Don Clovis - Director for European Operations

Don Clovis is the former manager of Perry Ubeda, Bas Rutten, Rob Kaman and many other big names! He is the man who gave color to kickboxing. He has dual nationalities. He was born near Paris, France in 1946 but changed his nationality to Dutch like his daughter in 1999.
In the sixties he was a singer in a famous French group called “Les Charlots”. He was just fourteen when he had his first Rock and Roll hit on the famous Sidney Bechet label called “Disques Vogue”. The label had very big names in contract like Johnny Halliday, Petula Clark, Francoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc.

At a later stage he even became manager and producer of some of his idols like Vince Taylor and P.J. Proby. That was in the period between 1974 and 1980 when he worked as a producer in Los Angeles. One day he had to be in Paris for TV recordings with his band and that was were he met the Dutch group called Ekseption.

The drummer of the band invited him over for a short holiday. It was instant love when he came to Amsterdam in March 1969. Not only Amsterdam but also the whole Dutch mentality had a big appeal for him and that has never changed. His daughter was born in Amsterdam and he still lives there.

His nickname “Don” was invented by Paco Rabane, the French couturier. It started as a joke. Together with Rob Kaman they had a dinner to discuss a new line of clothing for Paco Rabanne called K.O. Man. The fourth man at the table was Didier Simonpietri the chief-editor for the big French sports magazine called “Les Gladiateurs”.

Sport was an item at the table and at a certain point they talked about the power of Don King. Paco Rabanne said, laughing, “They have Don King but we in Europe have Don Clovis”. They did not know at the time that Didier would write this down in his well-known magazine and the name followed Clovis everywhere from Japan to America. 

Don Clovis got acquainted with the ringsports through the V.D. Vathorst family about 25 years ago and he was lost forever. They still meet after all these years. After the first steps it went very fast; his first fighter was Ivan Thorne. Don loves the sport and is willing to do anything to promote it… then came Ramon Dekker & Cor Hemmers. In a giant flow he became manager of many famous Dutch fighters like Andre Masseurs, Perry Ubeda, Andre Mannaart, Luc Verhey, Brian Pieters, Rob Kaman, Rayen Simson, Bas Rutten.

He was the one who organized the first big kickboxing fight: Peter Aerts vs. Maurice Smith in Paris. Don Clovis is one of the old soldiers. He was part of the birth of K-1. Mr. Taro, Mr Ishii and Don were sitting in a French restaurant in Osaka to talk about the idea before the name was born.

Don’s trademark is that he always wears a red tie at an event. Besides the fact that he thinks that one should be well dressed as a manager, he prefers a black and red combination of clothing. “A manager is the visiting card of the fighters,” Don says. “The French may be conservative but in like standing, that is the rest of my French nature.”

Don is also in the movie business. He studied at the Film academy in Amsterdam and has a degree as a producer. At this very moment he is trying to promote Bas Rutten, Rob Kaman and Perry Ubeda for some action movies.

Now that many big names are at the end of their career and the old generation is fading away, Don is wondering: “Where is the new generation? I mean guys and girls who are fully committed to the sport instead of these vanity models”. In the early days a fighter was committed to his gym; today many fighters hop from gym to gym and from manager to manager. This has a big influence on their style of fighting, their general capacity and, last but not least, on the rules of decent behavior.

Don prefers the old-fashioned way of discipline because that is the best way of becoming a champion. He bows deeply in admiration for all of the real fighters out there. These fighters keep showing the beautiful dimension of Martial Arts that he loves so much.