We’ve been hearing a lot lately about this cease-and-desist letter the UFC supposedly sent Strikeforce in reference to Gegard Mousasi. The alleged claim behind the letter was that M-1 Global, Mousasi’s management, had misled Gegard about the value of the offer the UFC made to him in order to help persuade Mousasi to sign with Strikeforce.
This is a pretty confusing story, but I’ll do my best here to lay it out for you.
To start, Scott Coker recently told Sherdog that Gegard Mousasi had signed with Strikeforce months ago, plus with Mousasi still scheduled to participate in the second round of DREAM’s Super Hulk Tournament he must have some sort of agreement with them which leads me to my first question. Why would the UFC make Mousasi any kind of offer if he’s contractually tied to not only one, but two organizations? Everyone knows the UFC only signs fighters to exclusive contracts, and if they’re not willing to break that policy for Fedor, they’re sure as hell wouldn’t be willing to do it for Gegard. Plus, Dana confirmed at yesterday’s press conference that they’d be interested if he wasn’t contracted elsewhere.
Moving on, Carmichael Dave was able to secure an interview with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and questioned him about whether M-1’s management had lied to Mousasi about the UFC’s alleged offer. Silva’s response:
“Gegard called me about a week ago. He asked if it was true that the UFC offered 40/40 (40k to show, 40k bonus to win), Silva said. “I told him no, because we never actually made an offer.
“When Affliction folded, we obviously looked at a lot of their talent available. Mousasi was interesting, but he had also just signed a deal to appear in the EA Sports video game,” Silva stated. “We had gotten word from above to stay away from anyone involved in the EA game process.”
“Not only did we not make an offer, but we would’ve assumed his Affliction contract and its terms. So whatever Affliction was paying him, that’s what we would’ve honored, and it was considerably more than 40/40,” Silva continued.
Several sources say Mousasi was in the neighborhood of $125,000 per fight plus a smaller bonus tied in as well.
“So not only did we not offer 40/40, but HAD we made an offer it would’ve been more than that, and that’s what I explained to Gegard.”
To sum it up, we have Mousasi asking Joe Silva about a specific dollar amount on a phantom UFC offer when in fact, according to Silva, the financial terms would have not only been different but substantially higher if they were going to make him an offer, which they weren’t. So, the question is, how would Mousasi know to ask about a specific dollar amount if there was never one to begin with? Well, here’s the explanation Silva says Apy Echteld, Mousasi’s manager, told him.
“Apy called me about a week later, wanting to clarify things. He said that there was some miscommunication between his fighter and management. The tone of the call was very polite…Apy told me that he had a UFC source tell him that we were going to offer 40/40, and it was relayed to Mousasi. I asked Apy who the source was, and he declined to tell me. I explained that we never offered any sort of deal, and things sort of ended there.”
So according to a “UFC source” who Echteld refused to name to a high-ranking UFC employee, the UFC was going to offer Mousasi a significantly smaller deal than they actually would have? That’s a tough one to buy. Echteld was asked about this at yesterday’s press conference, but gave vague remarks when you could actually hear him between all the static on the phone lines. In other words, he didn’t clear any of this mess up.
What we’re left with is another he said/she said situation in the middle of all this conflict that has emerged between Strikeforce/M-1 and the UFC. I’m hesitant to believe anything anybody says anymore, but in this case, it’s certainly looking like M-1 and Echteld lied to their client in order to sway him to sign with the organization that suited M-1’s interests best, not their clients. If that’s what happened, then wow, that is seriously messed up and I feel bad for Gegard. These are the guys you’re supposed to trust your livelihood to and come to find out they’re only looking out for themselves? It really makes you wonder what they’re telling Fedor. He claims he’s in full control of his career, and maybe we should take his word for it, but I still can’t help but wonder. And what if you’re Scott Coker. Aren’t you wondering about who you just got in bed with?
One last thing, there’s still a couple pieces of this story I don’t understand. If Mousasi signed a deal with Strikeforce months ago like Coker claims, why is all this talk centered around him signing in the past week or so? Also, since he still at least had commitments to DREAM, why would M-1 even be worried about him signing with the UFC? They had to know the UFC wasn’t a possibility for Gegard at this point, so why lie to him about it? Strikeforce was his only option besides fighting exclusively in Japan at that point anyways.