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Scott Coker on Golden Glory cuts: ‘There’s only so many TV spots until the middle of next year’

By Zach Arnold | August 4, 2011

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I thought about transcribing the audio of the two interviews Mauro Ranallo did with Martijn de Jong & Scott Coker yesterday about what happened with Zuffa cutting Golden Glory fighters, but I can largely summarize what was said in a few words. GG said that Scott told them there might be an opening for Alistair to fight in November, Scott says that he can’t get into any details but that ‘I listen to a lot of things,’ and that was that. I will say that you should go out of your way to listen to Scott talk and just how hard he was spinning. The amount of ‘uhs’ and ‘you knows’ reminded me of his interview sessions when he was promoting Strikeforce. Once he sold SF to Zuffa, all of a sudden his interview style changed quite a lit and he was a lot more direct, blunt in his commentary on various issues.

The bottom line is this. There are reports that Zuffa wanted to pay Golden Glory fighters directly as opposed to paying the camp the money. (Similar to how M-1 and others like Brazilian Top Team operated in the past.) In the Japanese & world MMA landscape, generally promoters will pay the teams and the teams handle the fighter payouts. There was the legendary story of how Fedor was aligned with RTT (Russian Top Team) and PRIDE had a contract with RTT, which allowed the creation of the Red Devil fight team and hence allowed Fedor to fight outside of the PRIDE ring for New Year’s Eve 2003 for Antonio Inoki. So, I’m not surprised at the moves that UFC made yesterday. The fight teams know that they are operating with MMA’s version of Vince McMahon, so adjust your business practices accordingly.

However, last week I wrote an article that I thought was fairly obvious in laying out a possible reason as to why things went helter skelter between Zuffa and Golden Glory.

I used the phrase ‘elephant in the room’ when describing TRT in relation to Dan Henderson after his win last Saturday over Fedor. Well, I’ll use the elephant phrase this time around for Ishii in relation to Golden Glory. Golden Glory (and Alistair Overeem, in particular) had huge plans for becoming household names in Japan. They had signed a deal with talent agency Yoshimoto and everything seemed on track. Then, Golden Glory abruptly left the K-1 scene and Alistair headed to the States. Golden Glory and Zuffa working together, naturally, seemed like oil and water from the onset. So, it’s no surprise to me that Golden Glory would be interested in getting back into the Japanese scene in a big way. After all, they would likely be the top matchmaker and talent client for Ishii should he be able to get a K-1 revival going again. Alistair being able to do MMA occasionally and kickbox most of the time is what he’s always wanted to do in his career. You can’t change a leopard’s spots and that’s always been the case with both Alistair and Golden Glory.

Zuffa is playing hardball here with Golden Glory and, when I first heard the story, I didn’t blink. They are the monopoly play right now in MMA on a large scale. The only way you do not acquiesce to their deamnds is if you are promoting your own shows or if you have a promoter to work with. The only promoter who possibly down the line could have money or make the kinds of enticing financial promises to convince Golden Glory to stay firm would be Kazuyoshi Ishii (despite Alistair’s reported financial problems with FEG). For Lorenzo Fertitta, cutting off Golden Glory was rather painless for him. He knows that most UFC fans and writers in the media will side with them and turn on the fighters & Golden Glory, so what does he have to worry about?

Finally, if it wasn’t already clear to begin with then it’s clear now that Zuffa is not interested in promoting the ladies on a full-time basis. It’s just not in the cards. At this point, I think Miesha Tate holding up a ring card would have a longer future under the Zuffa banner than her actually performing as a fighter for them. Zuffa views women’s MMA the same way Vince McMahon always viewed ‘legitimate’ women’s pro-wrestlers — with a mixture of disgust, disdain, and disinterest. As for where the landscape is headed for women’s MMA, it’s all about Europe and Asia at this point. I would suspect Europe will be the #1 destination, and that’s not a bad thing. I’d rather see the market for women’s MMA be smaller in exchange for the people involved in growing it actually give a 100% effort in making things right & making things better. UFC half-assing any sort of promotion for women’s MMA will end up being like the way the NBA promotes the WNBA — and that’s not a good comparison.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 33 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

33 Responses to “Scott Coker on Golden Glory cuts: ‘There’s only so many TV spots until the middle of next year’”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Scott Coker is useless.

