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Did Jay Hieron get screwed over again?

By Zach Arnold | August 16, 2009

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In this post-fight interview, Jay Hieron addressed the situation as to why his fight with Jesse Taylor was demoted from the main card to a “no TV match.” While Hieron says that his agent (Ken Pavia) knows more than him as to the reason why it happened, Hieron said in the interview that Strikeforce hasn’t been 100% on the level with him so far business-wise. By removing Hieron’s match from the Showtime broadcast portion of the Strikeforce event, Hieron said that his sponsors took away money from him because his fight was demoted.

If what Hieron said is true, this is an absolute slap in the face. The fights on the Showtime broadcast went quickly and there was plenty of room for his fight to air on the channel. Forget the fact that his fight with Taylor was ‘terrible’ or ‘boring’ — the fact is that the fight was originally discussed as being on the main card and then it got moved, costing Hieron exposure and money. After everything that Hieron has been through (from Affliction being canceled to getting booked against Diaz only for that fight to be canceled to getting booked at the last-minute against Jesse Taylor), the least that the promotion could have done is kept his fight on the television broadcast.

Hieron has taken a beating financially and it’s hard to not feel sorry for the guy. There isn’t much charity in the fight business, but Hieron deserves some this time around.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 37 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

37 Responses to “Did Jay Hieron get screwed over again?”

  1. Phil says:

    Don’t forget that this same thing happened to him with his last fight for Affliction.

    yes, they aired the fight on Inside MMA later that week, but I doubt his sponsors were happy about that, or that he got the same amount of money.

    It’d be nice for this guy to sign for a fight and actually have it go off without a hitch.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    He must be regretting signing the EA MMA Game contract right about now. He would be in the UFC if he didn’t sign that contract.

    I’m not 100% positive, but I thought I remembered hearing that Hieron was also made because he was promised a title shot on his first Strikeforce fight, and that was one of the reasons he even signed with them in the first place.

    Coker doesn’t have his act together.

  3. Dave2 says:

    It’s not professional for the UFC to blackball Hieron just because he signed the EA contract. This is a sport. Not WWE. Treat it like a legit sport Zuffa.

  4. Robert Joyner says:

    it gets even better….

    “Then again, minutes after his victory, Hieron had to correct Strikeforce officials who had written the wrong amount on his paycheck.”

    i’ll echo Dave2’s sentiments, the EA policy is small-minded and regressive for fighters trying to get paid…

  5. Dave2 says:

    Wow Jay Hieron keeps getting screwed over. And it’s not that Strikeforce are deliberately jerks to Hieron. They are just a very poorly managed train wreck now. Scott Coker handled his American K-1 (FEG is a huge company but K-1’s shows in America were pretty small-time events compared to what they did in Japan), kickboxing and regional Strikeforce MMA stints very well but it’s like he has no idea how to run a national organization.

  6. SD Jones says:

    Only in the Fight Opinion comment section can Jay Hieron getting screwed by strikeforce and showtime, on the heels of getting screwed by affliction, get portrayed as Zuffa’s fault.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    A company has a legal right to not do business with somebody due to their affiliations or other forms of income. Once again, that is not blackballing or blackmail.

  8. Dave2 says:

    They do have that legal right. But it also makes the UFC look so WWE. This is supposed to be a real sport. Treat it like a real sport. Barry Bonds didn’t get banned from the MLB for not agreeing to be in a baseball video game (though he should be banned for steroids. But that’s another issue)

  9. MMAvalor says:

    I was pissed that we didn’t get to see Hieron vs. Taylor. There was plenty of time on the card to keep it on the main card. It was also a much better fight then the Werdum vs. Kyle fight.

    If Diaz can get his act together maybe we’ll see Hieron vs. Diaz for the belt towards the end of the year.

  10. Alan Conceicao says:

    Sucks for Hieron, but at least he got to fight and make money. Two weeks ago that wasn’t such a certain outcome.

  11. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    The better baseball example are the replacement players who came in to the league in 1994. They’re all still able to play, but they get ZERO from the union licensing agreements, and they are never going to be eligible to join it.

    The classic example here for a while was Kevin Millar. You buy an MLB licensed videogame from the early 2000s and he’s not in it. There’s a player there, and it has his stats, but not his name or face.

