JZ Cavalcante on Waiting for Strikeforce, Non-Payment from Dream, and His Split From American Top Team

April 18, 2011
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JZ Cavalcante

JZ Cavalcante

It’s been a tough past six months for Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante.

Making his long awaited Strikeforce debut last October, Cavalcante lost a controversial decision to former lightweight champion Josh Thomson. Before that fight ever started the Brazilian was embroiled in situation with Dream where he hadn’t been paid for his fight with the promotion from July 2010.

Since that time, Cavalcante has been patiently, and now impatiently, waiting on the sidelines for Strikeforce to make the call and give him a fight. In the midst of this, he’s split with his former squad at American Top Team.

“Just waiting for a fight since December. I don’t know what Strikeforce has been doing, they always say ‘next month.’ They promised me a fight in April, and now they’ve already switched it up and changed their minds,” Cavalcante said in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio recently. “Now it’s going to be, who knows?”

The Brazilian fighter has been rumored to come back on essentially every show since the beginning of 2011, but as of yet nothing has come to fruition. With the June 18 card already seemingly filled, it would appear the earliest Cavalcante could fight again would be on the rumored July card, but again nothing has been confirmed.

Along with Cavalcante’s current lack of cage time, there’s also the longstanding problem that he hasn’t been paid by Dream for a fight that took place almost a year ago.

JZ performed in Dream in July 2010 picking up a win over Katsunori Kikuno. He has yet to receive his show money or win bonus from the show.

“No, since July they don’t answer, they don’t do anything,” Cavalcante stated. “Since then they don’t say anything, they’ve just disappeared, they don’t return the calls. The time once my manager called, they said they sent the check to somebody else.

“My contract is with FEG cause I fought with K-1, and then they got together with Pride and they turned to Dream. Now all the time when we call FEG to pay me they give direction for the Pride part. They are playing like that.”

Unfortunately the status of MMA in Japan has been largely put on hold since the catastrophic earthquakes struck the country last month, and Cavalcante wished nothing but the best and sent his support to the fans and supporters that treated him so well during his time there.

The honest answer, however, from JZ when asked if he ever believes he’ll ever see a dime of that fight purse is, “I don’t know.”

It would seem that’s all the upheaval a fighter could handle in a nearly one-year window, but in the midst of all this Cavalcante, along with teammates Jorge Santiago, Danillo Villefort, and Yuri Villefort, decided to leave American Top Team and train independently.

Cavalcante insists there was no bad blood leading to his exit from the legendary fight team, but it was just time for him to move on.

“We made the decision to leave,” Cavalcante stated. “Just want to keep it clear ATT is still my family, I love everybody there. We went out with no problems. We wasn’t just happy with training, and we got the chance to work together, so that’s what we are doing now.”

The training he’s doing now with his former American Top Team teammates along with Strikeforce heavyweight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva seems to be serving him well. He doesn’t expect them to go as far as forming their own fight team, but they are happy with the way things are going at their new training facility.

“We are just doing our thing,” he said. “We have a lot of friends, fighters, from everywhere. We are just trying to do our thing together, that’s it.”

Cavalcante also mentioned that since he has been staying busy with training and getting his teammates ready for fights, his weight has stayed down and he’s just waiting for that call from Strikeforce to get him back in action.

If it was up to him, Cavalcante would have already fought, but he’s willing to step up whenever the promotion pulls the trigger.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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