It may have not been a national nightmare, but the speed bump in the 5-fight relationship between Josh Burkman and The World Series of Fighting is over. Jeremy Botter has the details of the reconciliation.
At the center, money and Burkman feeling he had not being compensated via the terms of his contract while fighting on last minute notice at WSOF 9 against Tyler Stinson.
Burkman took to Twitter 24 hours after voicing his desire to be let out of his contract:
Contract negotiation tactics via Twitter. Promotional executives attacking fighters’ integrity over social media. This is MMA; still in its infancy. Imagine an NFL executive or a CFL executive by comparison implying that a linebacker was scared of an opposing tight end or fullback. It would never happen. It’s absurd. It’s also why the NBA, NFL, and MLB have policies for their players, coaches, and executives regarding social media. That’s what differentiates MMA and promotions like the UFC and WSOF from those more established leagues. It’s also the tradeoff.
This is an exchange I had with UFC lightweight Donald Cowboy Cerrone earlier today:
The NFL or MLB doesn’t have the same fan connection or access. Jerry Jones doesn’t indulge players’ complaints via traditional media let alone Twitter. Russell Wilson doesn’t trade Tombstone quotes with fans. So the drama of a Twitter conflict between an employee and an employer becomes something unique to MMA. It becomes just as much a draw as the fighters who face off in the cage. Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.
In the short term, seeing the airing of grievances via Twitter eight months before Festivus proved to be a good thing for Josh Burkman. In fact, it could be argued that Burkman is now 5-1 in the WSOF after taking on matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz and getting not only what he asked for from a monetary perspective but also a title fight against the winner of Rousimar Palhares and Jon Fitch.
Lost in the reconciliation and tidings of comfort and joy is what happens after Burkman’s next fight, the last fight on his contract with the organization. Is there a title clause that prevents him from taking the WSOF welterweight title to a different organization if he beats the winner of Palhares/Fitch? Does Burkman want to continue fighting for the WSOF once he has completed his contract? Will the WSOF institute a social media clause that keeps its fighters from pressuring them in public the way Burkman did? Lots of questions remain despite the resolution.