Ailing professional wrestling icon Ric Flair is still weak and confined to an Atlanta hospital, but that didn’t stop him from firing his long-time manager in the past few days.
News that he had “parted ways” with Melinda Morris Zanoni and Legacy Talent Entertainment came via Twitter on Sept. 7. That tweet was followed the same day with another tweet saying: “I'm looking forward to the new beginning and the great opportunities that await me. WOOOOO!”
The former Charlottean announced a day later that he was being managed by Get Engaged management, based in Flair’s current home of Atlanta. The company’s web site shows it has a history of ad campaigns aimed at the rap and hip hop culture crowd, which has embraced Flair’s flashy chest-thumping wrestling persona. Flair built much of his fame on a reputation for expensive living, including flashy cars and clothes and a complete lack of modesty.
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It was unclear why Flair, 68, changed management so suddenly in the midst of what can only be described as a period of personal turmoil.
He was admitted to an Atlanta hospital the second week of August, and reportedly underwent emergency surgery while in critical condition. Flair’s fiancée, Wendy Barlow, has given updates in private Facebook posts, including one claiming he had multiple organ problems.
A much thinner-looking Flair tweeted out a video message to fans on Sept. 2, thanking them for their support.
“Let it be known worldwide that Nature Boy, woooo!, is back up and running, looking as only I can look,” Flair says in the video, while wearing a T-shirt that says: “I ain’t dead yet, mother (expletive).”
The T-shirt is available at Flair’s online merchandise store, but is currently sold out.
Flair’s former manager Melinda Zanoni declined for weeks to say what put him in the hospital, only saying that he faced tough medical issues.