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UFC on FX 5 fight card: Predictions, previews and a complete guide to ‘Browne vs Bigfoot’

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is all set to blow the roof off the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with its latest FX offering, UFC on FX 5: “Browne vs. Bigfoot,” featuring a heavyweight battle pitting Travis Browne vs. Antonio Silva.

It’s a top contender battle (aren’t they all?) with divisional relevance at stake. But that’s not all.

Jake Ellenberger will battle Jay Hieron in the co-main event of the evening, while John Dodson and Jussier Formiga will go head on for the right to face Demetrious Johnson for the flyweight championship early next year.

With MMAmania.com undergoing a rather radical change recently, we can understand if you missed a few stories and need an easy guide to get to them all.

Well stand back, Maniacs, because we’re using technology.

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Results and live fight coverage

Nostradumbass predictions

Main card fight previews

Prelims preview and predictions part one

Prelims preview and predictions part two

Weigh-in results

Weigh-in staredowns

Weigh-in photo gallery

Weigh-in video replay

Dennis Hallman cut after missing weight badly

Latest odds and betting guide

Open media workout photo gallery

Exclusive interview with Travis Browne

An early pick for “Fight of the Night”

History in the Making presents: Travis Browne

History in the Making presents: Antonio Silva

Fighter breakdown: Bigfoot Silva

You won’t like Bigfoot Silva when he’s angry

John Dodson’s not a midget, he’s a full grown men

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That’s just a taste of what’s to come.

We all know the major storylines heading into tonight’s event and they’ll play themselves out live and free on FX.

See you then!

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World Series of Fighting Finalizes First Fight Card

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The World Series of Fighting has officially finalized its first-ever show.

Ali Abdel-Aziz, the promotion’s executive vice president, confirmed with MMAFighting.com the full fight card for the Nov. 3 event, which will air live on NBC Sports Network at 10:30 p.m. ET from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

Below is a look at the card.

NBC Sports Network main card:
Andrei Arlovski vs. Devin Cole
Anthony Johnson vs. D.J. Linderman
Miguel Torres vs. Marlon Moraes
Gregor Gracie vs. Tyson Steele

Prelims:
Tyrone Spong vs. Travis Bartlett
Ronys Torres vs. Brian Cobb
Gerald Harris vs. Josh Burkman
JZ Cavalcante vs. T.J. O’Brien
David Branch vs. Dustin Jacoby
Waylon Lowe vs. Fabio Mello
Steve Carl vs. Ramico Blackmon

According to Abdel-Aziz, the prelims will air on Sherdog.com.

All the bouts on the card will be contested in three five-minute rounds. The winner of the Torres vs. Moraes fight will meet the newly-signed Tyson Nam at the promotion’s second show in January.

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Nick Diaz ready to fight GSP tomorrow if asked

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It was a subdued Nick Diaz on Thursday night, making a rare between fights media appearance, with his brother Nate, on Spike TV’s MMA Uncensored show on Thursday night.

Nick Diaz always seems to start out uncomfortable around strangers, as well as the media. But his usual m.o. in an interview is to start talking about a subject, whether it be fighting, nutrition, training, growing up, and well, then it’s this wild stream of consciousness that it appears he, and nobody else, knows where it’s going to end up. But he never really opened up or said anything past the obvious, such as if he wasn’t suspended and they asked him to fight Georges St-Pierre tomorrow, he’d be up for it.

He brought up, when somewhat led in that direction, that he’d make a better opponent for Anderson Silva than Stephan Bonnar. Given that Silva was only willing to fight at light heavyweight because of the short notice aspect, and Diaz is a natural welterweight, and Diaz is under suspension until February, it’s all a moot point to begin with. It’s not as if UFC had a choice for Silva’s opponent between Bonnar and Diaz and then chose Bonnar.

“They said in what world does it make sense,” in referring to Dana White’s reaction when Diaz’s camp tried to push the idea of a Silva vs. Nick Diaz fight at one point. “Me or Stephan Bonnar, it would have been a big laughing matter or a joke, but that’s what’s happening now. I think if I was Anderson Silva and I’m on my way out of this and I’m 37, I’m looking to do a few more fights like that, I want to fulfill my legacy and I’m not going to be able to do it with Stephan Bonnar.”

