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WSOF parts ways with Ali Abdel Aziz following conflict-of-interest concerns

The World Series of Fighting parted ways with longtime executive Ali Abdel Aziz.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

World Series of Fighting has officially parted ways with executive Ali Abdel Aziz following conflict-of-interest reports that stemmed from a series of articles that raised concerns with the Nevada Athletic Commission.

MMA journalist Mike Russell was first to report the news. MMAJunkie.com later confirmed the story.

"We all sat down as a team with (WSOF President Ray Sefo) and Ali, and we made a decision together that it was appropriate to part ways amicably," WSOF CEO Silva told MMAjunkie's Steven Marrocco. "Ali's got a business to run. He's going to go back into that business 100 percent of the time and grow that business. We wish him well."

According to a recent article from Bloody Elbow's Paul Gift, Abdel-Aziz's apparent role as matchmaker was brought up in a lawsuit against WSOF, which was filed by their business partner WSOF Asia. The suit uncovered what appeared to be significant internal struggle for the promotion.

Shortly thereafter, Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett told the commission he had "operational and administrative concerns" about the WSOF during a meeting on Nov. 30.

The lawsuit claimed that Abdel Aziz (referred to as "Mr. Aziz in the complaint) maintains a "relationship to and control of an entity named Dominance, LLC. Dominance, LLC manages mixed martial arts fighters." Abdel Aziz's wife is listed as the managing member of Dominance and his sister is believed to be its Vice President.

Here is a section of the complaint:

Plaintiff is informed and believes Dominance also arranged sponsorships for its fighters. On several occasions the sponsors for fighters managed by Dominance and those of WSOF were in conflict. When such conflicts arose, Mr. Abdeziz [sic] always favored the sponsors of Dominance over WSOF sponsors to the detriment of WSOF.

Moreover, Aziz refused to make fights that were in the best interest of MMAWC and WSOF. Rather than choosing the fights that would generate the most fan interest and thus revenue for WSOF, Aziz set matches that favored his fighters and his pocket. Aziz also often refused to set fights for fighters that were not managed by him. A promising fighter and champion, Jessica Aguliar was under contract with WSOF, and Aziz did not arrange fights for her required under WSOF's contractual obligations. Ms. Aguilar was not one of Mr. Aziz's fighters.

Abdel Aziz was repeatedly identified as the manager of Abdelaziz of WSOF champs Marlon Moraes and David Branch, as well as several UFC fighters, including heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum, Frankie Edgar, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rafael Dos Anjos. The majority of these fighters are listed as clients on Dominance's website.

For more details on Abdel Aziz's conflict of interest, BloodyElbow's John Nash delves into the regulations that WSOF potentially violated over the past few years.