It looks like the Zuffa-Golden Glory story isn’t completely over yet.
Dana White spent a good part of his day telling reporters that the Golden Glory fighters were released because their management refused to do business the same way they do. More specifically, Golden Glory insists that Zuffa pays them instead of paying the fighters directly. Then in an interview with Ariel Helwani, Dana White explained that the fighter’s purses are paid to the commission before the event and the commission writes the checks directly to the fighter after the event.
Case closed, right? Well, not quite. Shortly thereafter, Marloes Coenen took to Twitter and not only did she say that wasn’t true, she also provided proof in the form of her check (seen above) which is clearly made out to her from Forza LLC, the company Zuffa set up to purchase Strikeforce.
That of course raised a red flag, so MMA Junkie contacted Dana White to see what the deal was.
“The Golden Glory guys told us, ‘You’re going to pay us.'” White on Thursday night told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “We said, ‘No, we’re not. We’re paying the fighters directly. We’re not going to do that.”
“Even when we did the deal with Einemo (for a fight at UFC 131), we told them, ‘We’re paying the fighters,'” White told MMAjunkie.com. “Even though they agreed to the deal, they later came out and were flipping out during the event wanting to change the deal.'”
It’s a bit confusing, but the way I understand it Zuffa (or Forza) was paying the fighters directly against Golden Glory wishes and since Golden Glory continued to make a big deal out of it, they decided to cut them all loose. As for the commission thing, not all commissions, including the Illinois commission that oversaw Strikeforce “Fedor vs. Henderson”, require promoters to place the purses in an escrow account, and since Dana White isn’t involved in Strikeforce’s day-to-day operations, it’s possible that he wasn’t aware how payments were being disbursed for that particular event.
The story’s still not over though. MMA Junkie, along with ESPN’s Josh Gross, is hearing that the Golden Glory fighters actually want their checks to go to their management first for tax purposes.
Further sources familiar with the negotiations suggested Golden Glory fighters are often willing to simply sign over their checks to Golden Glory, regardless to whom they are issued. MMAjunkie.com was unable to confirm those requests on-record, but veteran MMA reporter Josh Gross seemed to suggest the relationship with her management is one of complete trust.
“Marloes Coenen just told me she wants Golden Glory to handle payments because of tax purposes,” Gross stated on Twitter. “She’s paid direct and knows what she makes.”
So if this all about taxes and the fighters are willing to simply sign their checks right over to Golden Glory, then why is Golden Glory making such a big deal out of this? Why not handle it that way so everybody gets what they want?