Nick Diaz (26-8, 1 no contest) is currently under a suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a marijuana positive. The test took place a few hours after his Feb. 4 decision loss to Carlos Condit.(28-5) in a match for the interim welterweight title and a guaranteed bout with St-Pierre. Diaz, who was the aggressor in the fight, lost a hotly debated close decision that could be reasonably argued either way. It’s clear he’s still troubled by what happened.

“It gets pretty confusing,” he said. “I’ve learned from my mistakes in the past, why I thought I’ve lost fights before. I’ve come back, not so much made improvements in my fighting style, but made improvements in what I have to do to win. Sometimes, I do the opposite of what I did last time and I still come up short. It’s hard. It’s not like they’re telling you what you need to do to win the fight other than finish the fight.”

But even had he won, the positive test would have caused his win to be overturned and him to be stripped of the title, and he’d have lost his big money opportunity at St-Pierre. He was suspended for one year, since it was the second time in Nevada that he had failed for marijuana. One of the many reasons the penalty was so harsh was that after the first time in 2007, in what was the biggest win of his career up to that point in time against Takanori Gomi in an all-time classic fight, he had promised the commission he would never use the drug again. At his hearing earlier this year, when asked about how long he lived up to that statement, he said it was likely as long as it took him to get back home.

Nick Diaz has since filed suit against the commission, trying to use the argument that marijuana is only banned in competition, and even though he failed a test taken the night of the fight, it was eight days prior that he had last used it. Thus the argument is that the drug was not active at the time of the fight, and thus had no affect on the competition.

He was thrown a softball by host Craig Carton who asked about if marijuana was a performance enhancer, trying to argue that the commission shouldn’t be concerned about marijuana when so many fighters either are using steroids or on testosterone replacement therapy. But Nick Diaz answered that he believed it was a performance enhancer, crossing up the argument.

“Well, I think if somebody can use it to help them medicinally, it’s going to be performance enhancing regardless,” he said.

But he did note it’s not exactly in the league with steroids.

“Your random guy trying this marijuana, to go smoke it and then go fight, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Regarding the lawsuit, Diaz had nothing really to say, almost as if he is letting it play out while he himself is just concentrating on improving his fighting game.

“I’m not really focused on that,” he said about the suit. “I’m trying to live life like a normal person.”

But he did say that after fighting every few months since he was a teenager, that he was going crazy with his long break.

Nate Diaz (17-6), the younger brother who idolized and followed in Nick’s path as long as anyone can remember, may beat his brother to a UFC championship. He’s gearing up for the biggest fight of his career, a Dec. 8 title match in Seattle against UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (17-2). The fight headlines the next UFC event on Fox, and is only the second UFC championship bout ever on network television.

“Ben Henderson is a good opponent, he’s had some good fights,” said Nate Diaz. “I’m pretty pumped about finally fighting for the title. I’m looking forward to my brother having my back. I just got out of a boxing camp, the boxing never really stopped.”

Nate Diaz noted that he has been studying tapes of Henderson’s MMA fights, as well as his Jiu Jitsu competitions, and seen plenty of evidence of Henderson’s strengths in getting out of just about every submission attempted on him.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him in Jiu Jitsu tournaments,” said Nate Diaz. “He’s really good. I’ve seen him in gi competition. He gets out of stuff, dominates people, he’s a real athletic guy. He’s definitely the champion for a reason.”

Nate Diaz’s boxing style, largely peppering his opponent with a constant never ending barrage of punches, like his brother, looks to be the key in this fight, like it was in his recent win over Donald Cerrone.

“I’ve got a really good boxing coach, Richard Perez, he’s trained Tony Dominguez, Rodney Jones and my brother Nick. He’s the best boxing coach there is in boxing, but he’s in the MMA mix right now. Besides him, I’ve got Cesar Gracie, Jake Shields, Gil (Melendez), Nick, the team and we’ve got good kickboxers coming in.”

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UFC on FX 5 Welterweights Jay Hieron & Jake Ellenberger On The Importance Of Their Fight

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UFC on FX is rocking with a serious co-main event, Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger vs. Jay Hieron! UFC Tonight analyst Ariel Helwani spoke to these two warriors after the Weigh In about their fight and the big jump in the welterweight rankings the winner could experience.

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Stephan Bonnar on opportunity to fight Anderson Silva: ‘It feels like I’m in a movie’

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In his mind, Stephan Bonnar was retired. After speaking with his boss Dana White, his belief was only further cemented. Their viewpoints on fighting, it seemed, were just too far apart. To White, there was no point to a fighter sticking around if he didn’t have a desire to fight for a championship. That was at odds with the philosophy of Bonnar, who didn’t necessarily care about a belt, but was more interested in the specific experience of each fight.

