UFC® 133 Pre-Fight Press Conference at the Independence Visitors Center on August 4, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photos by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) via UFC.com
Yesterday, we reported on the surprising release of Marloes Coenen, Valentijn Overeem, and Jon Olav Einemo. The three Golden Glory fighters were all released from their Strikeforce/UFC contracts just days after high profile Golden Glory fighter Alistair Overeem was let go by Strikeforce. Details are now starting to come forward from all sides, starting with Dana White.
Explaining the decision to cut the Golden Glory fighters, Dana pointed out the unique nature of their contracts. According to White, all Golden Glory fighters insist that the organization pay Golden Glory directly, with Golden Glory then paying the fighters. This is the opposite of what normally happens where the UFC pays the fighter directly, and the fighter pays his gym. White argues that while Strikeforce was willing to work with these contracts at one time, they are no longer interested in doing business this way. Here's his exact quote, courtesy of MMA Fighting:
This is actually a pretty simple explanation. If you look back throughout history, we haven't had any Golden Glory guys fight with us since Semmy Schilt, right? And the reason is we have very different business practices. It's tough to do business with them. The bottom line is the way they do business is, you have to pay them, not the fighters. We don't work that way. It's not the way we do business. It's not how it works in the United States with the athletic commissions. You don't pay the managers and the managers pay the fighters. You pay the fighters and the fighters pay the managers.
As for Jon Olav Einemo, the only Golden Glory fighter under the UFC, not Strikeforce, banner, White said that Golden Glory made a one fight exception and agreed to have Einemo be paid the normal way.
While this makes sense on the surface, it's odd that Dana puts the blame on the shoulders of the athletic commissions, claiming that U.S. commissions force them to handle contracts in the "normal", non-Golden Glory way. But if that is the case, how were Coenen and the Overeem brothers both allowed to fight under U.S. commissions for Strikeforce? Again, Einemo is the exception, as his lone Zuffa fight was in Canada.
UPDATE: Marloes Coenen disagrees with Dana's statement, writing on twitter: "hurts me 2 hear things about my management that are not true." She also posts a photo of a check from Strikeforce made out directly to her, not Golden Glory, which seems to contradict Dana's story. Check image and her tweet here.
More, including comments from Scott Coker and Martijn de Jong, in the full article.
This also contradicts what Scott Coker had to say about the reasons for the cuts, as Coker simply puts the blame on the limited number of TV spots. Here, he explains his story on The Fight Show:
[T]hat whole thing about Alistair (Overeem), I think it's been documented. I think it's been regurgitated over and over so I don't know if we have to get into that. But with Valentijn (Overeem) and Marloes (Coenen), you know, right now, there's only so many TV spots, as you know, until the middle of next year. And, uh, they're, um, you know, in this business, you've gotta keep winning. So, to me, it was a situation where Valentijn had that loss, I believe in June, so that was already in the works anyway. It just seems sudden to everybody because it just all happened this week. But that was already on its way for Valentijn. The slots are going to be for the fighters that are victorious right now. We have a lot of athletes under contract and we have to get everybody fights and there's only so many slots. There's only so many TV dates, we only have two more TV dates on the big show before the end of the year. September is already full, December is getting full and then January is hopefully are finals and that's going to have a full card already. So in fairness to the athletes, why just let them hang around? It's a much fairer situation.
So which is it? Were they cut because of TV spots, or because of contract legalities? And regardless of the reason, why were they all cut now and not after their last fights? As for Einemo, why was he even signed in the first place, especially when he was then given a high profile opponent in Shane Carwin?
Confused yet? If you are, no worries, Golden Glory head coach Martijn de Jong is right there with you. De Jong spoke to MMA Junkie, mentioning nothing about either contracts or TV spots. Here's de Jong on the big question - were these cuts related to the Alistair Overeem troubles?
You tell me. I have no idea, but it doesn't look good. Of course, for us, it's really bad. I'm very disappointed. What can I say?