    2) I find it funny that before Alistair Overeem got cut, the general consensus amongst many people were: “Well, he has a lot of options. He can box. Go back to kickboxing. He can fight MMA overseas. He really doesn’t need Zuffa to make a living.” And once he was fired: “I can’t believe they fired him. The UFC is a MONOPOLY!!” Can’t have it both way people….

    3) Zuffa could handled this in a much more Media Friendly way. They could have just given Valentijn Overeem another fight. We know he would have lost. And then they could have cut him. The same for the rest. And female fighting is going away in Zuffa anyways. They obviously wanted to send a message instead of just letting GG slowly lose out and end ties like that.

    4) Zuffa playing hardball? More like GG playing hardball. Whether you think Zuffa is a monopoly or not…. What Golden Glory did was wrong even if there was 100 competitors in the market. They used the belt and the fact that Coker didn’t have Overeem signed until the end of the tournament as a way to blackmail the UFC. They said he wasn’t available until 2012 unless Zuffa paid a crazy amount of money. What established organization that wants to be around in the future would deal with a management team like that?

    5) Outside of once every 4 year Olympics, the only female sport that really interests the general population is Women’s Tennis. And it’s because the game makes it more interesting then the muscle guys who just play a serve game. No other female sport really gets traction in America. So to expect a 2nd tier sport like MMA to get female MMA off the ground will never happen…

    6) I am almost positive that Zuffa not wanting to pay the teams has to do with their legal department saying “Absolutely Not” to it. It’s a dangerous game to play as it is a known way to avoid taxes before the teams pay the fighters. Zuffa would want no part of that.

    7) GG is really just M-1, Version 2. Only they don’t have the #1 fighter in the world, the number of money marks in the business are almost zero, and Overeem had an eye opening fight his last time out that basically took away his sense of being invincible at Heavyweight. So much that people stopped saying he should be ranked above the Top guys of the UFC.

    • The Rokk says:

      Once again Huddle is using the hours he could use working a real job to compile a mile long report about Zuffa.

      It has nothing to do with “paying teams”. Zuffa can’t do that anyway, as ABC athletic commission do not allow it. That is exactly why Marloes posted a picture of the Zuffa check that was signed to her.

      Also, you are obviously very uneducated on GG. They are an ELITE camp and have been, long before most of their American counterparts. Saki, Schilt, Zimmerman…. Need I name more. So many elite kickboxers and mixed martial artists visit there.

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    3) Zuffa could handled this in a much more Media Friendly way

    They didn’t have to. They knew that most media outlets would be on their side, so like I said in the article, why should they care?

    5) Outside of once every 4 year Olympics, the only female sport that really interests the general population is Women’s Tennis. And it’s because the game makes it more interesting then the muscle guys who just play a serve game.

    Agree on your sentiments about the women’s game, but you’re wrong on the ratings front. Women’s WC in Germany was a smashing success for ESPN as far as the US ladies were concerned. And they’ll draw well again at the Olympics.

    That, and curling at the winter olympics, which is bizarrely mesmerizing.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      US Women’s Soccer gets huge ratings when they play in the world cup or Olympics. You are right. Happened a few years ago too when Mrs. Garciapara was part of the team.

      But it’s not sustainable. They tried to start a league after that and it crumbled. If they tried it again, it would once again fail.

      I compare it to the big ratings the Men’s Hockey Team got during the Olympics. It is a one time boost that didn’t really help out the NHL….

    • Jamie Penick says:

      The World Cup point kind of goes in with the Olympics, though. Women’s soccer on a whole doesn’t draw from game to game in the U.S., but when it’s the big world-wide competition once every-so-many-years it’s going to get people tuning in.

  3. bluerosekiller says:

    I consider myself to be a fairly big fan of The ‘Reem.
    But, I’ve got to say, injuries or not, all this latest nonsense has me just shaking my head in disgust.
    With Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce & the road headed for it being absorbed into the UFC, Overeem had his path clear toward proving himself to be the very best heavyweight in the world & competing for the most prestigious belt in the sport. All while making oodles of money & raising his profile in this hemisphere x10.
    But, it would appear that rather than commit totally to MMA for the next couple of years in order to do so, he’d rather bounce between Europe & Asia collecting various minor belts in MMA & titles in kickboxing. Enjoying being the big fish in small ponds rather than proving himself by swimming with the sharks.
    Which is fine, if that’s what he’s got his heart set on doing. It’s his life. His career.
    But, I don’t want to ever hear him proclaim himself the #1 heavyweight in the world again. Because, IMO, he given up that right until he signs with the UFC.


