by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
When Matt Lindland signed with Bodog Fight, he inked a three-fight, one-year deal. That deal expired with two of the three fights remaining.
He spoke with MMAWeekly.com recently about his tenure with BodogFight and his frustrations with the Calvin Ayre-owned promotion’s business practices.
Lindland last competed in April of 2007 against Fedor Emelianenko in BodogFight: Clash of Nations in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has spent the last ten months expecting two more bouts and two more paydays. Neither came to fruition.
“I lived up to my end of the bargain,” said the Greco-Roman wrestling Olympic silver-medalist. “I haven’t fought since April, anticipating two more fights with Bodog.
“I was exclusive with them for that period of time. That’s why I hadn’t done any negotiations outside of that contract. I was upholding my end of the bargain and dealing with them with integrity and honesty. I was being forthright, but they weren’t doing such. It was very difficult.”
Explaining his contract situation with Bodog Fight, Lindland said, “My contract was with Sixth Row Productions. Bodog and Sixth Row intermingled funds. I mean, I could go after Bodog Fight, but they have no assets. They set up these shell companies and they’re not paying their fighters. They don’t honor their contracts. It was very disappointing.”
Living up to his end of the contract, Lindland appeared frustrated with the situation. Realizing he wasn’t likely to get the fights promised him, he at least tried to come to some sort of settlement with Bodog Fight.
“Here I am asking them just to at least buy me out of this contract and they didn’t offer me a single dollar. They owed me a lot of money. They owed me two more times in the ring too.” He continued, “I said, ‘I don’t want to just take your money, but if you’re not going to put me in the ring could you guys pay me something for sitting out for twelve months?’ That’s ridiculous.”
Unfortunately, Lindland knows all too well that this sort of corporate behavior isn’t an anomaly.
“I run into that in this industry an awful lot … I used to be in the car business and there were a bunch of scumbags in that industry. I’m sure every industry has just these lying scumbags, but it seems like there’s a lot in this business.”
Regardless of what stipulations and fine print athletes have written into their contracts, Lindland doesn’t believe a fighter can fully protect themselves against promoters.
“I don’t think you can protect yourself entirely no matter what,” said the Oregonian. “Dealing with the new company I’m signing with, we put in some upfront money and hopefully some guarantees, but I guess you can’t (protect yourself). That’s corporate America. You can’t stop a company from going bankrupt and not having the funds, so it’s just hard.”
Lindland recently signed a three-fight, one-year contract with a start up promotion rumored to be a partnership between popular clothing company Affliction and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Productions. The as yet unnamed promotion is expected to debut in June in Las Vegas.