Tyson Nam facing potential Bellator lawsuit

by Steven Marrocco | source: mmajunkie.com
 

Tyson Nam's stunning knockout of Bellator champ Eduardo Dantas has drawn interest from major promotions, according to his trainer.

But that interest could drag Nam into a legal fight – with Bellator Fighting Championships.

According to Claud, Bellator thought Nam would lose a fight with Dantas at a benefit for Brazil's special police force this past Saturday in Rio de Janeiro. When he instead knocked the Bellator champ out in the first round, the promotion moved in to protect its losses.

Claud said Bellator signed his fighter in March as short-notice replacement in the promotion's season 6 tournament and pulled the fighter when original participant Rodrigo Lima was instead able to compete. Bellator then promised Nam a spot in the season 7 tournament, according to Claud, but in June sent an email informing the fighter's reps that the competition had been canceled and he was released from his contract.

The dispute stems from a clause in Nam's contract that gives Bellator matching rights on offers from other promotions 18 months after its expiration. Now that the fighter is a hot commodity, Claud said, it gives Bellator undue leverage in controlling the fighter's future.

Claud said some of the promotions interested in Nam have vowed to challenge any legal action against the fighter if he signs a new contract. But at the moment, Nam and Bellator apparently are at a standstill.

Bellator officials declined comment on this story.

"The issue with Bellator is that they had no idea who they had," he said. "They hadn't seen him fight in a year. They knew he was a solid kid that wasn't going to embarrass them and be a total can, but they had no idea what this kid has been doing for the last year. That's my opinion."

Bellator officials declined comment on this story. During a media day this week, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney did say the practice of allowing champions to fight in outside organizations is being phased out as the promotion nears its crossover to Spike TV.

"We're going to have so many more tournaments per season that the necessity of having guys fight outside the organization won't be there anymore," he said.

Claud said some of the promotions interested in Nam have vowed to challenge any legal action against the fighter if he signs a new contract. But at the moment, Nam and Bellator apparently are at a standstill.

"A couple organizations are very interested and saying, 'Sign with us, and let Bellator make a legal move,'" Claud said. "We've asked very nicely and professionally for Bellator to do the right thing and let Tyson move on with his career.

"We're not necessarily opposed to fighting in Bellator, but we want to make sure that he has the ability to advance his career and make the best of his opportunity."

The trainer said the situation could have been avoided if Bellator had simply put Nam to work.

"If they would have fought us in the tournament, we'd have no problems. But they didn't. You can't sign a guy in April and not fight him for a year and expect him to pay his rent and keep motivated in this sport.

"The real issue here is, we have no problem with Bellator. We have a problem with the contract no enabling Tyson to grow in the sport. We want another big fight. We want to prove that wasn't a lucky shot. We want to prove that Tyson is a world-class fighter."

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tags: Bellator   Tyson Nam   


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