We at Wombat Sports were hesitant in doing an article about the current allegations about MMA manger Brett Atchley because we are interested in hearing both sides of the story and gather more information so we can do a balanced piece. Atchley did put out his side of the story on MMAJunkie.com Tuesday, and denies any wrong doing; stating a conspiracy theory against him via several individuals in the business. We heard about a dozen fighters come forward with their stories, several more than MMA Junkie had on record. With that in mind, let’s get to a timeline of events of the current allegations.
In November of last year, InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp released a statement (this was the second time she had put out a statement like this):
“If you want a contract with Invicta FC keep winning, fighting hard and you will get that contract! The Manager works for you! It is your talent and ability alone that will get you a contract with Invicta FC. If you feel that you are being bullied or a Manager is making any of these claims in trying to sign you to their Management Company contracts please notify me personally.”
If this sounds familiar, she released a similar statement for a third time last week. She didn’t name names, but word started to spread.
The first statement from Knapp was most likely caused by an incident that happened in July. Tara LaRosa started to receive text messages from Atchley threatening that she would be “blackballed from InvictaFC” since she was training with her then coach Ivan Salaverry. Atchley is claiming the texts were altered by Salaverry, a long time rival.
This came to a head at InvictaFC 3 this past October when an incident happened between LaRosa and Atchley in an elevator, with Salaverry in toe. According to LaRosa in the MMA Junkie article, Atchley made a comment about how few sponsors were on her outfit and grabbed her wrist and sweatshirt. LaRosa, who was cutting weight at the time, wasn’t prepared to do anything. Salavarry stated that there wasn’t anything illegal that actually happened, but it was unprofessional what he did. Since then, LaRosa has tried to keep her distance. You can read more on the incident and another one that occurred several days later on Promoting Women’s MMA.
Ais “The Bash” Daly mentioned to us that Atchley was trying to hug her at the InvictaFC 3 after party and was being obnoxious and rude towards her.
According to Atchley himself, the reason why these “rumors” are flying around is a conspiracy against him due to a rumor of him being sexually inappropriate towards former client Paige Van Zant, who left his management company earlier this year. Van Zant and her new management didn’t want to comment.
Fast forward to InvictaFC 5 this past April. The first incident to appear was from Bec Hyatt, who stated she had a run in with Atchley and his fighter Fallon Fox. The back stage incident was caught on camera, but it will not be released. What exactly happened there is still a mystery.
Also at the event, Atchley was aggressively hitting on amateur fighter Alyssa Vasquez. These came in forms of text messages and an incident that happened during the event at a bar at the Ameristar Casino. According to Vasquez, who was on the ProWMMA podcast Monday, Atchley was bragging about how “he was blocking Alexis Davis from entering the UFC” after she left his management company. He continued to state his “power” to block people, even from InvictaFC, which of course he could not.
Atchley, who had a fighter fighting at the time of the incident, made an advance at Vasquez, kissing her on the neck. Vasquez left to watch the rest of the card, trying to avoid Atchley for the rest of the night.
Long time client Jessamyn Duke left shortly after InvictaFC 5, because of several disagreements about her career, and an incident in which Atchley pushed her mother (Atchley denies this). Duke claims that Atchley wasn’t going to pursue changing her loss to Miriam Nakamoto at the event to a no-contest, and instructed her not to try out for the Ultimate Fighter. In the latter, he showed her Alexis Davis’s contract with the UFC, which should have been privileged information. Atchley admitted to show Duke the contract, but it was for her own good and that the UFC would stiff her. Duke left the his management shortly after.
Duke also had nothing in writing in terms of sponsorship money, stating Atchley would be getting her a $10,000 deal with a watch maker. Atchley denies this.
Several clients decided not to resign with Atchley after word got out about certain instances.
After Knapp released the third statement last week, people started to come forward with stories about Atchley’s behavior towards them. Sarah Maloy being one of the latest to do so in an interview with Jason Adams. Kim Couture stated on her twitter “This has happened to me and sooo many with this guy! Stand up girls!”
Fighters such as Jess Philippus, and Sarah Goodlaxson expressed they had started to spread the word about Atchely’s actions for the past few months.
On Wednesday, Knapp issued another statement:
“I assure you I won’t take this lying down! We will make the necessary changes internally putting policies/procedures in place to ensure we do our best to eliminate these types of situations/predators in the future and to ensure that ALL athletes know we are here for them.We will NOT tolerate these types of behaviors! I said it a few days ago and will repeat it LOUD and CLEAR… YOU DON’T MESS WITH MY ATHLETES! I will handle this from here!”
“I applaud the athletes that have publicly come forward and I thank them for their bravery. Without their courage these things would have continued to happen and could have possibly resulted in someone really getting hurt.”
It does seems that his in-office business is somewhat up to par, with gaining solid sponsorship for fighters under his company. It is his actions outside the office that are in question. Some of the instances that Atchley was drinking, which seems to be a major cause of his actions. This isn’t an excuse though. It is important for any manager to conduct himself professionally at all times when he is around fighters, his own or otherwise. Especially if those fighters are women.
According to Addison Management and Sports Media website, there are 20 fighters currently signed but it is hard to say who is still with him after the incidents these past few months. Several maybe waiting the end of their contracts to leave. He states that although he lost four clients within the last month, the rest can vouch for his professionalism.
What we can state is that his two youngest clients, Courtney Cordoza and Madison Peavler, have left the Addison Management earlier this month. Michelle Ould, Katalina Malungahu, and Cassie Rodish, although they are listed, also left the company after the incidents came to light this week. Rodish stated that although Atchley was always professional with her, she decided not to resign with him as her contract expired on May 21.
One of the major effects of the current controversy is that VII A.D. Jewelry has decided to not sponsor MMA fighters anymore. The company sponsored many of Addison Management fighters. We are sadden, however, for them to leave the WMMA community all together. We can only hope they can reconsider sponsoring fighters in the future under different circumstances.
An event like this shows a huge problem in the women’s divisions when it comes to communication over managers. The hope is that these allegations will make some appropriate changes in reporting such incidents, and that word gets out about managers being unprofessional around their clients, and other fighters. WMMA matchmaker Sam Wilson and InvictaFC presdient Shannon Knapp are currently taking steps to make sure there is a system in place for the future.
There will be more fallout in the weeks and months to come, but we can only hope we can get past these incidents and get back to some normalcy.
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