  12. Fightlinker says:

    Strikeforce needs to give it’s heavyweights air time to set them up for their pointless fights against Fedor. Sucks for Heiron, but some things happen for business reasons and aren’t ‘screw overs’.

  13. Mr.Roadblock says:

    It’s definitely a screw over. Jay has gotten bad advice for awhile now. He should have tried to get out of the EA deal if possible and go to UFC.

    I used to be involved with doing fighter sponsorships. The difference between a fight being on TV and not on TV can be 3x’s the money. For example a typical shorts deal will look something like if a fight is televised you get $5,000 for the shorts plus $2,500 if you win. If it’s off TV you get a flat $2,500. On a Showtime fight that’s a realistic shorts deal.

    The other problem is sometimes sponsors simply won’t pay if the fight doesn’t air on TV. Despite signing contracts there’s really no recourse to get the money back because no fighter is going to come out of pocket for a lawyer to track down money that won’t be had for another 18 months or so then the lawyer gets a third of it.

    Strikeforce acquired Jay’s services in the days after Affliction shut down with the promise of a 4 fight deal starting with the Diaz fight on TV. Jay had a featured fight on the Affliction PPV. His sponsors were made from that fight and he transfered them over to the Showtime fight. Then Diaz dropped out and Showtime put him on the undercard. Jay got screwed brutally. He lost thousands of dollars.

    If I were advising Jay, I’d get him out of Strikeforce and try to get him back in UFC. Say what you will about Dana, he pays guys on time. Everyone fights when promised and the exciting guys get promoted.

  14. 45 Huddle says:

    Some of the UFC undercard fighters are more well known then the main card Strikeforce guys. Plus, with a Strikeforce undercard fight, it likely will never be shown.

    With the UFC, there is DVD, Unleashed (if it is exciting), and UFC On Demand. It might not get as many eyeballs as the main card, but still not as bad as a SF undercard fight.

    I do feel bad for Hieron. He needs to be compensated by Strikeforce for any financial losses. Not to mention the non-monitary exposure that he can never get back.

    For anybody who praises Strikeforce’s business model…. The examples of how it goes bad are starting to mount.

    Showtime has decision power in what goes on the main card and what is being promoted. Strikeforce needs to negotiate with them.

    M-1 has decision power likely in who Fedor fights. That is why we STILL don’t have an opponent for him. Strikeforce needs to negotiate with them.

    Dictatorships are not good for government. Sometimes they do wonders for sports. Too many decision makers just makes things work poorly.

  15. jr says:

    Coker’s in over his head like Heyman’s ECW. Jay deserves better

  16. Ivan Trembow says:

    “It’s not professional for the UFC to blackball Hieron just because he signed the EA contract. This is a sport. Not WWE. Treat it like a legit sport Zuffa.”

    Agreed completely. At the same time, it sucks that Hieron’s fight was moved to the prelims. They should have included his fight on the main card, along with the other four fights, even if that meant running late on time. Like a Spike TV broadcast, the network is not going to go off the air exactly when the timeslot runs out if the event isn’t over.

  17. Ivan Trembow says:

    Since 45 Huddle brought up EA’s MMA game, I thought this would be the appropriate thread in which to ask this question: OMG, did Peter Moore say at yesterday’s press conference, “Dana White doesn’t own the sport of MMA”? OMG! Someone put out a warrant for that man’s arrest immediately!

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    Coming from a guy who doesn’t even understand the concept of blackballing.

    Technically Moore is right. Nobody owns the sport of baseball either. Or the sport of Football. But certain organizations definitely have a huge amount of market share.

  19. Adam Smith says:

    Yet another article spammed with 45 Puddle’s Zuffa pablum…

  20. Alex Sean says:

    That’s not really fair to Strikeforce. It wasn’t Scott Coker who went out of business, it was IFL. It wasn’t Scott Coker who cancelled their show days before it was to take place, it was Affliction. Strikeforce has a promotional direction just as any company does. They’re building to Melendez vs. Thompson and Werdum vs. Emelianenko/Overeem as big, possibly headlining fights for their upcoming cards. They’re not psychics, they didn’t know that these fights would run early. You had three fights possibly running 25 minutes, factor in the pre and post-fight stuff and that 25 ends up at around 35-40 minutes per fight. Then add another 20 for Werdum/Kyle, another 20/25 for other things, and you’ve now got a show that’s nearing three hours in length. To hold Strikeforce responsible because they did not peer into the future with a crystal ball and say “Oh we’ll have time for Hieron and Taylor” is, honestly, f*cking ridiculous.

