South Korean promotion Battlefield FC is once again in hot water after several fighters competing on their second card in July are still awaiting payment from the promotion.
A similar problem arose from the first Battlefield FC card in 2017 with notable fighters such as Sarah Kaufman and Jessica-Rose Clark competing on the show yet not being paid afterwards. It took just over a year for the promotion to finally pay the fighters, who were understandably upset about the long wait to get their money.
Now the same situation is plaguing the second Battlefield FC card, which took place in Macau on July 27.
“No, I haven’t been paid yet,” Brooks said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I think it’s four or five of us that still haven’t been paid. My management has been doing a great job staying on top of them but they’ve been giving us the run around, running in circles. All I can do is let my management handle that.”
Tibau was stuck in the same situation after he accepted the main event fight against Brooks on short notice after UFC veteran Abel Trujillo was pulled from the card.
“It’s bullshit, man,” said Tibau, who was expected to get paid $50,000 for his win over Brooks. “My manager calls them every day. Sometimes they answer, but not always. They ask us to remain calm, say they’ll pay us, but they don’t say when. I took the fight on short notice, spent money on my camp, and this happens. I don’t even like to remember that because it pisses me off. I don’t know what to do.”
Brooks, Tibau and Caraway are not the only fighters still waiting to get paid, though.
In the early portion of the card, managers for Wagner Prado, Julio Cesar Neves, Kaik Brito and Vanessa Melo told MMA Fighting they have yet to receive their payments as well. Neves, Brito and Melo were set to make $5,000 each, and Bellator veteran Neves had a $14,000 purse.
“We came back to Brazil and they said we’d get paid after the 20th, but they haven’t paid anyone yet,” said Prado, who chose not to disclose his pay. “My manager got in touch with them but they haven’t responded anymore.”
Prado feels he was “robbed” by the judges that night, scoring a draw against Doo Hwan Kim. To make things worse, the UFC veteran tore his ACL and meniscus in his right knee and needs surgery. According to Prado, that injury prevented him from taking a title fight with Tomasz Narkun at KSW 50 on Sept. 14.
“These guys shouldn’t be allowed to do events anymore,” Prado said. “I’m outraged.”
Bruno Miranda and Ricardo Tirloni were a bit lucky and got paid by the promotion, their managers confirmed to MMA Fighting, but Tirloni still has some money left to receive.
“(Neves) and Tirloni paid for a few things on their own at the hotel and should be reimbursed for that,” manager Marcelo Brigadeiro said. “The matchmaker responded to us for a week or two, but then he said he was fired by the promotion and sent us Mr. Lee’s number. I got in touch with him and he said he would pay ‘Morceguinho’ (Neves) soon. It’s been three weeks already and he’s not responding anymore.”
Tommy Yang, the matchmaker, told MMA Fighting he was fired by the promotion days after the event. Battlefield CEO Yong Woo Lee didn’t respond to multiple request for comments.
“We saw a disorganized promotion that didn’t care about the athletes for a moment,” said Bernardo Serale, manager for Prado and Brito, adding that he needs to be reimbursed $500 for Brito’s post-fight medical bills.
“We’re trying to contact the promoters, but they still haven’t given us any position regarding the athletes’ purses and reimbursement for the hospital bills. We’re left with the moral and financial losses caused by this fraudulent and unprofessional company.”
Brooks added that the entire event was a mess from the time the fighters first arrived in Macau.
“It was more or less, to sum it all up, just very unorganized,” Brooks said. “It just had this vibe that it was being pieced together as they went along. We all were just going through the motions of trying to be focused, trying to stay locked in and get ready to compete and get ready to fight.
“But everybody kind of had this dark cloud floating around during the whole week. It just seemed very unorganized, very unprofessional but it’s their second card so it’s like all right maybe they’re trying to catch their footing with things. That’s what I kind of what I chalked it up to.”
Veteran referee Steve Perceval had previously revealed in an interview with TheBodyLockMMA.com that he pulled out of the event after he failed to secure payment from the promotion before leaving on his flight. Battlefield FC then used replacement officials to oversee the card on short notice, which then resulted in even more mayhem.
The main event fight ended after Tibau looked to secure a standing guillotine choke with Brooks pushed against the cage and the referee swooped in just seconds later to stop the fight. Brooks immediately protested as he had never tapped out nor gone unconscious but the bout was stopped anyways.
“I don’t know the referee, more importantly I don’t know who he received training from or whether he has any qualifications or experience,” Perceval said when addressing the controversial stoppage in the main event.
For his part, Brooks is trying to take everything in stride as he allows his management team to handle his payment from Battlefield FC while he focus on getting back in action in the near future.
“Lucky for me, I’ve been extremely blessed and I stand true to this, I think God has put provisions in my life so when situations like this happen, I don’t have to panic,” Brooks said. “I don’t have to worry about finances. My God has blessed me with a pretty solid situation to be able to step back and look at where I’m at right now and be like how do we piece this thing back together?
“Let’s not worry about what happened with Battlefield. Let’s not worry about that money situation. Let’s figure out to get back to where you belong.”