The fighters’ fighter
By Deb Silverthorn
Oren Hodak has brought a one-two punch to the world of mixed martial arts, representing winning fighters as an agent and manager for more than a decade through his company Knock Out Representation.
“I found a niche within the sports industry, and I went all in on my vision,” said Hodak. “Here we are 10-plus years later ,and the career and business that I created for myself continues to grow.”
Hodak has settled in the Far North Dallas neighborhood he grew up in with his college sweetheart and wife Shannon and their children Smith and Noah. The son of Gary and Shelley and brother of Ereet, Hodak grew up attending Congregation Shearith Israel and was also affiliated with Chabad of Dallas. He was a BBYO Lewis chapter member and a multisport athlete at J.J. Pearce High School after years of playing sports at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.
Hodak, 37, attended the University of Indiana on a golf scholarship, taking his game to another level after summer sessions with famed golfer Hank Haney, which resulted in his regularly shooting under par.
“Coach asked me how much time I golfed each day and when I said four hours, he wanted to know what I was doing with the rest of the hours in the day,” said Hodak. “‘You have to put your heart into what you love,’ he said, and I’ve put that advice into play in every way.”
Hodak’s first job was at Sun Sports and Entertainment in Addison, booking athletes, creating marketing campaigns, securing sponsorships and ticket sales for fight league events at the American Airlines Center. Eyeing his success, Mark Cuban sought out and hired Hodak as director of corporate accounts for fighting events broadcast on his HDNet television network.
Contacted by a fighter for representation, Hodak started a side business performing manager and agent responsibilities. First one fighter called, then another, and it evolved into a fulltime career.
Hodak has since represented nearly 30 Ultimate Fighting Championship league fighters, including Johny Hendricks, Joe Lauzon, Julianna Pena, local boxing champion Errol Spence Jr. and Aljamain Sterling. He says he was the first person in combat sports to sign endorsement deals with companies including Bass Pro Shops and Reebok. He handles his clients’ careers from every angle including their social media campaigns.
While no fans and no interviews are currently allowed in the arenas, the pandemic hasn’t kept the UFC out of the cage. Athletes and their teams are tested upon arrival, and then again the day of any fight, with safety protocols in place.
Hodak is working from Dallas and not on the road at this time. “I’ve had at least one athlete in the ring every week for the last two months and it’s incredible.
“It’s amazing that what is probably the most hands-on, sweat-flying, connective sport there is has continued,” Hodak said. “To my knowledge, there was one COVID-19 case reported, but it was caught, and the person was quarantined without it spreading.”
In addition to the mentoring Hodak received from Hank Haney, another adage has sustained him throughout his career: “Momma knows best.” The words of his mother, a former Akiba Academy teacher and now a pre-K teacher in Richardson ISD, still resonate with him. If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work.
A son’s entrepreneurial spirit, a mother’s wisdom — now that’s a winning score!