On its surface, White’s stance seemed out of whack with some of the things he publicly espouses. For example, he prefers fighters who compete in exciting fashion no matter the outcome over those who win ugly. And Bonnar — one-half of the most important fight in UFC history wholly due to his blood-and-guts approach — has always been more the former than the latter. But when it comes down to it, White is a promoter, and promoters sell champions. And if Bonnar wasn’t interested in being one, well, what good was he?

Faced with the reality of White’s position, Bonnar had mentally moved on. He had other things to worry about. He and his wife were expecting a baby, and after beating Kyle Kingsbury last November, he had divorced himself from the gym for months.

After that layoff, he had actually just returned to light workouts for a couple of weeks when he got an unexpected call.

“It really came by surprise, honestly,” he said on Thursday. “I campaigned for some big fights but I couldn’t get them, so in my head, I was really trying to get over the whole fighting thing.”

The whole fighting thing was about to give him the biggest opportunity of his life. And wouldn’t you know it, the opportunity was one more in line with his philosophy than White’s, a fight that was more about a fun matchup than one to determine divisional hierarchy. He would get to measure himself against the man many consider to be the sport’s all-time pound-for-pound king, Anderson Silva.

That was a long way from where he was in that moment, training with MMA neophyte Dave Bautista, a former pro wrestling star in the WWE who was preparing for his cagefighting debut. In just one month, Bonnar would go from training with a 44-year-old rookie to competing against arguably the best the sport had ever seen.

“Yeah, a chance to fight the greatest pound-for-pound in the world in a place like Brazil is just crazy,” he said. “It feels like I’m in a movie.”

Bonnar is no fool. He is aware that he’ll be considered a historic underdog at UFC 153. He also knows the limitations of his fighting style. That doesn’t make it any less exciting for him to step in with Silva. After all, this is what he wanted. A fight against a big name. A fight against someone who mattered, even if it wasn’t for a title.

It was almost a vindication of his career philosophy.

“I just did it for fun, not really for any belts,” he said of his career, speaking in the past tense like the retired fighter he was just a few weeks ago. “And now I’m fighting the greatest pound-for-pound guy who’s been the champion for a long time and it’s not for a belt. And you think if I pull off an upset against Anderson Silva, it’s not going to be as sweet because it’s not for a belt? Hell no. It’s going to be the greatest moment of my life.”

Of his strategy, Bonnar says little. He acknowledges he won’t be able to “out-finesse” Silva, and that he’ll have to be able to eat a punch to land one. That’s been easier said than done against Silva, who boasts the highest percentage of landed strikes in UFC history, and who has also been extremely difficult to hit from a standup position.

Meanwhile, it is a different kind of opportunity for Silva. One to do a favor for the UFC. To headline another show in his country. To add to his legacy by fighting a bigger man on short notice. But, he says, it is not the prelude of something more to come. Win or lose, he plans to return to middleweight and defend his belt, with no thought given to possibly fighting 205-pound champ Jon Jones. For him like Bonnar, it is a one-time experience.

The difference is that while Silva has much at risk, Bonnar can fight free of burden. A few weeks ago, he was retired. His thoughts were more about being a father than being a fighter. That may make him a huge underdog, but it also makes him excited to create another indelible image.

“That makes it all the more sweet,” he said. “I enjoy reading the negative tweets, how I don’t stand a chance. I pull it off and those people’s jaws are going to drop the widest.”

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Dennis Hallman Says Personal Issues Forced Him Out of UFC on FX 5 Fight

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Dennis Hallman vs. Thiago Tavares lightweight fight, scheduled to take place Friday night on the UFC on FX 5 prelims, has been canceled because Hallman failed to make weight Thursday.

This marks the second straight fight Hallman failed to make weight for, however, the 16-year-veteran told MMAFighting.com following the weigh-ins that his misstep was related to a personal issue.

“I’m having some personal issues at home,” Hallman said. “I’m not fit to fight. I told Dana [White] what my issues were. He understands family matters, and he was cool with me not fighting.”

According to Hallman he passed out earlier today while cutting weight. At that time, he was two pounds over the 156-pound weight limit. He was then given fluids via an intravenous, which bumped him up to seven pounds over the lightweight limit.

