The UFC and Bellator have historically stayed away from each other, with UFC President Dana White always remaining respectful of the organization’s niche in the sport and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney avoiding any interest in picking a fight with the world’s largest MMA promotion. However, on a rare occasion, White spoke harshly about some of the tactics that Bellator has employed over the past few weeks.
White’s remarks came in relation to a situation where Bellator signed bantamweight Tyson Nam and then released him. Recently, Bellator allowed champion Eduardo Dantas to compete outside of the promotion to fight Nam and was knocked out, drawing interest from a number of professional suitors. Similarly to other organization’s, when it comes to contracts Bellator put in a “right to match” clause in order to retain certain fighters for an extended amount of time if so desired. As such, Bellator has made it difficult for Nam to sign with another promotion even though they had already cut him.
“I don’t talk much about Bellator but what they do (with contracts) is one of the dirtiest things you can do in the business. It’s dirty, it’s grimy, and it’s just despicable,” said White in a conversation with media after UFC 152.
Having the right to match offers is nothing new and the UFC has it in their contracts as well, which White acknowledged, stating, “I have the right to match, but once I cut a guy and let him go, and somebody else tries to sign him, I don’t come back and say, ‘Aww, you’re breaking the contract. I have matching rights.’ When you made the decision to cut him, you cut him. That’s one of the scummiest, dirtiest things you can do in the fight business.”
White went on to say that not having Nam in the UFC won’t matter in the grand scheme of things to the organization, but he still felt as though there are some things you just don’t do as a fight promoter.
“(Nam) is not gonna make or break the UFC but the problem is, the dirty scumbag moves that these guys are pulling hurts the fighter. It’s one of the dirtiest, lowdown, despicable things you can do in the fight business,” White continued. “I guess that’s the way those guys do business. We don’t do business like that. I have no beef with those guys, they’re doing their own thing and I could care less. But that’s dirty. That’s dirty and it’s borderline criminal.”
All said and done, Nam remains in the same place. Bellator can sit on his contract until it runs out next year or he can re-sign with the promotion. In a perfect world, Bellator would most likely want Nam to sign with them again so their champion can avenge the loss. However, Nam would be under the same type of contract and would be susceptible to the same type of treatment when that deal ends. As of right now, Nam’s manager is under the impression that Bellator will sit on the contract until it runs out in 2013.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC