When the deck is stacked against you, life isn't much fun. Bantamweight Tyson Nam can tell you all about it. When you pull out an ace in the hole, however, things can get a lot better. And quickly. Nam can tell you about that, too.
It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Nam. After flying under the radar for most of his career, an improbable but devastating KO of Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas on August 25th at Shooto Brazil 33 changed quite a bit.
Sure, the KO was incredible and caught everyone's attention both for being spectacular and for crushing Bellator's top 135 pound fighter. That was the good part. The bad part according to Nam, however, is that Bellator wasn't going to let him walk away from the bout with the upperhand.
According to Nam, Bellator signed him in March of this year, but never used him. "They sat on me for a good four or five months before releasing me in June," Nam told Ariel Helwani on Wednesday's edition of The MMA Hour. "My coach told me that my agent said that they released me. So, it was kind of like 'have a nice day, have a good life' and that's about it," Nam said. "I was just really bummed out."
Upset but thinking he was in the clear, he took the fight in Brazil and the rest is history, right? "From my understanding, I thought they forfeited that right when they released me back in the middle of June and they didn't come with a matching offer when Shooto Brazil presented itself." Not exactly. Bellator claims they never formally released Nam from his contract.
Nam does have the ability to fight elsewhere if Bellator doesn't have a fight lined up for him, but they also have the ability to match any existing offers. Just as Nam is ready to capitalize on the biggest win of his career, Bellator showed interest, but not the kind of interest Nam is particularly enjoying.
"On August 25th after I knocked out their champion," Nam said defiantly. "They didn't care about me August 24th, July 24th or June 24th. But [come] August 25th they were all over it."
"It's almost like, 'hey, you guys have been sitting on me for four months. You guys promised me this, that didn't come through. Then you promised me that, that didn't come through and now we release you into wherever and I do something great just so happens it was it's their Bellator champion," Nam said. "Now let's bring this section 18 back up," Nam maintains, citing the portion of his clause that gives Bellator the right to match other existing offers.
While inconvenient, Nam's taking it all in stride. He's apparently getting offers from major organizations. "I can say they are pretty big promotions if not some of the most recognized promotions in the world." In fact, he's not even ruling out fighting for Bellator. There's been bad blood between the parties involved, but good offers are good offers. "If they bring something to the table that's actually matching these other offers that I'm getting, sure, why not?", he said.
But that isn't his first priority. The offers coming in are apparently very good and if Bellator can't or doesn't want to match them, that's fine by Nam. All he wants is for Bellator to act, one way or the other. They're matching period is reportedly only fourteen days, meaning Nam should be free to sign with whomever if Bellator elected not to meet competing offers.
A skilled bantamweight who never quite got a good hand to work with finally had an ace in the hole. And it's one he intends to use. Nam has all the options he could ask for. Now all he wants is the ability to act on them.
"Take these handcuffs off me," he said.