Fertitta, who I also worked with.It's that business side. So we're definitely not friends on that side. I like to think that there's some level of respect there, even if to the social media world doesn't really see it. But I think it's because of the fact that when it comes to a CAA, and how we represent our clients.”
Marquel Martin is a ruthless negotiator when it comes to working with Dana White and the UFC. He knows the business very well and represents very important fighters in the space.
Dana White has famously said some negative things about Martin especially when it came to the interim heavyweight title at UFC 265. The two butt heads often, but it's all for the benefit of his clients.
“My own personal opinions of the fundamentals of business, right? They (UFC) naturally, and I'm sure Dana White likes me as a person. I would guess because I have never given him a reason not to. I don't think he would buy me my first suit way back in the day if he thought I was a piece of shit, right? But because I may challenge or can be difficult because I separate the personal and isolate the business, right? Now it's a conflict if I stand in the way of their business model. So I'm not a fan of like– people have told me it's so funny. Like, I've read comments on my Instagram, they're like, ‘You shouldn't be having a public spat against Dana White, you're harming Francis's business.' I'm like, again, forgive me. I'm sure a lot of MMA fans watch your show and they probably hate me at this point. But like, as a collective MMA audience is so far fucking gone when it comes to understanding business. It's scary.”
Marquel Martin has fought for client Francis Ngannou on many occasions and the Cameroonian is set to return at UFC 270 against Ciryl Gane. The matchup is a very exciting one that has a lot of hype around it.