When Tavares was notified of this news, he said that if Hallman got down to three pounds over the limit, he would accept the fight at a catchweight. Hallman told MMAFighting.com that he did just that, but according to Hallman, Tavares then asked for him to cut one more pound.

It was at that point that Hallman spoke to White about his personal issues and requested to be removed from the card. He said White was very understanding when he told him about his issues, which he wanted to keep private.

According to Hallman, who also said he has not been released from his contract, he will be paid his show money. UFC sources told MMAFighting.com earlier in the day that Tavares will receive his show money as well.

UFC officials refused to comment on Hallman’s future with the company.

Hallman, a veteran of over 80 professional MMA fights, is the longest-tenured fighter on the current UFC roster. He is coming off a first-round submission win over John Makdessi at UFC 140, a lightweight fight he missed weight for by two and a half pounds.

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World traveler Arnaud Lepont hopes to be household name after Shinya Aoki fight

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Arnaud Lepont moved from his native Western Europe to Southeast Asia in order to fulfill his potential as a mixed martial artist.

His fight on Saturday night will take place in his sixth country in as many years. His opponent will be the eighth nationality he’s faced in 11 fights.

And he’s hoping that all this globetrotting will pay off in making him a household name to MMA fans around the world.

The 32-year-old native of Normandie, France known as “The Game” will step into by far the biggest spotlight of his career this weekend, as he meets Japanese veteran Shinya Aoki in the super fight main event of One FC 6 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for,” Lepont said in a telephone interview from Phuket, Thailand. “This is what I’ve wanted. I’ve been winning my fights, but when I finish a fighter like Shinya Aoki, everyone will know about ‘The Game.’ and who he is”

Lepont began his career on the European circuit, where he immediately showed off a deft ground game, scoring four of his first five career wins via first-round submission.

But Lepont knew he was only going to get so far in his career by staying put, particularly with his homeland adopting strict rules on MMA which have all but choked off the sport.

“It’s very tough to be an MMA fighter in France right now,” Lepont said. “I knew if I was going to have a chance at making it to the top of the sport, I was going to have to leave home. It was actually an easy decision to make.”

So the lightweight prospect picked up and moved to Southeast Asia a couple years back, eventually setting in with the Muay Fit fight team in Malaysia.

There, Lepont noticeably improved on his striking, turning himself into a more well-rounded fighter. He’s continued to rack up submission victories, but is now using impressive displays of power to help set up his finishes. In his most recent victory, at One FC 4 on June 23, he rallied to defeat Brian Choi with a third-round rear-naked choke.

Which leads us to the fight against Aoki. On paper, this looks like a simple submission artist vs. submission artist bout, with the Japanese legend earning 19 of his 30 career victories via tapout, and Lepont doing the same in seven of nine.

“I’d like to take it to the ground and beat him there, sure,” said Lepont. “But is he willing to go toe-to-toe with me? What happens if I hit him with a big right? Then I might have to decide if I continue to lay it on him until the ref stops it or whether to go in and submit him. Let’s see if he’s ready for that.”

In recent days, Aoki has made headlines for essentially calling Lepont a punk. Our phone conversation happened before this went down, but even at that time, there was a bit of an edge in Lepont’s voice regarding a foe he once considered his idol.

“He’s cocky,” said Lepont. “He has it in his head that he can beat anyone on the ground. I hope he takes it to the ground with me, let’s see how it turns out for him. Aoki was my idol, he was the reason why I got into the sport, but that all comes to an end when we meet on Oct. 6.”

There’s no title on the line in the main event of One FC 6, which will air on pay-per-view television in the United States and is also available online. But Lepont insists that doesn’t matter.

“I don’t need this fight to be about a belt. This is bigger than a belt to me. To beat Shinya Aoki, in and of itself, that is my trophy.”

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As Eddie Alvarez readies for last contracted fight, Bellator prepares to move on without him

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The early matchup highlight of Bellator’s seventh season might indirectly serve as one of its most conflicting developments. On Oct. 12, the promotion will present an intriguing lightweight bout pitting former champion Eddie Alvarez against Patricky Pitbull. Yet the Bellator 76 bout, set for a headlining spot at Ceasars Windsor in Ontario, is almost certainly to be Alvarez’s final fight in a Bellator cage.

The longtime world-ranked fighter has spent the last few months flirting with the UFC from afar after company president Dana White publicly expressed an interest in him in April. “I think Eddie Alvarez is a great fighter,” he said then. “You know us, man, we’re always looking to get the best fighters in the world in the UFC, and he’s one of them.”