  4. Steve4192 says:

    “As for where the landscape is headed for women’s MMA, it’s all about Europe and Asia at this point.”

    What makes you say this?

    I was unaware that there was a thriving WMMA scene in either of those locales. Am I missing something?

    I know in Japan, WMMA is in an even worse position than the male side of the sport. Not only is there very little money, but the lone promoter who is still committed to WMMA (Jewels) doesn’t take the sporting aspect of it very seriously. They are more concerned with marketing cheesecake photos of their fighters all dolled up rather than marketing the actual competitions.

    Also, I don’t think you are giving Bellator enough credit. I suspect if Strikeforce folds up shop on their women’s divisions, Bellator will take advantage and snatch up the cheap talent. IMO, that is more likely than some mythical WMMA promoter emerging from the ether in Europe/Asia.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Even if Bellator signs on with SpikeTV, they won’t have the TV time to run 7 male and 3 female divisions.

      I had to look this one up….

      Bellator has run 14 cards this year (I’m including the next show in August).

      And they have done exactly 2 female fights during this entire stretch….

      Which means they care about female MMA about 1% more then the UFC does…

      • Steve4192 says:

        As opposed to all those promoters who Europe/Asia who have shown they care?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Oh, I don’t think any place in the world is a good place for female MMA right now. I was just pointing out that Bellator would be a bust….

          Outside of a few random fights on random cards, the ladies only chance is to start their own league and try to get it on HD Net…. The pay wouldn’t be great, but it would be a start….

  5. Nepal says:

    “As for where the landscape is headed for women’s MMA, it’s all about Europe and Asia at this point.”

    I have no idea how you would think WMMA or even MMA would do well in Asia.

    Japan and Korea have MMA. Otherwise Asia has zilch…. not exactly zilch but it’s such a minute amount that it’s basically zilch.

    China is gigantic but they don’t do much Martial Arts outside of a very few locations. Even in Hong Kong, it’s not a big thing.

    Nobody in Thailand has ever heard of MMA. As much as fighting (Thai boxing) is their national sport, they know nothing about any other fighting sport. Actually Tae Kwan Do is reasonably popular, mostly for fitness.

    Singapore and HK are talking about having promotions, this is as they say in IT, vapourware. The only way they could get anything going is to pay big money for old, name-fighters. Guys that can’t cut it in Zuffa. There is no built up interest in MMA and the general populace hasn’t even heard of it or knows it as American’s may have known NHB 12+ years ago, i.e. peripherally. The only place they could do it is in the new casino’s of Singapore and Macao and it wouldn’t be the locals, only international gamblers or rich Asians that are curious about a new fighting sport.

    The only place in Asia is Japan and Korea and Zack has well documented Japan’s issues.

  6. Nepal says:

    Plus the cultural attitudes towards women and women doing things outside of tradition. In Korea, men don’t even want their wives golfing because they would be so embarrassed when their skin gets tanned browner.

  7. edub says:

    Ah, I love this site. SO many different view points that come from knowledgeable backgrounds. Just figured I’d share that.

    The main point I like (not really like, but think is entertaining), and one that Zach has been driving home for months is Zuffa doesn’t need to be media friendly with any decision that they make. They know whatever they say will be recieved well by the media no matter what it is. Nobody wants to rock the boat.

    Also, the fighters don’t speak up enough themselves (numbers wise) for a difference to truly be made as far as payouts, contracts, titles and profit sharing is concerned with Zuffa and MMA as a whole. I’m not gonna argue about the numbers anymore. It’s a lost cause.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    Fedor Emelianenko has been released by Strikeforce.

    Makes sense. He already lost 3 in a row and got stopped all 3 times. In the UFC, he would have been released under the same circumstances.

    I would say Fedor Emelianenko vs. Alistair Overeem is a logic next fight…. But I highly doubt those two camps can figure a way to make that fight happen.

    • edub says:

      I wouldn’t say it would happen in the UFC. Dan Hardy has lost three in a row, but still fighting there.

      But when you say it makes sense you are absolutely right. He’s a high priced veteran with declining skills. He’s inbetween weight classes (being too small for HW, and too slow for LHW), and has failed to adapt his game to the evolution of MMA. On top of that M1 is notoriously hard to work with, and his drawing power has obviously been crushed. Easy decision.

