As the former Vice President of Talent Relations, and new Senior Vice President of Talent Relations for the UFC, Sean Shelby has booked a hell of a lot of amazing fights – from Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi, to Dong Hyun Kim vs. Marco Polo Reyes, to Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha 2.
Of all the fights he’s booked however, Shelby says one stands out as his proudest accomplishment – and his pick may surprise you. In a recent interview with SquareMile.com, The UFC matchmaker explained that his crowning achievement was a December 2013 rematch between then women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey, and the recently retired Miesha Tate.
“Rousey vs Tate, December 2013,” Shelby said when asked which fight he was most proud of. “It wasn’t easy to put together and nobody had any idea of the power Ronda possessed at the time, on the canvas or off. The fight was crazy, and women’s MMA obviously existed before, but it’s really the fight that I believe began to change the total complexion of the sport. It’s where a true icon began to be realized and led to one of the wildest rides ever in the Octagon, with Ronda dominating a sport as she became the face of a movement.”
Shelby then shed a bit of a light on the responsibilities of his job. Apparently, it’s not as cool as it sounds.
“The job title is a bit of a misnomer,” he said. “It sounds cool, but the matching up of two athletes and getting them to commit to a bout is the smallest aspect of the job. It’s managing 500+ contracts. It’s negotiating the contracts, signing and releasing the athletes. It’s scouting the new talent. It’s putting out fires and lots of problem solving. Plan ‘A’ went up in flames. Plan ‘B’ went over a cliff. I’m always on Plan ‘C’. In addition you have to be aware of as many things about the sport as possible. Be as worldly as possible, so to speak.”
What’s your favorite of the many great fights Sean Shelby has booked? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/14/2017.