During the undercard portion of Saturday's Strikeforce show the Mark Miller v. Deray Davis fight was skipped over from it's scheduled slot to make sure the women's bout would have adequate time to get in before the start of the CBS broadcast. The ladies only took a few minutes to get their fight taken care of and there were thirty minutes left before the show went live. Still, the Miller/Davis fight didn't happen. We were told in the media section that the fight was going to be moved to after the main event. I'm not sure who provided that update but it was passed around from media member to media member.
After the post-Fedor madness cleared from the cage we were told to get upstairs for the press conference and it was clear that the Miller/Davis fight wasn't taking place. I tried to ask the few executives I saw walking around for the story and no one seemed to know.
However I have since found the following from Chicago Now:
Mark Miller vs Deray Davis was canceled by fight organizers due to lack of time. A real un-cool decision. Both fighters prepared for this evening and were told with no advance noticed what-so-ever. At the moment they would be walking out on the floor for their match, Miller and Davis were informed that they were canceled! Fighters stood stand-by in shock trying to understand how this became their evening's destiny.
As impressed as I was overall by how smoothly things seemed to run from the Strikeforce side, how the hell does this happen? Two hometown guys have been put through a training camp, all the mental and physical preparation, the weight cut only to be told seconds before walking out to the cage that the fight is canceled. It's a massive ball drop, especially considering that the Jeff Curran / Dustin Neace and Marloes Coenen / Roxanne Modafferi fights both ended in under three minutes. It isn't as though every fight went to the judges and time just became completely unavailable.
I'm sure Strikeforce paid both guys, but fighters want to fight and it's a real shame that Strikeforce fell down so badly on this contest.
UPDATE by Brent Brookhouse:
As posted in the comments as well as this fanshot by Scott Haber it appears both men were paid their contracted "show" money but no win bonus as well as no opportunity for other bonuses. Also, one of the men reportedly lost all sponsorship money since he was never out in front of the crowd to fulfill his side of the contract.
I have requested a response from Strikeforce. Here is an excerpt from said request:
Does Strikeforce wish to issue a statement to BloodyElbow to the following questions?
- What does Strikeforce feel are it's obligations as a promoter to afford the fighters the opportunity to fight for their contracted win bonus?
- How did the show hit the point where when two undercard bouts ended in under 2 minutes and a third ended in the second round that there was no room for one of the scheduled bouts?
- What responsibility does the promotion take in the damaging hit to the livelihoods of these fighters as well as the professional toll taken on them? These men were put through training camps, gathered sponsorship contracts and then were not given the opportunity to compete.
- Why did the bout not take place when there were 30+ minutes left prior to the start of the CBS broadcast and no other remaining preliminary bouts?
Updates to follow as available. Stay tuned.
Update 2 By Brent Brookhouse:
ULTMMA pointed us back to their site via this fanpost which covers a discussion they had with Mark Miller's management. The highlight:
From a email with Oren Hodak of KO reps
"He (Mark Miller) obviously wanted to fight. I can't charge his sponsor since he didn't actually fight. We will try and transfer most of them to his next fight. One problem is that 2 of the sponsors were Chicago based, hopefully they will still support his next bout.
Strikeforce did pay him his 'show' money, but they still took out the 'corner man fee'."
Strikeforce still has not replied to my request for a statement and I will be following up with a phone call shortly.