    • Chuck says:

      What promotion would have the fight? A zombie K-1? Some mystical promotion based out of Singapore or Macau?

      I say Fedor should join up for the next Bellator heavyweight (or light heavyweight if he can lose the weight) tournament and go from there.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Bellator can’t afford him…

        According to HH on The UG….

        “fedors team wanted 1.5 million and copromotion . zuffa countered with 500k no co promotion m1 turned it down case closed.”

        If this is the case, M-1 is still insane. $500,000 per fight is more then generous after his last 3 performances….

    • fd says:

      Bas Boon and Vadim hate each other on a personal level. I would never say never, since ultimately both guys would probably swallow almost anything if enough money is involved… but at this point I don’t think Overeem/Fedor generates the kind of money it would have to to get those guys in bed together.

  9. Kelvin Hunt says:

    LOL@ the M-1 guy ‘Evgenikogan'(twitter) suggesting that M-1 and Golden Glory may work together…

    Yea…that would definitely work *sarcasm…all they would is undermine one another and get nothing accomplished…

  10. fd says:

    “Finally, if it wasn’t already clear to begin with then it’s clear now that Zuffa is not interested in promoting the ladies on a full-time basis. It’s just not in the cards. At this point, I think Miesha Tate holding up a ring card would have a longer future under the Zuffa banner than her actually performing as a fighter for them. Zuffa views women’s MMA the same way Vince McMahon always viewed ‘legitimate’ women’s pro-wrestlers — with a mixture of disgust, disdain, and disinterest.”

    Dana has been pretty consistent in his position about female mma over the last few years – that he’s not against it, but that there aren’t enough talented female fighters to promote any particular weight division, only to do one-off fights, and that the UFC isn’t interested in doing one-off fights.

    You can argue as to whether or not he actually believes that or if he’s just using it as a “cover”, but taken at face value it’s not an unreasonable position, and it’s pretty far from “disgust” or “disdain”.

    Also, I agree with Steve4192’s point about WMMA in Asia. When the best you can do is Jewels, that is not where WMMA is going to have a future.

  11. Wonderjudas says:

    Is Scott Coker really the bumbling fool his detractors make him out to be? Can he not see coming, from miles away, that someone’s gonna go: “OK, then. Not enough spots. Why not cut the bottom rung of the ladder instead of the top?”

    That being said, with the recent releases, what’s gonna be left of Strikeforce? The guys from the Challenger Series? Did Zuffa really buy out Strikeforce for the contracts? Seems more and more that they wanted to kill it…

    Oh well. Let’s wait like giddy girls until ProElite loses its shirt trying to book Overeem against Fedor. The more I think about it, the more I believe that Zuffa shrewdly bought these two in order to release them so that ProElite would tank. That Henderson contract is proof of my theory, by the way.

  12. lulzy says:

    you can’t “grow” a sport. either people want it and its the right time, or people don’t.

    I don’t think enough people want womens MMA.

  13. 45 Huddle says:

    White & Helwani interview up at MMAFighting….

    When asked about Fedor, White rips into him…. And then said something that made me laugh…

    “Should I get him a Welterweight to fight next?”

    What a shot at Fedor…. But accurate and funny….

  14. Zack says:

    It’s amazing that articles like this are considered journalism:

    Just what we need: white boys from Canada talking about what’s gangster.

  15. Nepal says:

    Is this “we don’t pay the promoters, we pay the fighters thing” just a cover?

    Is it illegal in any way to pay the promotion and have them pay the fighters? If not, why would UFC care?

    They even said Eimemo was paid directly, he was just collateral damage. Why would UFC let him go? It’s not like UFC has enough good HW’s. His last fight was great, he’s 35, never going to be a champ but neither is Nelson, Mitrione and a bunch of other middling heaview.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      My guess is that the money is paid to the managers so they can then avoid paying taxes on it before they give it to the fighters. I’m sure they take their cut as well. When you pay the money directly to the fighters, avoiding paying taxes is much harder to do.

      Zuffa likely doesn’t want to be associated with it, even if they are technically not doing anything wrong. It’s easier to just pay the fighters directly. If any law enforcement says Zuffa knew tax evasion was going on, it’s a slippery slope.

      It’s also funny to see how dumb to MMA population is. Coehen posted that she got paid by Zuffa directly and now everybody is saying Dana White lied. Their comprehension is absurdly bad. White said they only pay fighters not managers. So what she is showing is exactly what Dana White already said. White also said GG had a problem with it, which is where the problems stem from.

