The Bellator Fighting Championships returns this Friday night for their seventh season, but the talk around the organization has been about a clause in their fighters contract that allows them to match a contract offer the fighter receives.
This clause came up recently when bantamweight fighter Tyson Nam defeated Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas at a Shooto event in Brazil.
Rebney told TheMMAReport.com recently that this is a standard clause in contracts with MMA fighters.
“This is a very standard clause in our agreement, in UFC agreement and in every promotional agreement you find with a big organization,” he said. “It’s called a right to match and it’s in every single agreement we have from the first day we started business. It’s in every single agreement that the UFC has since they started business. It’s a simple contract clause that allows the promoter when he signs a long term deal with a fighter to match an offer that fighter might get from a third party promoter after the agreement with the first promoter is over.”
Following the conclusion of UFC 152, UFC President Dana White talked to the media and was asked bout the situation involving the Bellator contract situation. White typically does not talk about Bellator, but said this situation is one of the dirtiest things that can be done in this business.
“I don’t talk much about Bellator, but what they do is one of the dirtiest things you can do in the business,” White said. “It’s dirty, it’s grimy, and it’s just despicable. I have the right to match, but once I cut a guy and let him go and somebody else tries to sign him, I don’t come back and say, you’re breaking the contract. I have matching rights.”
The UFC had to deal with this Bellator contract clause with light heavyweight fighter Roger Hollett. Hollett was originally scheduled to meet Matt Hamill, but was pulled from the fight at one time because of the issues with Bellator. After Vladmir Matyushenko was pulled from the fight, the UFC brought back Hollett.
Hollett only had one fight in Bellator, but did not currently have a Bellator contract. Because of his previous Bellator contract, Bellator had the right to match any contract offer that he got.
White was asked about the possibility of bringing Nam to the UFC, but did not say if the UFC is interested in bringing in Nam. However, he did talk about how Bellator has the right to match a contract that a former fighter receives, even if he is released by the company.
“When you made the decision to cut him, you cut him. That’s one of the dirtiest things you can do in the fight business, (Nam) is not going to make or break the UFC. But the problem is, the dirty scumbag moves that these guys are pulling hurts the fighter. It’s one of the dirtiest, low-down despicable things you can do in the fight business. I have no beef with those guys. They’re doing their own thing, and I could care less. But that’s dirty. It’s borderline criminal.”