MMA Weekly recently had a conversation with Jay Hieron’s agent Ken Pavia about the rumors of Hieron once again being snubbed for a title shot and what the fighter’s plans are now that he has reached the end of his Strikeforce contract.
“He has an exclusive negotiating period with Strikeforce, but beyond that…he has no more fights left on his deal.” Pavia went on to note that Strikeforce has the opportunity to match any offers made by other organizations, a standard now in the fight industry.
When it was announced that Strikeforce intended to fill their vacant welterweight title, Jay Hieron was widely rumored to be the man to stand in the cage opposite Nick Diaz to battle for that championship. However, after being replaced by Marius Zaromskis and getting relegated to the undercard on the same night of the belt contest it was again assumed that, with a win in that spot, “The Thoroughbred” would be the first in line to fight the newly minted champion. It is now being hinted at by Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker that Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will take that position instead.
Pavia had this to say in regards to the possibility of his fighter seeing another title shot disappear: “It’s words until it happens. I wouldn’t read into it too much, we think Jay’s entitled to a title shot. We’ve thought he was the top contender for a couple fights now and we’ve won, but until they officially announce who’s fighting for the belt, I’m not going to concern myself too much about that until something actually occurs.”
When asked whether Hieron would take an offer by the UFC if they make one Pavia responded diplomatically, saying that they are open to other options but that it will come down to the pros and cons present in whatever offers they receive. He also said, “That being said, he’s not unhappy with Strikeforce. I mean he’s unhappy he hasn’t made television and it affects his sponsorship money. He’s unhappy that he didn’t get to fight for the title shot, but we also recognize that it’s not all Strikeforce’s fault. There are a lot of different issues that come into play, so it’s not to say we wouldn’t have issues if we were in the UFC, or with a Japanese organization.”
The savvy agent played it safe and said that he and his client will take all of the multitudes of factors that come into play when making this kind of decision into consideration but that ultimately it comes down to this: “Next to money he wants to fight the toughest guys and he wants a title shot, and I respect that.”