Manager Alex Davis Talks UFC Cuts, ‘Bigfoot’ Silva’s Success, Edson Barboza’s Future


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Alex Davis is one of the most respected MMA managers in Brazil, with several athletes in the UFC.

Under his aegis are fighters such as Antonio Silva, Edson Barboza, Fabio Maldonado, Adriano Martins, Rousimar Palhares, Milton Vieira, Thiago Tavares and Geronimo dos Santos. In a recent interview with Sherdog.com, Davis spoke of his athletes, and moved between happiness with Silva, who will fight for the UFC heavyweight title in May, and sadness with the recent release of Vieira.

Sherdog.com: What do you think of the recent cuts from the UFC roster? Do you think that many others will come?
Alex Davis: I knew this would happen. I’m a friend of Joe Silva’s, and he doesn't like to cut fighters. He feels bad about it, but the problem is with the math. He has to give each athlete at least three fights per year, and there are too many athletes, so the guys are fighting less. I disagree with some cuts, but they have to be made. Strikeforce fighters came in, the women’s division came in, and Dana [White, UFC president] wants to add lighter divisions still. They already have 12 fights per event, and there’s a limit.

Sherdog.com: You don’t agree with Vieira’s cut?
Davis: He was fired unjustly. It’s the first time they’ve committed this injustice, at least with one of my athletes, but Milton will return. Everyone saw that Milton didn’t lose that fight [against Godofredo Castro].

Sherdog.com: What do you think of Rousimar Palhares’ recent split with Murilo Bustamante and Brazilian Top Team?
Davis: I don’t usually get involved in these problems between fighter and coach. It seems the two quarreled. I don’t know where “Toquinho” will go. He just had knee surgery, so we’ll see. Toquinho is an excellent athlete, but sometimes he’s not well with the place. Let’s settle this later.

Sherdog.com: How is Geronimo “Mondragon” dos Santos? Can he now be considered cured of hepatitis B?
Davis: Mondragon underwent very strong chemotherapy. I’ve done this, too, and it’s very, very bad. He continues training and undergoing chemotherapy. The first test he took showed that he was cleared. If the next three suggest that he is cured, then he can return to fighting. The doctor said that if the first test was clear, the others will be, too. We’re confident.

Sherdog.com: Florida’s American Top Team is a great camp, with Hector Lombard, Katel Kubis, Antonio Silva and now Pedro Rizzo. Have you considered moving John Lineker there, or Mondragon, or other athletes that train in Brazil?
Davis: Look, ATT has always been my home. Whenever I can, I go there. It’s a team unlike any other, such as the Blackzilians, because they have Ricardo Liborio and “Conan” [Marcus Silveira] as coaches, who have shaped athletes for a long time, for 10 years. Athletes get there and stay from start to finish.

Sherdog.com: Edson Barboza was tipped as a future UFC lightweight title challenger before he was upset by Jamie Varner. How is he after the defeat?
Davis: No athlete gets to the top just by winning; they always suffer setbacks. I met with him recently and saw that he has improved a lot. I believe that, in three or four fights, he’ll get a title shot.

Sherdog.com: Are you managing Lombard? How so you view his situation in the UFC
Davis: I’m not his manager, but I know he’s a great athlete who hasn’t found his path yet. What worries me is that his salary is high, but he’s lost two of his three fights. This salary issue is worrisome. But, he deserves another chance in the UFC.

Sherdog.com: Do you agree with testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT?
Davis: If you have a medical reason to do TRT, if you have low testosterone, then I think it’s fair. But if you’re using TRT to greatly increase testosterone during training season, and then drop down to permissible levels, that’s not fair.

Sherdog.com: What do you think of the sudden success of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva with the UFC audience?
Davis: Silva had problems in the past with his suspension in EliteXC, where he was the champion, and then had to have an operation for his acromegaly. We used to joke that “this beach is too far away,” because we never arrived at the “beach.” But, things happen when they have to happen, and success did not come quickly, which is good. It’s coming at the right time, in the right place. Bigfoot knows how to handle success and has suffered a lot, and now it’s time to get to the beach. Those who doubted Bigfoot have learned that they can no longer doubt him.

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