The Manager and coaches of UFC featherweight Max Holloway trickled into the conference room, where walls were covered with screens showing the stats of NBA players. At the front of the room, leading the discussion, was Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster.
Webster brought in the Raptors' department heads in health, nutrition, operations and media to speak and answer questions. Then, Holloway's associates were given a tour of the team's facility. The group was there for about six hours.
"It was a crash course in franchise management," said Holloway's manager, Christopher Daggett, who set up the meeting.
Daggett & Co. took what they learned from the Raptors on that day in January 2019 and brought it back to Holloway in his home state of Hawaii. The plan, they told him, was to reshape nearly every aspect of the inner workings of his career -- to structure the then-featherweight champion as if he were a pro sports franchise.
Holloway's medical and nutrition plans were overhauled. His financial planning was streamlined. A corporation was set up, and Holloway, the fighter, was put on salary to promote savings and investments. The idea was to take the distractions out of Holloway's day-to-day life and have him concentrate solely on training and fighting. Daggett would be the general manager, and Holloway could lean into being the star player.
Holloway's life outside the Octagon is drastically different than it was 18 months ago. Daggett, a behavioral scientist and former innovation fellow who served in the White House under former President Barack Obama, has spearheaded one of the most unique fighter-team infrastructures in all of mixed martial arts.
"Before, I was the CEO, the CFO, the broker," the 28-year-old Holloway said.
"Whatever you want to name it as a role in the franchise, I was it. And the player. Now, I'm just the player. They're not taking anything away from me. They didn't demote me in any way. I just get to focus on fighting now.
"[Daggett is] really running this like a sports franchise. Holloway Inc. is in business, and it's booming right now, even in this pandemic."