  21. Dave says:

    It is kind of ridiculous to point the finger at Coker for putting a not-so-interesting fight on the undercard.

    Strikeforce is a promotion that is known for having interesting main events and awful overall cards, and instead they put on their second “national” card and it was easily one of their most entertaining cards.

    It was a business decision to put Heiron on the undercard. They had 3 title fights booked for the main card, which on live TV could mean anywhere from 35 – 45 minutes per fight if they go long. That and the heavyweight fight could be a future opponent for Fedor (probably not, knowing his management), so yeah, they have to feature the heavyweights on their show as well.

    If you want to think about it, Nick Diaz vs. Jay Hieron will probably happen in the future, and Jay Hieron isn’t really needed to sell the Diaz fight. Nick Diaz sells his own fights, through his reputation, his fights and the trouble he gets into.

    It would have been nice for him to get TV time, but he got a fight, he got paid and will most likely get a TV appearance in the future. I don’t get what the big deal is, UFC sometimes has to push fights to the undercard and people don’t get all 45 Huddle about it.

  22. 45 Huddle says:


    You aren’t making much sense. At one time, they had 4 title fights scheduled for the main card. That is probably only 15 minutes more of potential airtime then 3 title fights and 2 non-title fights.

    Also, Strikeforce is doing really bad at building up title challengers. Cyborg’s next opponent hasn’t been on Showtime. Neither will Diaz’s. It’s short sighted to think that Strikeforce can continue to put on title fights with complete unknowns.

    The UFC model doesn’t work for them, but the WEC model does. They will soon have 6 title belts (5 men & 1 women). They need to get into a routine where each major Showtime card has two title fights, two #1 contender fighters (for the same titles being defended), and then 1 good fight for the fans. The Challenger Series can be used to give a fighter 1 or 2 fights exposure before they make it to the #1 contender fight.

    Without this model, they will always be hurting to find opponents people want to see. Babalu/Mousasi was a great fight on papar, but nobody knows who Mousasi is. And they have no challenger for him either who has been shown on TV.

    It’s one big mess….

  23. Detective Roadblock says:

    Here is what you guys don’t get and I have an ‘insiders opinion’ on this, fighters know if they are going to be on TV or not when they sign contracts. Jay lost money because he wasn’t on air.

  24. Dave2 says:

    The Hieron situation is unfortunate but it’s true that Coker can’t exactly tell the future. When he signed Hieron and (I’m assuming) told him that he’d be a main card fighter, Fedor wasn’t on the roster. Now that Fedor is on the roster, they had to move Werdum (potential challenger) up to the main card. As for not showing Hieron-Taylor after the main event, you have to remember that Strikeforce doesn’t have control over the production. Showtime does and I seriously doubt Showtime boxing has ever aired prelims. Showtime would also rather cut the broadcast short (which they did. Show lasted for less than 2 hours (!) even though previous Showtime MMA shows were longer than that) to show some other Showtime programming that will draw better ratings than Hieron-Taylor.

    I think Hieron should have considered Zuffa’s offer. One exciting knock out during the prelims and he’d easily be rewarded with a main card fight on Spike or PPV. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to sign Zuffa’s contract with all those crazy clauses but Hieron is not exactly financially set for life like Fedor is. Fedor can keep doing what he is doing and live comfortably in Russia for the rest of his life without selling his soul to Zuffa. There isn’t a lot of financial security at Strikeforce for Hieron though.

  25. Jonathan says:

    If Jay Hieron is tired of getting screwed over, he needs to put himself in a position where that would not happen. If he wants to be in the UFC, he probably should not have been in the EA video game….I mean, it does not take a genius to figure out that if there is a UFC video game out there, joining up with a game that is going to be its direct (and only) competitor would be a bad idea.

    I think Jay Hieron is probably as much to blame for his position as are the “circumstances.”

  26. Fluyid says:

    “…fighters know if they are going to be on TV or not when they sign contracts…”

    LOL, bullshit.

    If my scanner still worked, I’d post four different Zuffa contracts that span three years.

  27. Dave says:

    Thanks for that insider information that everybody already knew, Roadblock.

    Let us not forget they are independent contractors and the nature of the business dictates that the company can modify those contracts almost at will depending on the situation.

