Bloody Elbow's Steph Daniels interviews the Strikeforce Lightweight contender in the aftermath of the cancellation of Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy.
Imagine having just finished a great training camp. It's two days past your birthday, and fight week is just six days away. You've just settled in for your weekly dose of Boardwalk Empire when your phone rings. Who could be calling this late on a Sunday night? It's almost 10 pm. Everybody knows I need my rest this week more than any other. Oh, hey, I recognize that number. It's my manager, Crazy Bob Cook. I better get that...
This is a pretty accurate scenario for Josh Thomson last night when he received the news that the Strikeforce card he was to be featured on this coming Saturday night had been cancelled. Was it Zuffa or was it Showtime that made the executive decision? I'm going to go with a combination of the two. The point is, the card was canceled, and as of right now, there has been no offer to pay out "show" purses, nor is there any discussion of placement on another card or rescheduling the card. That's not to say it won't happen. It just hasn't happened yet. I interviewed Thomson just a few minutes ago to get the details on how this whole debacle happened, and here's what he had to say:
I was just sitting there watching some TV, when I got the call. It was around 10 o'clock, and I got a call from my manager saying the show was going to be canceled. There's not much you can do about it. When I talked to my manage, I told him, 'Throw out every option.
As someone who knows about being injured, I realize that's part of the sport, but I think canceling the event was extreme. When I was injured, they offered Gil an interim title. I know I've only been training for three rounds, but I'll step up and fight Pat Healy for five rounds. He deserves his title shot. He shouldn't be put on the back burner. He put in his camp time, and everything like that, too. I've trained with Healy. I've fought him. He's a great guy, and my heart goes out to him. He's trained hard for 8-10 weeks.
A lot of these guys haven't been around as long as me. They're working their way up. This is an opportunity for them to put food on the table for their families.To cancel the event, it just sucks. I offered them everything I could. I offered a three round fight, if they didn't want to do an interim title, and I offered to step up for a five round fight. I just wanted to whatever I could to possibly keep the card alive, but Showtime had already made their decision.
I know Jorge Masvidal has been in a full training camp, just in case somebody from the card got injured. There were options here. They could have moved me up and set Masvidal against Caros Fodor. Dana White was just talking about this. He said if you're going to be on a professional level and getting paid, you need to be training all the time. Masvidal made it very clear that he was ready. Him and Fodor would have made a great fight. It would have been very impressive. Given that I've beaten Healy in the past, it also adds a little bit of history to it. It's a tough pill to swallow for all the fighters on the card.
When it comes down to fight purses, this is every fighter's nightmare, even if it's the UFC, which typically pays out show money purses in the event of a fight cancellation. With smaller organizations, and even the Zuffa owned Strikeforce, the options aren't set in stone, and as of now, no offer has been made for financial compensation.
Nothing has been offered. Like I said, it was 10 o' clock at night. My manger was still getting all the full details of the situation. My job is to go to the gym and train. I let my manager take care of everything else. I don't really know what the deal is. Hopefully we find out more today.
For the other fighters that don't make what I make, it would be nice to see them compensated something to help them pay their bills or get through this. I know that once a fighter gets closer to the fight, towards the end of the camp, and I catch myself doing it all the time, the week before the fight, you go out and buy something. A piece of furniture, maybe you fix your car. For most fighters I know, they buy a bunch of groceries. I used to that all the time, but now, I've gotten to where I wait to spend anything until the fight happens [laughs]. The fact that the event was canceled after the last Friday leading in to it, means that every fighter pretty much shut their camp down. Right now, we're just trying to get all the details so we can go from there.
You can follow Josh via his Twitter account, @THEREALPUNK