      Either way, some shady stuff is going down. GG does not have a good track record. Whether people agree with Zuffa’s straight arm tactics, they have an impecable record of paying fighters on time, what they were promised or more, and doing it perfectly legally….

  16. Jesus Christ, Scott.

  17. Bad New Allen says:

    Money paid to managers spin is total bullshit. Check out what Marloes posted:

    • 45 Huddle says:

      It’s not BS….

      What guys like Scott Coker have done in the past is pay the least amount of reported dollars through the athletic commission and then paid the bulk of the money to the camp itself. This allows the camp to avoid paying taxes most likely.

      Dana White said they won’t do that. Which is why he paid her directly. And he also said GG had problems with that as they wanted the money sent to them first.

      Her providing a check actually just confirms what Dana White has said…. Which makes no difference. What does need to be confirmed is the PAST checks. Let’s see who the checks were made out to for her fight under the previous owners….. Then we will know more…

      And what Dana White is saying…. We have all seen it in the commission released payouts before. So it’s not like he is pulling this out of his behind….

      We have not seen it with the UFC…. But we have seen Japanese fighters get like $2,000 reported payout when we know it’s a lot more in Strikeforce. Or Fedor Emelianenko getting like $200,000, when we know it is closer to $1.5 Million. And this isn’t PPV bonus extra money on the side like the UFC does…. Which can’t possibly be calculated until they get the numbers…. And are also technically a BONUS. This was Strikeforce taking the fighters REGULAR pay, and going around the commissions when they paid it out.

      If Zuffa knows it’s being used for tax evasion or even thinks it is…. It’s one legal slippery slope that I’m sure their lawyers want no part of.

  18. Light23 says:

    It’s going to be sweet in five years when MMA is much bigger. There’ll be so many new fans who have never heard of Fedor, so his diehard fans will make up about 0.0001% of the fight population.

    We’ll never have to hear his name again. <3

    If people were pissed at Floyd Mayweather for not fighting Pacquaio, can you imagine what would happen if he fought a random 1-0 freak instead (HMC)?

  19. […] Scott Coker Plays Off Golden Glory Cuts as Being Related to Spots on TV ( […]

  20. rembrandt says:

    Cocker is full of shit

    Cocker made a three fight deal with Alistair and that contract ended before Alistair would fight the finals in the strikeforece tournament ( the contract was made before the tournament by GG).

    It is the UFC who blackmailed GG, from what I heard is that Alistair should stay with strikeforce and they wanted to extend his contract before the contract ended ( as there was a chance Alistair would win against Big Foot and be contract free for the finals).

    UFC took over stikeforce and wanted GG to accept an offer only to fight in Strikeforce. GG camp said this is bullshit why would we do this as the real business is in the UFC, now you guys take over and we are forced to only fight for strikeforce?

    The UFC wanted to avoid another Nick Diaz situation ( strikeforce champ going to the UFC) and they would get problems to extend their tv contract with Showtime.

    Cocker is full of shit on GG asking for tons of extra money. GG indicated they could not fight any time sooner as Alistair had an injury, from what I heard GG negotiated a multiple fight contract. Cocker did not believe the injury ( broken rib an toe which later was proven by photo’s and a doctor) and then came up with the bullshit Gg tried to get more money. Truth is why would GG fight sooner with an injury the most important fight of Alistair career? Because Cocker could not get another tv date, yeah right.

    Truth is their is a rumor that Golden glory send a letter to the its showtime tv boss explaining that Alistair had an injury but that cocker and the UFc wanted him to fight anyway, then all the cuts were made by Zuffa as they were pissed about this letter.

    Its obvious Cocker sold his soul to the UFC while all of his staff did not know nothing and got fired. Hate or love GG they always had the best fighters and best team and made the best contracts and now with their upcoming show in Sweden they prove they are for real, something Cocker finally could not achieve by selling his soul to the…………..

    The UFC is known for trying to get the management out, recent story by Shogun and also Heath Herring was mentioned among others, Zuffa telling them they do not need managers, gosh I wonder why? I bet you this is what the legal dispute is now between GG, Alistair and the UFC, something happened and I am 100% sure its the UFC with Alistair changing something on the date of signing the contracts without knowledge of Golden Glory!


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