Jay Hieron, the final reigning welterweight champion of the IFL, had been slated to debut for his new fighting home of Affliction during it’s “Day of Reckoning” pay-per-view event scheduled for Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. But like many other fighters, Hieron learned last week that the card would not be taking place as scheduled and that the promotion’s second show is now slated for January 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Despite the setback, Hieron has no regrets about his decision to sign with Affliction despite offers from the UFC, WEC, EliteXC, and Strikeforce, and is still working on competing on Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack anyway.
During an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com, Hieron revealed that he’s in talks with another promotion to fight on that same date.
“I might be fighting Oct. 11,” Hieron said during the interview. “It’s not confirmed yet but it would be a show in Vegas called X2 Superfights.”
While Hieron was hesitant to go into details due to the fact that he has not finalized a contract, sources revealed to us that Kim Couture, the wife of UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, is involved with the planning of the card, which had originally been slated for Oct. 18 but was moved up a week in light of the Affliction postponement.
Matches have yet to be finalized but fights between Mike Whitehead vs. Allan Goes, Josh Haynes vs. Steve Byrnes, Mike Pyle vs. Brian Gassaway, and Hieron vs. Bryson Kamaka could all headline the show. It is also believed that John Alessio could fight on the show as well.
Hieron also still expects to be involved with Affliction’s next show on Jan. 17. Drew Fickett, his opponent for the Oct. 11 show, could still be his opposition.
“I believe so,” Hieron answered when asked if there was still a chance he would face Fickett during the re-scheduled card. “I mean, it’s kind of a long time from now but that’s the plan… That’s definitely a guy I want to fight. I’ve been training for him a couple of weeks now and that’s been a guy I’ve been visualizing in my head that I was going to fight.”
Hieron also revealed that like several other fighters, he first heard about the postponed of the show via the Internet.
“I heard it through the Internet first and then I talked to (Affliction Vice President) Tom (Atencio). Tom called me,” he said.
Prior to signing with Affliction, Hieron received competing offers from the four aforementioned promotions. So does he have any regrets about the choice that he made?
“I spoke to (Affliction) and I believe in those guys,” said Hieron. “I think they’ve got a lot of big things that are about to happen. It’s just one of those things that if it goes through, what they’ve got planned is big, and I’ll be happy to be a part of it… I haven’t fought for them yet but I was at the first show and even before I had signed with them I liked what I had seen. I knew Tom personally. Of course (because) it’s a new organization they’re going to have problems at first but I believe they will come through and it will be good.
“I don’t regret the decision I made. Plus, my contract is great because it’s non-exclusive and it gives me that option of fighting somewhere else with their approval. If I’m not fighting on one of their cards then I can go fight somewhere else. Which is pretty big in the game right now because all of the other organizations are pretty much only signing exclusive deals with fighters.”
While we spoke with Hieron prior to Saturday’s official announcement that Affliction will be working with Golden Boy Promotions, he was well aware of the rumors that had been circulating and feels that the news can only be construed as a positive.
“It’s incredible for the sport and for Affliction,” Hieron responded when asked to address the rumor. “That’s going to blow the roof off of the organization. Oscar De La Hoya is successful in everything that he does as a fighter and a promoter and I believe in him. I think it’s going to be a big positive influence that he’s going to be involved with it.”
The Xtreme Couture fighter also confirmed rumors that he recently made a change in representation. Formerly represented by Monte Cox, one of the pioneers when it comes to fighter management in MMA, Hieron is now working with Ken Pavia and his firm, MMA Agents.
“I worked with Monte Cox for a period of my career,” he began. “He’s a great manager but I just think I was looking for something different. He’s got a lot of guys and is a busy man. I just changed a lot of things up. I was a free agent for awhile. I didn’t just go out from Monte and jump into a relationship with a new manager. I took my time to see what worked for me and Pav was definitely a guy I wanted to work with. He works with a lot of guys in my camp and they’ve got a lot of respect for him. He does a lot of great things for them. We’re on the same page right now and hopefully we can do big things together.”
Hieron confessed that the decision to leave Cox wasn’t easy but that he felt he had to do what was best for his career.
“Of course it was tough (decision to leave). I had a relationship with the guy. He did things for me. But at the end of the day a fighter has to do what’s best for himself. I’m the one out there doing the fighting. I chose to leave him and go somewhere else because (while) he’s a great manager, he’s real busy right now.”