Earlier this week when MMAFrenzy.com reported on Gegard Mousasi honoring his new Strikeforce contract, we included in that report that there were “rumors that Mousasi was misled by his M-1 Global management about the UFC’s contract offer.” We also included that Mousasi had been diplomatic in his response stating, “I am fighting in Strikeforce now and Scott has always been honest to me. I have a contract with Strikeforce and I am going to honor that.” We later confirmed that as a result of circumstances surrounding Mousasi’s signing with Strikeforce that the UFC did take action to prevent Gegard Mousasi vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral from taking place at Strikeforce’s August 15 event in the form of a cease and desist order, but the fight will go on as scheduled.
Since that time more light as been shed on the subject, by the oft-neglected vice president of talent relations for the UFC, Joe Silva. Silva usually prefers to stay out of the limelight, happy to set most of the matchups with relative anonymity. However, CBS Radio host Carmichael Dave was given the rare opportunity to speak to Silva on the subject of Mousasi and M-1, and later posted a transcript of that conversation to the Sherdog Forums:
When I approached him regarding Mousasi, Silva elaborated.
“Gegard called me about a week ago. He asked if it was true that the UFC offered 40/40 (40k to show, 40k bonus to win), Silva said. “I told him no, because we never actually made an offer.”
“When Affliction folded, we obviously looked at a lot of their talent available. Mousasi was interesting, but he had also just signed a deal to appear in the EA Sports video game,” Silva stated. “We had gotten word from above to stay away from anyone involved in the EA game process.
So the 40/40 figure was obviously erroneous, right?
“Not only did we not make an offer, but we would’ve assumed his Affliction contract and its terms. So whatever Affliction was paying him, that’s what we would’ve honored, and it was considerably more than 40/40,” Silva continued.
Several sources say Mousasi was in the neighborhood of $125,000 per fight plus a smaller bonus tied in as well.
“So not only did we not offer 40/40, but HAD we made an offer it would’ve been more than that, and that’s what I explained to Gegard.”
Obviously this wasn’t a closed subject back in Camp Mousasi, as a few days later, M-1’s Apy Echteld called Silva to clarify events. What resulted though, was even more ambiguity, according to Silva.
“Apy called me about a week later, wanting to clarify things. He said that there was some miscommunication between his fighter and management. The tone of the call was very polite,” Silva explained.
But when Silva inquired as to how all of this started, that’s when things got a little murky.
“Apy told me that he had a UFC source tell him that we were going to offer 40/40, and it was relayed to Mousasi. I asked Apy who the source was, and he declined to tell me. I explained that we never offered any sort of deal, and things sort of ended there,” Silva continued.
As to reports that Silva was on the phone with all parties during much of the negotiations, he quickly shot those down.
“I’ve never been on the phone with Gegard and his management simultaneously. In fact, the only time I’ve been on the phone with Gegard during all of this was when he called me a week ago.”
Whether there is some spin coming from Silva in this or not is hard to tell, but the fact that Mousasi later called Silva to confirm what was offered to him shows that even he thinks that M-1 lied to him. If the Silva’s claims that the UFC did not in fact even make an offer to Mousasi are true, then the fact that M-1 told him they had, and that it was such a low number indicates that they had no interest in him signing with the UFC and were actively seeking to block such a deal. This also further serves to call into question just how honest M-1 has been with Fedor throughout his negotiations with the UFC.
One other thing of note, however, is that from Silva’s quotes there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the UFC was going to make an offer anyways. With the fact that Mousasi has now signed with Strikeforce, we will have to wait at least until the end of his contract to find out if the UFC are willing to overlook his EA contract.
Pictured: Gegard Mousasi