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South Korea’s Battlefield FC has yet to pay multiple fighters from last card

Sarah Kaufman
Sarah Kaufman has not yet been paid by South Korean promotion Battlefield FC after fighting there in March.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Battlefield Fighting Championships made its debut in March to some fanfare. Now, some fighters from the card are just battling to get their money.

Multiple fighters told MMA Fighting that they have yet to be paid by Battlefield FC for their fights on the March 18 card in Seoul, South Korea. Asian MMA website was the first to report the story last week.

Sarah Kaufman, who defeated Jessica-Rose Clark in the co-main event of the show, said Battlefield officials told fighters on the night of the card that they would be unable to pay them at that time, but would wire them the money within 14 days.

“That hasn’t happened,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman, the former Strikeforce 135-pound women’s champion, says Battlefield owes her $20,000. She said promotion officials have been in constant contact with her via e-mail, but they still have not paid and it has been more than six weeks since the fights.

“Until I have money in my account, it’s all just talk,” Kaufman said.

A message sent to Battlefield FC promoter Peter Shin by MMA Fighting was not returned this week.

Kaufman and Joe Ray, who fought in the main event of the card against Igor Svirid, both said Battlefield officials told them there would be a board meeting Tuesday that would clear up any issues. Ray said he got an e-mail from the CEO of Battlefield “promising the issue would be resolved and we will be paid.” Another e-mail from Shin, Ray said, mentioned that he was waiting on the decision of board members that would set things into motion.

“But I have not heard anything, so I’m guess it’s just more of the same BS,” said Ray, who said he is owed $7,000. … “It’s extremely frustrating. My finances are in the toilet because of this. I was planning on paying out money that I owe and I have bills that have to be paid and I’m now late on them.”

Kaufman said she was told Battlefield was waiting on sponsorship and television money to trickle in, so officials can pay the fighters.

Clark posted on Instagram about the mess, writing she was unable to buy a car as planned without the money she thought she’d be getting. Clark also said she owes her manager Daniel Rubenstein, because he laid out money to pay her coaches and to pay her rent and other bills.

“I put everything on hold for a month counting on that money coming in,” Clark said.

Svirid’s manager Stan Kolesnitchenko told The Fight Nation that the Kazakh fighter, who beat Ray in the headliner, had to call off his wedding, because he didn’t get the $10,000 owed to him by Battlefield.

“Ten-thousand dollars might not be a lot of money for them, but in Kazakhstan it’s a significant amount,” Kolesnitchenko said. “Igor’s life has gone downhill. The wedding is off, his girlfriend’s parents have put a big shame on him and the love of his life is never going to be his wife.”

Kaufman said she had a good experience in Seoul and enjoyed her time working with Battlefield, saying officials were “very passionate about the fighters.” But she’s going to need money up front if she’s ever going to fight there in the future.

“I was happy to fight for them,” Kaufman said. “If they pay me before I show up next time, I’d fight for them again. I do think they care about putting on good fights. But you have to be professional and I need to be paid.”

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