In his weekly chat, Jordan Breen made a few comments about the Zuffa-Golden Glory situation containing information that I've not seen reported and figured you guys would be interested. As usual, the truth of the matter seems to be in between the proclamations of the "Zuffa! Monopoly! Outrage!" crowd and the "Dana, I want to be in your mix!" group.
This ball is in Golden Glory's court. Firstly, let me say that I think the entire Zuffa handling of this fiasco was absolutely terrible. Concealing the story for as long as they could, then not being forthcoming with information, and then having Dana White make vague comments is pretty brutal. I think, if we have seen anything in the last 12-18 months, it's that MMA's status as a popular sport has rocketed past its own ability to effectively govern its PR matters.
Look at Jon Jones' thumb situation, and how badly his manager Malki Kawa botched it. Now, look at how bad the UFC comes out looking in this Golden Glory matter. The company looks petty, vindictive and secretive, like it has some kind of axe to grind with Golden Glory. In reality, Golden Glory tried to renege on Overeem's contract and demand more money, which is unprofessional in the greatest way. And yet the UFC ends up looking like the bad guy because they so brutally misunderstand PR in that way.
I think damage control-type PR is still the area where the UFC is the weakest. It seems like Dana White and Co. think MMA fans are blathering idiots, and they can sweep any happening under the rug with some vague words, and have people accept it. MMA fans might be irrational and emotional, but they're not idiots.
People have no real understanding of the facts because of how poorly they were presented. Let's go over some basics here.
1) Strikeforce were the stepdad, willing to let the kids run the house. It was routine that fighters would hold out and grandstand for money mid-contract. It was the first thing that Zuffa needed to fix when they assumed control. It actually reared its head immediately, as Paul Daley's team tried something similar before the Nick Diaz bout. The bout was nearly called off before cooler heads prevailed.
2) Taxes kill a lot of foreign fighters. So, when you see that Gegard Mousasi made $2000 to fight Renato Sobral, you can deduce that he was paid a menial "official" purse in the U.S., officially reported to the commission. Later, Mousasi -- or at the very least, M-1 Global, who repped him at the time -- received a much larger check under the guise of consulting, or a bonus, or a performance incentive, or something inane. This allows them to avoid getting gauged on in-state taxes owed to commissions.
The hypocrisy in this is that it is really not that dissimilar from the UFC trying to secretly hand guys discretionary bonuses under the table without other fighters, or even their own management, knowing.
So, here's what you have to know. Golden Glory tried to hold Zuffa hostage for more money for Overeem, betting on the notion that he was important enough to keep around. They bet wrong, Dana White's emotions took over, and he decided to make an example. Afterward, rather than discuss the situation frankly, he tried to pull the "us vs. them" card he used against M-1 Global and others in the past, but poorly represented facts and made the UFC look bad.
That is the brutal thing about the whole act. What did Marloes Coenen and Jon Olav Einemo do wrong? I suppose you could say "They should have chosen better management," but there's still a lot of poorly-directed anger displacement here.
Like I said, in addition to the disclosed "Of the Night" bonuses, Zuffa hands out tons and tons of under-the-table discretionary bonuses. Is that really any less covert and duplicitous than Golden Glory's desire to get paid out-of-state? Do people really, truly, honestly think THAT is Dana White's problem, and not that Golden Glory tried to hold his company hostage for more money? Come on.
Tax is the big issue; Zuffa can write checks directly to fighters for reasons not linked to a direct fight event, thereby bypassing the state taxes on the purse.
[Marloes tweeting her check denoting her as the payee] is basically irrelevant, as it only contradicts Dana White's poorly-chosen half-truth. Refuting non-facts doesn't constitute truth. Of course Zuffa make checks out to her; they have to if they're fighting in an athletic commission.
Here's the problem: Zuffa were innocent, did something stupid, then made themselves look bad. The company actually devolved across that spectrum over the Golden Glory beef.