On the heels of Alistair Overeem’s stunning Strikeforce release comes news that three of his Golden Glory teammates — Marloes Coenen, Valentijn Overeem and Jon Olav Einemo — have been cut by Zuffa as well.
Golden Glory manager Martijn de Jong tweeted the news earlier today.
De Jong didn’t reveal why they were cut, but it seems to be more than just a coincidence. V. Overeem and Einemo were each coming off their first losses in Strikeforce and the UFC while Coenen was Strikeforce’s 135lbs. women’s champ this time last week before losing her title to Miesha Tate over the weekend. It’s not unheard of for Zuffa to cut a fighter after one loss, but I can’t think of one instance where they immediately released one of their champions who just lost their title without some sort of drama going on behind the scenes. It’s also odd that they would release Einemo now when he lost nearly two months ago. Clearly, this is more about Golden Glory than the individual fighters.
Sergei Kharitnov, who appeared alongside Alistair Overeem on that United Glory poster, is the only Golden Glory fighter left on a Zuffa roster. He has an upcoming fight against Josh Barnett in the semi-finals of the HWGP next month. I can’t say for sure, but this news suggests Kharitonov may be fighting for more than a shot in the GP finals. He may be fighting for his job as well.
Image via James Law for MMA Fighting
Update: MMA Junkie was able to track down Martijn de Jong to get his comments on the cuts. In short, he’s very disappointed and doesn’t know why Zuffa is removing Golden Glory fighters from their rosters.
“This is a big blow for us. I feel it’s kind of unfair to the fighters. They train hard. They put on exciting performances.”
“You tell me (if it’s fallout from Alistair Overeem’s release). I have no idea, but it doesn’t look good. Of course, for us, it’s really bad. I’m very disappointed. What can I say?”
“The only thing I can say is I feel disappointed for the fighters, and now we have to go back and see what we’re going to do (and) where we’re going to go. For me, I hope the management can still work something out with Zuffa. I think Alistair needs to fight the best fighters in the world, and I think right now there’s only two people ranked above him: Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. Alistair only wants to be the best. It’s a pity.”
“For me, it doesn’t make sense. I was just thinking, ‘Is this the future of MMA?'”
I think the future of MMA is pretty clear at this point. Play by Zuffa’s rules or don’t play at all.
Update: Another possibility for the cuts via Loretta Hunt: