The ongoing saga between Zuffa officials and Team Golden Glory has continued to unfold over the last couple of weeks as the promotion dropped Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem as well as teammates Marloes Coenen, Valentijn Overeem and Jon Olav Einemo.
UFC President Dana White stated that it was Team Golden Glory’s unwillingness to allow the promotion to pay the fighters directly that spurned the eventual releases of several of their fighters from both the UFC and Strikeforce.
White explained that they only pay the athletes directly and Team Golden Glory insisted on them being paid and that they would then dole out the money to the fighters.
Now, Team Golden Glory leader Bas Boon has responded and explained his team’s situation in all of this, and even goes on to say that they are willing to work with Zuffa again, even under their terms.
Starting with the situation surrounding the release of Golden Glory’s fighters, Boon explains that it began with conversations held in Vancouver around the UFC 131 weekend that Jon Olav Einemo made his Zuffa debut against Dave Herman.
“The Golden Glory management discussed before coming to the U.S. about the payment situation and it was agreed to speak with a Zuffa lawyer about this in Vancouver, to find a solution,” Boon wrote in a release.
“There was a contract in place and Golden Glory and Einemo honored the UFC rules including getting the check on the fighter’s name. Einemo showed his check in the gym as well, which was on his name, and Alistair and Valentijn also confirmed their payment was done by check in their name. The Zuffa lawyer explained that the fighters could open an account at a bank were the UFC did their banking and the check would clear in only two days instead of 6 weeks till 8 weeks. That’s how long it takes to clear a check in a foreign country which was also an issue for some of the fighters, and they could then transfer the amount to the final destination at their choice. They were thankful and did this.”
Boon goes on to give the reasons why Team Golden Glory insists on payment to the management team instead of directly to the fighters.
“The reason that the Golden Glory management company is doing this business for the Golden Glory fighters for over 12 years with payment directly to the management company is for the benefit of the fighters, coaches and trainers are paid on time and the management company will take care of bookkeeper and taxes and exchange rates and legal help for the fighters,” Boon stated.
“We have many fighters from many different parts of the world and also have gyms in Berlin, Germany, Liverpool, England, Pattaya, Thailand, California, Bucharest, Romania, Moscow, Russia and three gyms in Holland. Golden Glory is growing on an international level and we are working with one management company to coordinate these businesses.
“Fighters only sign agreements with promoters if coaches, trainers, management and the fighter agree with the terms, regardless to whom the payment will be done.”
According to Boon, the situation with Strikeforce was different when they first signed their deal to the time when Zuffa took over the promotion earlier in 2011.
Boon explains that he and then Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker were in discussions for a potential TV deal as well as other business dealings, and at that point Team Golden Glory got involved with the San Jose based promotion.
That all changed when a few months later Strikeforce sold to Zuffa, and all business shifted directions at that point.
Boon says that under the previous Strikeforce deal, the promotion paid money directly to the management company without issue, but once Zuffa took over the policy changed. He also spoke about the sponsorship policy changes under the Zuffa umbrella of leadership.
“The fighters were paid in the previous Strikeforce bouts to an account of the management without any problems, yet UFC claimed this was impossible,” said Boon. “Then the fighters were losing sponsors as the UFC took over Strikeforce as they implemented their new rules.
“If you can sponsor the fighter you should sponsor the organization first. I understand this from a business point of few, but some companies can’t effort to pay 100K or more to an organization. And some fighters getting 5 or 10K in sponsorship is where they actually can make some good money. We just wanted the things as they were before, but it was far from what it was before. The payment was done how the UFC wanted and again we agreed and did the same as in Vancouver, so that matter was solved , so I do not understand why Dana claims we did not agree?
“We did not have a choice and never said we would not fight in the future or that we would refuse to work like this in the future (we worked out that problem with the Zuffa lawyer in the Vancouver and even agreed with their new sponsor policies). Maybe there is a miscommunication and Dana was not well informed that the direct payment issue was solved and no longer an issue as I myself have been in and out hospital for two weeks because of heath issues.”
With four fighters from Golden Glory now released from Zuffa because of the strained relationship between the two parties, Boon is hopeful to sit down and hammer out a new deal to get his competitors back in the cage again soon.
Boon even states that Alistair Overeem could come to the UFC under an exclusive deal, if the right terms are offered.
“We regret the response from Zuffa and the releases, but it is their company and they can do what they want, we would like to keep working in the future with the UFC and with this statement I clearly say that direct payment to any of our fighter was not a problem and will not be a problem in the future,” Boon stated.
“We just want to be able to produce great fighters and create great fights for the fans, we have no intention for co-promotion deals and are even willing to make an exclusive deal for Alistair Overeem to fight in the UFC, if the terms are right.”
Will Team Golden Glory fighters end up back in the UFC and Strikeforce? Only time will tell now.