  28. Detective Roadblock says:

    Joe Silva tells guys when he books them if they’re going to be on TV, Fluyid. The first two fights can fluctuate. But guys know when they line up sponsors where they will be. Jay is in a bad spot listening to Randy and Ken Pavia. Both guys have a track record of screwing fighters to get what is in their best interest.

  29. Henry says:

    ” If he wants to be in the UFC, he probably should not have been in the EA video game….I mean, it does not take a genius to figure out that if there is a UFC video game out there, joining up with a game that is going to be its direct (and only) competitor would be a bad idea.”

    Not to mention, the EA deal is said to be worth between $5,000 to $15,000. I’m not sure if those are the right numbers, but I wonder if EA made it worth while to sign the deal knowing it puts fighters in a situation where they may not fight in the UFC for quite sometime.

  30. Dave says:

    45, I think it makes perfect sense, actually. If Diaz/Hieron went on as scheduled, the Werdum fight wouldn’t of aired.

    Now that I think about it, it is rather convenient that Diaz/Hieron didn’t happen, as scheduling a night around 4 title fights is pretty damned difficult.

    I still think it is hilarious that this shit is what is being discussed and not a good show. I mean, I know this is typical, but c’mon.

  31. Ivan Trembow says:

    Sherdog is reporting that Ricco Rodriguez is not going to be Fedor’s first opponent in Strikeforce. Whew! I don’t know how that rumor got started, but I’m glad it’s not true, because that would have been ridiculous.

    Fedor’s first fight in Strikeforce should be against Alistair Overeem, but if it’s not (due to Overeem’s hand and/or proverbial carrots being dangled in front of his face), then it should be against Brett Rogers or Fabricio Werdum.

  32. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Yeah, it would be outrageous for M-1 to have Fedor fight the man Strikeforce puts in front of him. That’s not what co-promotion’s all about.

  33. Alan Conceicao says:

    I am confused as to what you are complaining about, Jeremy. Are you complaining that Fedor’s camp probably veto’ed Rodriguez?

  34. Dave says:

    Ivan — Overeem can’t claim hand injury when he has a scheduled kickboxing match in the Netherlands in October, can he? I mean, sure he can, but if he does it’ll be incredibly transparent.

  35. Ivan Trembow says:

    That’s why I also included the line “and/or proverbial carrots being dangled in front of his face.” The person using the “mmalogic” alias on Bloody Elbow said a couple of weeks ago that Zuffa has been making it known to fighters who are under contract with Strikeforce that if they finish out their Strikeforce contracts without losing (ie, without fighting Fedor), then they’ll have a big-money offer waiting for them in the UFC.

    According to the person using the “mmalogic” alias, this was designed to sabotage Strikeforce’s matchmaking and to ensure that all of Strikeforce’s heavyweights demand more money (from Strikeforce), because those fighters are risking their under-the-table UFC deals if they take a fight and lose in Strikeforce.

    If there’s anyone who thinks that the UFC would not engage in contract tampering while someone is still under contract to another MMA promotion, consider the fact that Dana White publicly said he was going after Vitor Belfort in a pre-taped segment on national television during the TUF finale in June (a statement that there’s no way he would have made unless he had already reached at least a tentative agreement with Belfort), then White said a few days later on Steve Cofield’s radio show that he had no memory of ever saying such a thing, and that Vitor Belfort is under contract to another MMA promotion (at which point Cofield wisely moved on without asking any follow-up questions).

  36. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I don’t know what they did or didn’t veto, I’m not in the room or on the call. However, it definitely makes it harder to book fights when you’re copromoting. It’s hard enough arranging fights in UFC or strikeforce that don’t involve M-1.

  37. Phil says:

    Actually, if you are producing/putting on a live TV sports event, you DO need to have a crystal ball/be able to predict the future, that’s part of the game.

    If Jay was told his fight was going to be on TV, which it looks like happened, it should have been on TV. Especially with the way the card ran out.

    There’s nothing wrong with them starting the fight early if they get scared of the card going over at the last second. But, after the first 3 fights that were scheduled for a total of 11 rounds end with less than 5 rounds of action, put the fight on taped.

    You told the fighters it would be on TV, you told the fans it would be on TV. The fighters told their sponsors it would be on TV. Having the show go longer can’t really hurt, and no one is really going to turn away if the fight is that boring because most were watching to see Gina.


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