Boy, what an impact one punch can make. Junior dos Santos’ fist not only sent heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum to the mat, but it also sent him packing from the UFC. Yep, despite impressive victories over Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera, which were supposed to give him a title shot until Randy Couture re-signed and Brock Lesnar proved he could fight, Werdum can no longer call the UFC home.
Sources tell MMAWeekly.com that Werdum’s exit comes on the heels of a failed contract renegotiation following the loss to dos Santos. The Brazilian came into the fight with the expectation that he would soon be contending for a heavyweight title shot.
The knockout at UFC 90 derailed anything of the like in the near future, and spurred a renegotiation of his contract. Werdum and the UFC were apparently unable to come to an agreement. He has already opened talks with other promotions in the U.S. and Japan.
And hence the problem with the UFC having a stranglehold on the MMA industry. Zach Arnold summed it up pretty well.
I do find it interesting that UFC has the contractual rights to not only be able to cut a fighter after they lose but to also ask a fighter to take a paycut or get released. In other sports (like professional football), there are buyouts and cuts but generally a negative impact towards a ’salary cap.’ In the world of UFC, management has the best of all worlds — they have complete and total control.
While it sometimes feel like mixed martial arts is established, the fact of the matter is that’s still evolving. Hopefully, someday, someone competent will come along with the right strategy and build an organization that can provide legitimate competition to the UFC or a fighters union will be formed. If neither of those ever come to fruition, there’s always hope that once the mainstream media starts to cover mixed martial arts like a mainstream sport, they too will criticize the UFC for their business practices and exert enough pressure in the court of public opinion to make a positive impact on how the fighters are treated.
Somehow, someway, the fighters need to gain enough leverage to where they aren’t one punch away from taking a pay cut or losing their job.
[UPDATE 11/10/08 8:57PM ET] – Surprise surprise, Fabricio Werdum didn’t even know he got the pink slip.
“I’m surprised with this news. My sister is my manager and shes the one that deal with the UFC and she always contact me first before every decision is made and from what I know UFC didn’t contacted her. I still have 4 more fights left on my contract until 2010. From what they told me I should fight in February, July, November and April of 2010. In fact, I’m moving to the USA because I’ll prepare for those fights in the UFC with Rafael Cordeiro.” said Werdum that is finishing all the details to move to USA in December
How is it that we hear the “fighter heard it after everyone else did” story all so often?