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Tamdan McCrory discusses 'horrible money' Bellator offered for title shot

Middleweight comeback artist, Tamdan McCrory discusses contract issues with Bellator that led to his early release from the organization and subsequent re-signing with the UFC.

Bellator MMA

Career transformations are not easily achieved, but over the last couple years, the MMA community has been dazzled by a few athletes that have had spectacular career arcs. Robbie Lawler, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir are the most notable, mainly due to the exposure and promotion that comes with being in the UFC.

One name that might not be so easily recognizable for newer fans, but is equally impressive, is Tamdan McCrory. A veteran of the sport since 2006, "The Barncat" was a bright prospect with an 8-0 record when the UFC signed him in 2007. Over the course of a two year run in the organization, he went 3-3, but was released after a split decision loss to John Howard after UFC 101. Immediately following his release, McCrory retired at the ripe, old age of 22.

He stayed inactive for a little over five years, then made his return to the sport with a 3-fight, 1-year Bellator deal. His first fight back was against one of the promotion's better middleweights, Brennan Ward. The fight lasted 21 seconds, resulting with a big KO win for Tamdan. Six months later, he would go on to finish another of Bellator's middleweights, Jason Butcher, via submission in the first round.

This week, McCrory announced that he'd inked a deal with the UFC after contract issues with Bellator. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, he relayed some of the details of the dispute.

"What aggravated me is that it took five months before we even got down to the nitty-gritty and actually were like, okay, let's make a deal come together. There was always just talk. There was a talk here and a talk there.

Then they came at us and said, we'll give you the title shot, but we're only going to pay you just horrible money. And I was like, dudes, I'm not going to take that money. You guys know that's not even close."

While the 28-year-old New York native didn't go into specific details of his contract, he did describe it as an "all-or-nothing deal," with factors on the back-end that would take effect if he won the middleweight title, but would reduce his fight purse to a much lower sum if he didn't. There was a negotiation period, but McCrory's counteroffers were unsuccessful. Frustrated after being "dicked around" for so long, he asked for an early release and was granted one.

"Even if they were to come at me with a deal, by that point I was like, dude, I've been dicked around for so long for whatever. Are these really the people who have my best interests (at heart), in building me and my brand? I had to ask myself, what is going on, man?

It boggled my mind. I mean, to this day, I still think it was a dream. I was shocked. I'm literally like, did this really happen? Like, did I sleep through the past six weeks? What happened?"

Despite recent efforts on Bellator's part to acquire as much name talent as possible, Tamdan feels that they didn't know how to utilize him, and are ultimately not really about building talent.

"They're not really building talent. I mean, I can list off every champion in the UFC. I can't do the same thing about Bellator. I don't know half of the fighters in Bellator. I don't think they do a good enough job of building guys up, and I think that maybe they weren't willing to do that and invest in me, or they didn't like my story, or whatever. Because I guarantee the UFC is going to use it for them. It's going to look great for them. When I come back in there and I start stomping in the UFC after what I did in Bellator, that's a great narrative. Everybody wants to see somebody who got cast aside and comes back out of nowhere with the RKO and just takes the world by storm. I don't really know what the deal is with Bellator.

It doesn't make any sense to me, man. Maybe I'm not a good enough entertainer. I don't know. I'm a good fighter and I'd rather be remembered as a good fighter than a good entertainer. I'd rather be remembered as a guy who wins than the guy who jumps up and down and spews expletives and whatever. I don't know. I just shake my head, but at the end of the day I have to be thankful for the opportunity they gave me."

McCrory's current UFC contract is a four-fight deal, four fights he plans to win before starting the process of moving up the rankings ladder.

"This is a four-fight deal. By the end of these four fights, I'm going to string four wins together and then be looking to chip away at that top-15, top-10 and work my way up. There's no thought about it, I know I have what it takes to be in the top-10 and eventually rise to the top. It's just going to be the grind of getting there. And if you don't know my story, I've been grinding the past five years to come back to this point. What's a little bit more?"

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