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Morning Report: Former champ Zach Makovsky accuses Bellator of coercing him to fight for less than his contracted salary

Last week, midway through a rant about his legal troubles, former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez alluded to a troubling experience his friend, Zach Makovsky, had with Bellator management.

Between 2010 and 2011, Makovsky racked up a perfect 6-0 record within the promotion en route to winning season three's tournament, becoming Bellator's inaugural bantamweight champion, and subsequently fighting in two non-title fights. However things soon went south, as Makovsky lost his title in mid-2012 to Eduardo Dantas, then fell short against Anthony Leone in December before receiving his walking papers.

Makovsky is now scheduled to make his flyweight debut for his first post-Bellator fight this weekend at CFFC 24. Nonetheless, Alvarez's name-drop led Makovsky to explain what exactly went wrong with the promotion that once called him ‘champion.'

"Just before the Dantas fight, I had added some additional fights onto my contract for a potential raise," Makovsky told "If I were to beat Dantas, my pay scale would have gone up pretty significantly, and if I lost to Dantas, my pay scale would have stayed where it was. In that deal I put in that they have to have... they were going to give me three fights every 14 months. Which is a reason they gave me why, on releasing me. They said that they just couldn't keep me active enough to fulfill that end of their agreement.

"The issue I had was that... so when I signed [those] additional fights to my contract, I had a potential raise against Dantas, and if I lost the fight I was supposed to go back to where I was. But Bellator has it that you're at a certain rate, and if you win your pay goes up by 1,000/1,000 for your next fight and if you lose it stays the same. It never decreases. I won the tournament, I had two non title fights, so my pay scale increased for each of those fights. Then I signed this new part of the contract to fight Dantas, and if I lost I should have went back to where I was, not the original [salary], which is what they offered me. Basically what happened was, they weren't going to give me another fight in 2012, besides Dantas. I had to kind of really push to get that fight with Leone. And then when I got the bout contract it was for 2,000 and 2,000 less than what I believe my contract said I should be fighting for."

Obviously shorting a fighter $2,000/$2,000 less than their contract states is a serious issue when they're only fighting once or twice a year, and for a figure that is already far from lucrative. So, of course, Makovsky raised this point to Bellator officials.

"What they did say was, that if I insisted on getting what my contract said, they wouldn't be able to afford to put me on the card to fight for that, and that they could offer me this 2,000/2,000 less," Makovsky explained. "So if I wanted to fight this year it's basically... and it was my choice to accept the fight, but it was like 'you can accept this, or you can wait till next year and fight and do whatever.' That rubbed me obviously very poorly.

"I only had one [fight at that point in 2012] and I lost, so I didn't have my win bonus. This is all I do right now, so I definitely needed at least a second fight in a year. I kind of had to accept those terms. It was unfortunate, and I did what I had to do because I needed a fight. That's the story there and Eddie knew about it because we're good friends and we talk. I never wanted to bring it up."



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Today's Fanpost of the Day comes to us from Tkeaner, who looks at: The Difficulty of Becoming a Star in MMA

With many of its star fighters aging and on the back end of their careers, the UFC must decide what, or more importantly, who, is next. Unlike most major sports, UFC and MMA in general must work harder to build their individual stars. Sure baseball or football players can sign endorsement deals and be put front and center by their respective leagues or teams. But if the player is consistently putting up gaudy individual statistics such as 40 homers or 30 touchdowns, they will most likely become a star on their own. The nature of MMA makes this very difficult for a few reasons.

Aside from putting together an impressive win streak or win/loss record, it is very difficult to distinguish oneself in MMA based on numbers. Fightmetrics are not widely accepted enough yet to have an impact on a casual fan's opinion about how good a fighter is or may be. Also, the unpredictable nature of an MMA bout makes moving prospects along that much more difficult. Legitimate undefeated records are unheard of in the UFC. Fighters lose in the sport, it happens to all of them. The UFC could attempt to latch onto a hot young prospect and have major plans for them in the future. But one flash knockout could put an end to those plans rather abruptly.

MMA Promotions do not have the luxury of being able to bring along its athletes with the intention of building them as stars, unlike its distant sport cousins in Boxing and the WWE. Talented boxers are fed tomato cans for much of their younger careers so that when more lucrative fights near, they can be propped up on their bloated 40-0 records. Professional Wrestlers are practically selected by the WWE as the next big thing, given title belts and headlining pay-per-views. While a very different sport, the UFC holds similar power. The promotion also chooses who will headline big shows and who gets the right to fight for world championships. They can choose to promote who they feel will make them the most money, regardless of numbers. As we have seen in recent years with fighters such as Chael Sonnen or Nick Diaz, you can become a star by being a talented fighter who is even more skilled at drawing fan interest with what they say over the microphone. They were rewarded for those skills when the promotion chose to invest in their stardom.

The UFC is a large enough brand at this point that fighters don't need to be true stars in order for fans to still tune in. However, in order to continue to grow as a company and as a sport, the cultivation of these potential stars still needs to take place. The UFC is cognizant of that, UFC 159 being the most recent example. They used Sonnen, an established star, to help continue to build Jon Jones as one of the stars of the present, and future. With the continued growth of the MMA and the UFC, here's to hoping that we will be seeing many more stars emerge.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.

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