Ex-Monster photog backs Dominick Cruz’s claims on Hans Molenkamp: ‘I was blackballed’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
MMA Junkie Staff
·5 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Allegations regarding the conduct of Monster Energy combat sports representative Hans Molenkamp continue to surface.

Following Dominick Cruz’s callout of Molenkamp after his UFC 259 victory earlier this month, others have come out to back up Cruz’s claims or share their similar experiences. Fresh off his decision win over Casey Kenney, Cruz challenged Molenkamp to a charity boxing fight in the wake of feeling used by Molenkamp, as he claims to have been forced to promote Molenkamp’s social media profile in order to avoid his Monster sponsorship contract being terminated.

Monster is one of the UFC’s and Bellator’s official sponsors, and the energy drink company sponsors many athletes in MMA.

Since Cruz’s callout, other fighters have opened up about Molenkamp’s alleged malpractice. UFC strawweight Angela Hill opened up about Molenkamp’s tactics used on fighters, as well as former UFC champion Michael Bisping claiming to have been terminated as sponsored athlete for not being Molenkamp’s friend.

Now, a former photographer for Monster, who worked closely with Molenkamp, has opened up about his experience and shared more details on the allegations.

“If you look at his social media, it seems he’s the cool guy, the fun guy,” photographer Courtney Hendo said in a video on his personal YouTube channel. “He’s around all these elite fighters. you know. He’s the cool guy, but behind the scenes, these guys are forced to interact with him. They’re forced to do all the antics, get the Monster can kicked out of their hand, and do all this stupid stuff and these crazy, funny videos. They’re forced to do that.

“If they don’t do that, what happens is that they will lose their contract. They’re pretty much held hostage. And that was the same thing with me.”

Dominick Cruz had plenty to say about Hans Molenkamp after his win at UFC 259. (MMA Junkie)

Hendo began combats sports photography by taking photos at Alliance MMA in San Diego, Cruz’s home gym. Through his work there, that’s how Hendo met Molenkamp and how he eventually was hired by Monster.

Hendo claims the relationship went south when he stopped doing fighter shoots and became more of a personal photographer for Molenkamp’s social media. Hendo also alleged to be mistreated by Molenkamp and even “blackballed” after quitting on him.

“He acts like you’re sh*t, he treats you like you’re nothing,” Hendo said. “So the way he talked to me in public, around fighters, around other people, it was like I was a kid. … I was at my nephew’s football game, and Hans called me that day and said, ‘I need you to come to L.A. today.’ This was on a Saturday. No prior, ‘Hey, man, tomorrow we’re going to L.A.,’ nothing. It was when he calls you have to stop everything you’re doing – even fighters. When he calls, everything you’re doing, I don’t care if you’re at your wedding, you have to stop everything you’re doing, and you have to attend (to) Hans.

“So he called me when I was at my nephew’s game. He told me to come to L.A. because he was going to L.A., and I told him I couldn’t because I was at my nephew’s game. He told me, ‘When I tell you to do something, you do it.’ I’m a 36-year-old man. I’m 36. ‘When I tell you do so something you do it?’ You know what, Hans, you have to find someone else you can talk to like that. That’s it. I had enough, so I quit.”

Related

Dominick Cruz explains callout of Monster Energy executive: 'You can't use me to get clout'

According to Hendo, Hans told UFC fighters and gym owners that if they worked with Hendo they’d lose their sponsorship contract with Monster.

“‘If you do business with Courtney, you lose your contract.’ Hendo said regarding the message Molenkamp sent to his contacts in the MMA industry. “So ultimately, I couldn’t work in MMA, I was blackballed. And since I was blackballed, I damn near went homeless, and that’s the truth. I couldn’t make money in the sport – the field I built my career on. But I was blessed enough to save some money on the side to open up my studio, and it took me two years to get this thing going, and I had to sleep on the floor until I got this thing up.”

Hendo said a Monster sponsorship contract typically pays fighters anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 a month. He said he chose to speak out in hopes to be a voice for those under contract with Monster who are unable to speak on the matter out of fear.

“Hans has these people under control. He has them hostage,” Hendo said. “He’s using them. He’s extracting their clout and hard work and their fame to make his platform and all of his side businesses bigger, but it has nothing to do with Monster. If you don’t believe me, do your own due diligence.”

In a short statement to MMA Fighting last week, Monster Energy said they’re looking into the allegations made by Cruz.