"Enough is enough."
Ali Abdel-Aziz, the executive vice president of World Series of Fighting, is tired of feeling like he is being taken advantage of, and he's apparently putting his foot down.
Abdel-Aziz told MMAFighting.com on Wednesday that due to personal reasons Rousimar Palhares has withdrawn from his welterweight title fight against Jon Fitch on July 5. Palhares' manager Alex Davis told MMAFighting.com's Guilherme Cruz that Palhares pulled out of the fight to take care of his sick mother.
As a result, the new main event of WSOF 11 will be Justin Gaehtje vs. Nick Newell for the lightweight title. Abdel-Aziz added that the promotion is working towards booking Fitch vs. Jake Shields in the co-main event. Also slated to fight on the July 5 card, which just so happens to be the same date as UFC 175, are Melvin Guillard and JZ Cavalcante in separate bouts. A venue has yet to be finalized for the card.
So why has Abdel-Aziz had enough?
"We're getting screwed," he said. "I'm trying to put on a fight card and be nice to fighters, and now they dont want to fight each other.
"I have to put WSOF first and everyone else second. No more Mr. Nice Guy."
Abdel-Aziz said he has grown increasingly tired of fighters turning down fights after agreeing to them and/or asking to be released with hopes of signing with the UFC or other promotions. Just last week, WSOF agreed to release Andrei Arlovski from his contract to sign with the UFC. Prior to that, Josh Burkman and Gerald Harris, who says he is now retired from MMA, publicly complained about their status with WSOF. He added that there were other similar examples that he wanted to keep off the record, as well.
"I'm getting sick of this," he said. "If a fighter is not going to respect the promotion, he is going to be shelved for a long time. I will not release anyone to another promotion. Fighters must honor their contracts."
The promotion's next event, WSOF 10, is slated to take place June 21. It will be headlined by Dave Branch vs. Jesse Taylor for the WSOF middleweight title and Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Rick Glenn for the featherweight title.