("Read it? No, I *signed* it. We’re dealing with fight promoters here, I assumed they were on the level." Props: MMAConvert.com)
Well, this is embarrassing: As it turns out, UFC heavyweight contender Roy Nelson is allegedly still under contract to another fighting organization and has been during his entire UFC career, including three previous fights in the Octagon as well as his run to the championship of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 10. According to multiple internet reports, Nelson perhaps didn’t read all the fine print in the deal he signed with Roy Jones Jr.’s Square Ring, Inc., prior to his questionble decision loss to Jeff Monson in March, 2009. Now UFC President Dana White says “Big Country” will be on the shelf until the matter is resolved.
See, this is what happens when fighters don’t have lawyers. Obviously, Nelson should’ve known his own contractual status but instead of just blaming the big guy, let’s be honest: This can only be considered a fuck-up of colossal proportions on the part UFC’s massive and notoriously aggressive legal team. It’s hard to fathom how they missed this, especially since legal documents obtained by The Fight Lawyer allege that UFC Vice President Marc Ratner knew about Nelson’s contract with Square Ring. Fortunately for Zuffa, The Fight Lawyer also assumes the company will just end up billing Nelson for any losses it incurs while sorting this mess out. Man, must be nice.
For his part, White – who never misses a chance to impose his own weird hang-ups on any situation – naturally used this legal snafu on the part of his fighter and his company as an opportunity to blast … wait, MMA news websites? Yep.
"There’s organizations that are locking these guys up to the old-school boxing contracts," White told MMA Junkie. "The contracts that (Don) King and those guys were doing back in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s where they have options on top of their options – so your contract never ends with these guys … These are the kinds of contracts that some of these guys are signing in these other organizations out there that some of these MMA websites go, ‘Oh, stick up for these guys, they’re the small guys.’ The small guys are the guys that are really fucking the fighters."
That is an … umm … interesting way to spin this particular situation. Dana’s bizarre preoccupation with the internet might be something he’ll want to bring up with his therapist during their next session. But we digress …
It now appears that Nelson’s scheduled fight with Shane Carwin at UFC 125 would’ve been called off even without Carwin opting for surgery. It’s also clear that we won’t see him fight Brock Lesnar or Big Nog or anybody else until this gets taken care of, though it seems like a relatively simple matter of giving Jones Jr. the payoff he’s so clearly after.
Nelson, as he always does, is taking an uniquely glib and good-natured approach to all this:
"Trying to do some non-MMA related work just in case this fighting stuff doesn’t work out,” Nelson wrote via Twitter posts last week. "I need to start the James (Toney) thing. Just pick fights and then get paid, then have the IRS look into my independent contract status."
You gotta admire that Positive Mental Attitude.