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Dana White labels Bellator’s handling of contracts as “borderline criminal”

UFC President Dana White has always shown a certain level of respect for Bellator, expressing appreciation for the company’s product as well as CEO Bjorn Rebney’s focus on doing his own thing instead of attempting to compete directly with the UFC. However, it looks like White’s opinion on Bellator has soured as of late relating to the way company does business with its fighters.

Bellator has been under fire for a situation involving bantamweight Tyson Nam after the talented youngster knocked out Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas in a bout outside of the promotion. Understandably, a number of MMA organizations expressed interest in signing Nam, yet an old deal with Bellator prevented him from inking a new contract without the company having an opportunity to match (even though they released him in June).

White, who has never been afraid to speak his mind, caught wind of the situation once the UFC tried to add Nam to its roster and blasted Bellator for the matter in a conversation with media members last night after the conclusion of UFC 152.

“I don’t talk much about Bellator but what they do (with contracts) is one of the dirtiest things you can do in the business. It’s dirty, it’s grimy, and it’s just despicable,” ranted the outspoken executive. “I have the right to match, but once I cut a guy and let him go, and somebody else tries to sign him, I don’t come back and say, ‘Aww, you’re breaking the contract. I have matching (rights).’ Know what I mean? When you made the decision to cut him, you cut him. That’s one of the scummiest, dirtiest things you can do in the fight business.”

“(Nam) is not gonna make or break the UFC but the problem is, the dirty scumbag moves that these guys are pulling hurts the fighter. It’s one of the dirtiest, lowdown, despicable things you can do in the fight business,” he continued, adding, “I guess that’s the way those guys do business. We don’t do business like that. I have no beef with those guys, they’re doing their own thing (and) I could care less. But that’s dirty. That’s dirty and it’s borderline criminal.”

Rebney’s defense regarding Nam’s situation has been one of mild confusion, stating Bellator handles contractual matters the same way a number of major MMA organizations do and is not out to prevent fighters from making a living. Meanwhile, in a relatively recent interview with MMAJunkie, Nam’s manager stated that Bellator is planning to sit on Nam’s contract until the matching period runs out next year unless he re-signs with the promotion.