First it was Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem to get the axe.
Shortly thereafter former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen, Valentijn Overeem (Alistair’s brother), and UFC fighter John Oliv-Einemo followed.
The common ingredient? They are all compatriots at Team Golden Glory.
The lone Golden Glory fighter standing in a Zuffa promotion is Sergei Kharitonov, who is currently in the midst of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Seems a little odd for it not to be a conflict between promotion execs and the team management, and it’s not that odd. In fact, that’s exactly what the situation boils down to.
“It’s simple. If you look back throughout history, we haven’t had any Golden Glory guys fight (for Zuffa) since Semmy Schilt. The reason is we have very different business practices,” explained UFC president Dana White on Thursday.
“The bottom line is, the way that (Golden Glory) does business is you have to pay them, not the fighters. We don’t work that way. It’s not the way we do business. It’s not how it works in the United States. You don’t pay the manager and the manager pays the fighter. You pay the fighter and the fighter pays the manager.”
So why did it take up until now to release many of the team’s fighters? Simple, it’s business.
“Those deals were there and in place and obviously when Einemo fought in the UFC, we did it our way. Which is the way it has to be done. We refuse to do business any other way.”
For Alistair Overeem, it boiled down to a breakdown in contract negotiations. The other three fighters all lost their most recent fights, making it a simple matter for Zuffa officials to get rid of them.
Kharitonov, quite simply, is still around because he has a standing contract and he hasn’t lost while under that contract. As long as he remains a member of Golden Glory and that team’s management does not change its business practices, the Russian heavyweight’s days are numbered.
According to White, should Kharitonov lose in the semifinal or final round of the Grand Prix, he is done. Should he win the Grand Prix, his current contract will be fulfilled, and again, he is done.
“The reality is, we tried to work out some deals with these guys, but they won’t do it.”
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