For a time afterward, Rebney seemed intent on keeping Alvarez, who has been in the fold since the formation of the company in 2008. In fact, as the first fighter Rebney signed to a contract, Alvarez was a building block for the promotion’s quick growth. But in a recent interview with MMA Fighting, while touching on Alvarez’s fight with Pitbull, Rebney all but acknowledged Alvarez’s time with Bellator was nearing its end.

“It’s a fight I wanted to see two years ago,” he said. “I always thought it would be an amazing fight, and it will be in all likelihood Eddie’s last fight in our organization. God bless him, he’s been awesome for us, and win, lose, or draw, he’ll do incredibly well if he ends up going to the UFC. I know they have a huge amount of interest in him, and I think he’ll probably win their title.”

Asked if that meant he was conceding that Alvarez’s future was elsewhere, Rebney didn’t explicitly agree, but indicated the likelihood of it was high.

“I’m pretty excited about what we’ve got at 155,” he said. “Obviously, Michael Chandler without any question or controversy, he submitted Ed. So he’s the best of that group. I think Rick Hawn is a monster. “Tiger” [Alexander Sarnavskiy] isn’t well known in the States but he’s 21-0 and the top prospect in the world at 155. He’s a beast. Pitbull is a monster. We have a stacked 155 division. I’m thrilled with what Sam and our team have done.

“I know that [the UFC] have had a lot of interest in Eddie for a real long time,” he continued. “And given how strong our 155-pound division is, I think we’re hyper-focused on the Chandlers, Hawns, Pitbulls, and all the monsters we have at 155. I think win or lose, Ed’s probably going to make that decision.”

That means that plenty will be riding on Alvarez’s fight with Pitbull. If he wins, he will enter free agency having won nine of his last 10, and back on track with two straight victories since losing to Chandler. If he loses, he will have been defeated in two of his last three and not hold quite the same leverage in negotiations.

At 28 years old, this is likely Alvarez’s best chance to cash in with a major deal. He’s still a highly regarded talent near his prime. There are other groups like the upstart World Series of Fighting that are waving around cash. And he is one of the few major fighters coming available.

While the UFC’s lightweight division is loaded with talent, Alvarez would likely immediately enter against the top 10-level. And in a strange way, any success he has there could end up as a positive for Bellator, with that promotion housing the man that not only beat him, but also finished him.

While the potential departure of a Bellator original results in a net loss to the organization’s talent level, the lightweight cupboard is hardly bare. Rebney can boast an intriguing future title match between his young champion Chandler and former judo Olympian Hawn, while his season seven lightweight tournament features eight fighters with a combined record of 141-30. Poetically, that tourney kicks off on Oct. 19, one week after Alvarez sails off into the sunset.

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Fight Prediction: Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens

Two lightweight bombers are set to go to war this weekend at UFC on FX 5. Yves Edwards was once thought to be the uncrowned lightweight champion in the UFC when the division was dissolved, but by the time it came back he was all but forgotten.  At the ripened age of 36 he has …

The post Fight Prediction: Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Zuffa, Bellator continue fight over ‘matching rights’ with challenge to drop clause

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In the wee hours of Sept. 23, in the afterglow of UFC 152, Dana White publicly berated rival promotion Bellator for what he insisted was one of the “scummiest, dirtiest things you could do in the fight business.”

What raised his ire was the discussion of a controversial clause that allows Bellator to match the contracts offered to fighters who have already been released by them. Essentially, the promotion can let someone go and let the market determine their worth, then match a presented deal and retain them. At the time of White’s comments, which were mostly centered on a newly signed UFC light heavyweight named Roger Hollett, Bellator hadn’t exercised matching rights, but had simply required the fighter to go through the process of presenting his formal offer before making a decision.

But even that, according to White, was too much.

“I have no beef with those guys,” he said. “They’re doing their own thing and I could care less. But that’s dirty. That’s dirty and it’s borderline criminal.”

When it comes to the legality of the clause, some agree that it may not pass muster if challenged in a court of law, but that’s a lengthy and expensive lawsuit that no one has yet been willing to mount. But here’s where this gets strange: in the same interview, White confirmed that the clause appears in standard Zuffa contracts, meaning that he’s railing against something that his company insists upon including in its deals.

That, according to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, smacks of hypocrisy. After all, if the clause exists in UFC and Strikeforce contracts, it exists for a reason.

