Further Proof Golden Glory and Alistair Overeem tried to strong arm Zuffa
The big news coming out of Zuffa (StrikeForce and UFC) is the release of 3 Golden Glory fighters (The team that trains/manages/represents Overeem). Valentijn Overeem (Overeem’s overshadowed less accomplished younger brother from the StrikeForce roster) John Olavv Einemo (a trainer and seldom active MMA fighter at Golden Glory from the UFC roster) and Marloes Coenen (women’s 135lb champ until her defeat at the hands of Miesha Tate on Saturday also from the StrikeForce roster).
Once again, the fans and medial are crying foul, citing Dana White’s long memory and ability to take a grudge to new heights. Once again, I think they are all wrong! Wrong I say, they can’t handle the truth! (read that last line in a terrible Jack Nicholson voice). I stated in a previous article the reason Overeem was let go in the first place, it all came down to money. What I failed to mention was the rumor that Golden Glory was asking for some serious contract additions. Overeem was posturing with a veiled threat of fighting one or both of the Klitschko brothers (a la Nick Diaz and his manager Caesar Gracie’s brilliant power play some months ago) in a failed attempt to force Zuffa’s hand (are they still talking about the Klitschko fight?). Reportedly Golden Glory was asking for a contract extension, a HUGE pay increase (well above what the tope UFC talent is/has made) a substantial cut of all PPV revune for all fights Overeem is involved in and the pais de resistance an immediate title fight with the winner of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos.
Some might ask where the problem lies? It’s just a simple contract negotiation right? Wrong, it was an improper tactic attempted by a Management team representing a terrible employee. “But Nick Diaz pulled it off” your saying. Yes, yes he did, or rather Caesar Gracie pulled it off. We must remember, Nick Diaz had cleaned out the WW division, has been undefeated in StrikeForce for a few years, is HUGELY popular, is the anti hero to GSP who desperately needs fresh competition, has a brilliant manager in Caesar Gracie who knows how to negotiate properly. Meaning, there are no hard feelings if the negotiation succeed or fail, from either side. Not the case with Golden Glory, they have notoriously made moves on behalf of their fighters which routinely agitate the respective promotions they compete in. Think M-1 Global tactics on a bit smaller scale. Was there some animosity involved in the release of Golden Glory fighters? Yes. Was it personal? No. Remember back when AKA (John Fitch’s team was all let go for several hours, it came down to money then too) You don’t mess with Dana White’s bread. Period.
Why would Zuffa enforce such a hard tactic? The answer is simple, they cannot allow the precedent to be set. A team like AKA, ATA, Extreme Couture, Golden Glory or even Nick Diaz’s team (which includes Current StrikeForce LW Champ Gilbert Melendez, Former StrikeForce WW and MW champ and current UFC fighter Jake Shields among other top contenders) cannot be allowed the power to force Zuffa into bad contracts. An example would be Fedor’s/M-1 Global’s contract with StrikeForce. Fedor receives roughly 1.2 million dollars per fight, PPV revenue if the fight is not on Showtime, plus M-1 Global gets to Co-Brand every event involving Fedor. M-1 Global has the right to stack each fight card featuring Fedor with it’s own roster of fighters and on one of their many, many contract re-negotiations were able to secure their own broadcasting deal with Showtime sans StrikeForce. Keep in mind as popular as Fedor is with the MMA hardcore and above average fan in North America, he is virtually unknown to the general public, hence, his dismal ratings numbers. He has failed to raise the ratings of the StrikeForce shows he has been involved in. In other words, he costs StrikeForce/Zuffa almost 2 million dollars each time he fights. The cost is not re cooped, it is a loss. The company operates at a loss each time Fedor fights. Could you imagine running a business where every-time you made a product, you lost money? I didn’t think so. That is an example of a bad contract for Zuffa.
A precedent was set by M-1 Global (or the M-1 mafia as I like to call them) a precedent which couldn’t be allowed to cross over into the UFC. Golden Glory/Overeem’s demands would have set a precedent, opened the flood gates to a barrage of similar requests/negotiations. All of which are bad for business for Zuffa. Lets all remember, MMA is a business. Yes, it’s a sport, but most importantly it’s a business. Can you fault Zuffa for protecting their business? I can’t, if they don’t protect it, I won’t have much high quality MMA from North America to watch, not to mention, how many states would ban the sport if an entity like the gigantic UFC ceased operations? I suspect quite a few. Releasing the remainder of Golden Glory’s team (Sergei Kharitonov is the only Golden Glory team member to my knowledge still left on the Zuffa payroll, expect him to be released after his first loss, which could likely come at the hands of Josh Barnett in the next chapter of the HW Grand Prix) let’s everyone in the MMA world know, the only way to get a good contract with Zuffa is to have a great product. A fighter who sells tickets, tons of tickets, one who brings good media attention to the sport and the promotion he fights for. There are exceptions to this rule (Chael Sonnen and the afore mentioned Nick Diaz- they are needed to give the sport some color. The anti hero is great for business in small doses, hence the allowance for only a few. There’s a reason War Machine was released from the UFC and Bellator) on the whole, most of the big contracts have gone to the fighters who do just what I mentioned. Overeem did not do those things, at least not in North America and certainly not for StrikeForce/Zuffa. His management teams arrogance, their over inflated perceived worth of ‘The Demolition Man’ has cost 3 of their fighters a job. Good going Golden Glory.
It must be pointed out, the release of the 3 fighters mentioned above might (most likely) is related to a request in the contract negotiation. I don’t believe they were punished on the sole merit of being Golden Glory fighters. I have a hunch Golden Glory tried to use the complete roster as a bargaining tool.
When I’m proven right, remember you read it here first. If on the off chance I’m proven wrong, remember you read it on another less reputable site, not this one.
Rumble young man Rumble.