(Nobody puts "Big Daddy" in a corner)
When news first broke that UFC veteran Gary Goodridge stood up former The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 contestant Tom Murphy for their MFL fight this weekend in Montreal, rumors started circulating about why "Big Daddy" walked out of the arena minutes before the main event bout.
CagePotato.com spoke with Goodridge last night and the MMA veteran explained why he went AWOL Saturday night.
According to 44-year-old Barie, Ontario, Canada resident, the event’s promoter, Dirk Waardenburg promised to pay him double what the commission was to be told he made for the fight, with 50 percent to be paid in cash prior to the bout and the remainder to be paid via check after the event.
When Waardenburg continued to make excuses all night why he couldn’t pay yet, Goodridge says he confronted the promoter about their agreed upon financial terms that were not met and he was told that because of poor attendance, he would only get 20 percent and could take it or leave it.
"All night I kept asking [Waardenburg] where my money was and he kept saying he couldn’t pay me because there were too many people around. I was like, ‘Why can’t we go into a bathroom or something?’ you know? Finally, I’d had enough and I talked to him just before they were about to announce the fight and I told him I wasn’t going out there unless he paid me," Goodridge recalls. "He gave me 20 percent of what he promised me and he told me he couldn’t afford to pay me the rest. I handed it back to him and I told him I wasn’t going to fight unless they came up with all of it. "
Never one to be pushed around, Goodridge didn’t want a repeat of the non-payment issue he had with K-1 this year for his New Year’s Eve fight with Gegard Mousasi and he says he had a bad feeling about what would have happened if he fought without his money in his hand.
"After what happened to me in Japan, I didn’t want to risk it. Even if it were a sure win, it’s about the principle of it. I wasn’t going to go out there with a smile on my face and pretend everything was great and get punched in the head and fight my heart out for them when they treated me the way they did, and end up looking like an idiot," he says. "Because it wasn’t on record, there would have been nothing I could do to prove what he owed me. I’d have no recourse. I feel bad for leaving Tom hanging like that, but I wasn’t going to be taken advantage of. He thought because the commission had already checked me and my gloves were on, that he had me and I was stuck fighting without having to pay me what was owed to me. He thought he had me backed into a corner and I wasn’t going to be backed into a corner."
Waardenburg told TopMMANews.com that he was unsure why Goodridge didn’t fight, but insinuated it was stress related.
Goodridge trained for nine weeks for the bout and even cut weight for the first time in his career to fight at a heavyweight "catchweight" of 220 pounds — another situation he says just didn’t seem right from the start.
"When I signed the contract, I was told it was a heavyweight bout, which was fine since I was around 253 [pounds] at the time and I wouldn’t have to cut any weight. Then they call me and they tell me I have to get down to 215 and I was like, "Why do I have to cut if it’s a heavyweight bout and I’m within the limit?" They told me it’s going to be a catchweight bout so I have to get down to 215, but I was stuck at 240 so they made it for 220. I worked my ass off to cut the weight, training and dieting," Goodridge explains. "I’ve never had to diet in my life, but I did it because I needed the money. I knew if I could get down to 217, I would be okay no matter what scale they used. Knowing what I went through to make weight and how hard I prepared for the fight, it made for a tough decision, but I think I did the right thing. I fucking spent nine weeks training for this fight and I’m sure my opponent trained just as hard. I left my family and my kids to do this. That 20 percent would have helped me a lot and I probably shouldn’t have given it back since it wasn’t on the books, but I’m honest."
Now Goodridge, faces the reality that the money he should have earned for the fight isn’t there and the back bills that the cash was earmarked for won’t get paid, which makes his MFL experience even more of a bitter pill to swallow.
"I’m broke. I’m just looking for a job. I’ll do security or work in a factory — anything. I need to get a good job, so wherever I can find one, I’ll take it," Goodridge says. "That money would have paid my bills, man. My cell phone is getting cut off and I can’t even afford to pay my mortgage."