While many try to figure out just why three members of Team Golden Glory were released by the UFC and Strikeforce this week, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker attempted to clear the air.
Instead, Coker probably just added more fuel to the fire in regards to the releases of teammates Marloes Coenen, Valentijn Overeem and Jon Olav Einemo coinciding with the dismissal of Alistair Overeem.
Speaking with Mauro Ranallo on The Fight Show, this is what Coker had to say:
“Well, you know, Mauro, that whole thing about Alistair, I think it’s been documented,” Coker said. “I think it’s been regurgitated over and over so I don’t know if we have to get into that. But with Valentijn and Marloes, you know, right now, there’s only so many TV spots, as you know, until the middle of next year. And, uh, they’re, um, you know, in this business, you’ve gotta keep winning. So, to me, it was a situation where Valentijn had that loss, I believe in June, so that was already in the works anyway. It just seems sudden to everybody because it just all happened this week. But that was already on its way for Valentijn. The slots are going to be for the fighters that are victorious right now. We have a lot of athletes under contract and we have to get everybody fights and there’s only so many slots.
“There’s only so many TV dates, we only have two more TV dates on the big show before the end of the year. September is already full, December is getting full and then January is hopefully are finals and that’s going to have a full card already. So in fairness to the athletes, why just let them hang around? It’s a much fairer situation to let them go fight elsewhere and create another future somewhere else.”
Maybe the releases were already in the works, as the case for Valentijn Overeem and Einemo could be made since they both lost more than just a few days ago as was the case with Coenen.
But, the Coenen cut makes it seem like there was something more than just wins and losses playing a factor in this decision.
“This is a big blow for us. I feel it’s kind of unfair to the fighters,” Golden Glory coach Martin de Jong told MMAjunkie.com. “They train hard. They put on exciting performances. I have no idea (if it’s related to Alistair’s recent dismissal), but it doesn’t look good. Of course, for us, it’s really bad. I’m very disappointed. What can I say?”
One key note that has been brought up is the way Golden Glory pays its fighters. The team likes to have fight purses paid directly to the company and then the fighters are passed on their percentage. This is not the way the UFC does business or likes to do business with fighters.
The potential for legal problems has kept the UFC from doing this, and it has been reported that they were just waiting for releases clauses on Golden Glory fighters to come into play before taking advantage of them.
Prior to acquiring the assets of Strikeforce, the UFC had not used a fighter from Golden Glory since UFC 32 in 2001.
Sergei Kharitonov is the lone Golden Glory fighter still signed, as he is in the semifinals of the heavyweight Grand Prix which continues in September.