As Stevie Ray was approaching the final bout on his UFC contract last year, he was told that fighting out his deal would allow him to reap the benefits of free agency once he was available to go to the highest bidder.
Even though I had a pretty good record, I feel [free agency] only really works for really big names or really big personalities.
Abdel-Aziz, who manages several high profile fighters in the UFC including Khabib Nurmagomedov, Fabricio Werdum and Cody Garbrandt, offered to help Ray get back in contact with the UFC after more than six months away from the cage.
Perhaps the toughest part about his brief free agency stint was that Ray always wanted to end up back with the UFC and never intended on going to another promotion anyways.
Even at that, the UFC offered me a really good contract before I fought out my deal but my management told me I was worth a lot more and if I beat [Paul] Felder, we could push for it,” Ray explained.