World Series of Fighting 11 is in the midst of a major shakeup after headliner and welterweight title holder Rousimar Palhares pulled out of his fight with Jon Fitch. This news has WSOF's VP/matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz in a bad mood, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise if you know anything about him. Palhares' withdrawal is said to be for 'personal reasons', which wasn't elaborated upon. But Abdel-Aziz did speak to MMA Fighting about how this sort of thing is affecting his promotion:
"We're getting screwed," he said. "I'm trying to put on a fight card and be nice to fighters, and now they don't want to fight each other.
"I have to put WSOF first and everyone else second. No more Mr. Nice Guy."
The "Mr. Nice Guy" thing is quite humorous considering the way Abdel-Aziz acted towards Josh Burkman earlier this month when the two had a dispute over money on twitter. They came to an uneasy agreement, but it's obvious that there's still tension there. He continued on when talking to MMA Fighting, saying that he's going to be more strict about fighter contracts in the future:
"I'm getting sick of this," he said. "If a fighter is not going to respect the promotion, he is going to be shelved for a long time. I will not release anyone to another promotion. Fighters must honor their contracts."
The most recent fighter asking for a release from his contract was Andrei Arlovski. His contract had actually expired, but WSOF had the option to extend it due to Arlovski pulling out of one fight because of an injury. Instead, they let him go to the UFC and Abdel-Aziz wished him the best of luck. Apparently he might not be thinking the same thing today.
And of course, Abdel-Aziz couldn't leave those comments alone and turned to twitter to make his point more clear:
With the welterweight title fight scrapped, the lightweight title fight between Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell has been bumped to the top of the July 5th event. Abdel-Aziz also said that they were attempting to book a fight between Fitch and recent acquisition Jake Shields for the co-main event.