“If the UFC will do away with the section of their agreement that allows them to release a fighter and then retain the right to match, we will immediately do the same,” he said in an interview with MMA Fighting.

In issuing his challenge, Rebney pointed out that his organization went through the same process with Zuffa when they signed Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, who had been cut in March.

White, who has been extensively traveling over the last week, did not respond to MMA Fighting’s attempts to reach him, but the UFC did make available its executive vice president and general counsel Lawrence Epstein, who oversees fighter contracts.

According to Epstein, there are subtle differences between what the UFC does and what Bellator does. He said that in the case of Hollett, for instance, he had been cut by Bellator, and when it was publicly announced that the UFC signed him, Bellator “asserted” their rights to match. That, he says, is very different than the Lawal situation. According to him, after Lawal signed with Bellator, Zuffa received unsolicited correspondence from his management inquiring about their interest in matching.

According to Lawal’s manager Mike Kogan, that is true. He did reach out to Zuffa to determine if they would match his Bellator offer. But only because he felt he was shortening an inevitable process.

“Their contract asks me to submit material terms of the agreement,” he told MMA Fighting. “If I would have sent them an email outlining it, that would have delayed [the deal] even longer. So, yeah, they don’t specifically say ‘bring us a contract,’ but if you’ve ever been involved in first right of refusal conversations, when you submit the terms, they always come back and say, ‘How do we know these are the material terms?’ It drags on. So to avoid that, we just sent them the contract. So in all fairness, they didn’t ask for the contract specifically. But the language specifically asks for material terms of the offer, otherwise what the f— are they matching? In language, they’re not asking for it, but they’re asking for material terms of the contract, so how else would I submit it to them without any doubt?”

Kogan said that in his experience, the practice is industry-wide, leaving no promotion room for moral high ground.

Rebney, however, doesn’t think the clause is an inherently unfair provision. In the case of Tyson Nam, which was also a recent MMA cause célèbre, Rebney said it was Bellator which presented Nam with the opportunity to fight outside the organization through matchmaker Sam Caplan. When Nam upset their bantamweight champ Eduardo Dantas in Brazil, offers to Nam came pouring in. According to Rebney, it would have been irresponsible to simply let him walk away without at least examining the offers to determine whether they should match and retain him. After all, his new value was at least partially the result of an opportunity they created for him while he was still under the terms of their deal.

“In a competitive landscape with one organization backed by FOX and another backed by Viacom where the singular most important aspect of those businesses are the fighters, if you’re willing to forego rights that you have in your contract, we’ll do the same,” he said. “But I don’t believe it’s an unethical clause. You’re not asking the athlete to take a lesser deal.”

Bellator ultimately chose not to match deals for Hollett and Nam, letting both move on to the next chapters of their respective careers.

Epstein said that during his five-plus years at Zuffa, neither the UFC nor Strikeforce has ever cut a fighter and went on to assert matching rights. Yet the clause is still included in contracts because according to him, the provisions don’t cover one specific situation and may pertain to some future possibility that is as of now, unforeseeable.

That means that Rebney’s challenge to the UFC and Zuffa about removing the clause is unlikely to be met.

“My response is this: I absolutely believe he’d make that challenge, because Bjorn, it’s been alleged in a lawsuit we filed against him, stole all of our agreements and and copied all of our agreements,” Epstein said, referring to a 2010 lawsuit that is still working its way through the courts. “It’s not really a challenge. He has tried to copy everything we do anyway. So I’m not going to respond to it. All I can say is he’s proved that he’s willing to copy — or at least try to copy — anything we do.”

But Rebney reiterates that he’s serious about his proposal, saying his company would be at a competitive disadvantage if it was the only one of the two promoters without the clause in its contracts.

While White sees the exercising of that clause as wrong but still includes it in his deals, and Rebney sees it as a necessity, fighters hoping to sign with either of the groups likely won’t have an opinion that matters much past their own two cents.

Athletes approached by Bellator, Strikeforce and the UFC will still be asked to sign a deal in which they can be let go, sign elsewhere, and then be brought back under matching rights. It’s an instance that has yet to happen, but given the right set of circumstances, it’s only a matter of time until it does.

“I don’t really pay too much attention to it,” Kogan said. “Yeah, it’s unfair, but the whole f—— thing is unfair, so what’s the point? I look at these contracts and calculate the worst-case scenario. I explain that to my athletes, and as long as they understand that going in, we’re fine.”

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