This past Thursday afternoon, the WSOF held a conference call to promote their upcoming show, WSOF 8. We already reported on a few quotes from the WSOF on that conference call, but WSOF VP and match maker Ali Abdel-Aziz also had some comments about Eddie Alvarez, Bellator, and keeping his fighters happy.
One of the fighters that Aziz is focusing on is light heavyweight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Johnson will meet fellow light heavyweight Mike Kyle at WSOF 8, which happens to be the last fight on Johnson’s current three-fight contract. “Rumble” was on the call, and was queried about any discussions taking place, as far as a new contract.
“I love Ali. I love Ray. I love World Series of Fighting,” Johnson told MMAmania.com while on yesterday’s conference call. “I’ve been telling everybody. I’m really enjoying myself here, so we will definitely see what happens, you know what I mean.”
Ali Abdel-Aziz then spoke on the subject of Johnson’s future with the company:
“Anthony has been here since day one, he’s one of the pioneers,” he said. “We love Anthony, but at the end of the day after this fight, win, lose or draw we would love to have Anthony around. But if Anthony has another idea or is interested in any other ideas, we will support him 100 percent wherever he goes. I always say that you cannot do your best at any place, if you are not happy 100 percent. If we want Anthony to continue to with us, or any fighters, I want them to be happy and comfortable to give us the best performances.”
Abdel-Aziz was also asked if the WSOF’s retainment of Anthony Johnson’s services was a high priority for the company. The WSOF VP was quick to answer, going into detail about the importance of keeping their fighters happy, and citing the Eddie Alvarez v. Bellator dispute as an example of what can happen when fighters are not being treated properly.
“Eddie Alvarez single-handedly ruined one promotion because all this drama and nasty things that happened,” Abdel-Aziz said. “He ruined some people’s careers. I believe he ruined this promotion because they can’t sign anyone because of one guy. Why would I force a guy to be with me if he doesn’t want to be with me? You have to understand, the fan is always going to go with the fighters, if the fighter is right, and Eddie was right.”
“If Anthony’s contract is over and he want to go and fight in different place… Guess what? I’m going to give him a big huge hug and say good luck and wish him the best of luck,” he continued. “This is 2014. We’re not boxing or different sports. If somebody has a dream to fight wherever you call it, the UFC, whatever… Who am I as a human being an individual, from keeping him from achieving his dreams? Everybody has a dream and me and Ray, and Sean, when we started this promotion, we said ‘fighters first.’ Guarantee you this is why we have so much fans behind us, and supporting us. We might not be getting the biggest rating whatever, but I can guarantee you whoever tunes in to watch World Series of Fighting on NBC Sports, they are really true MMA fans.”
Tags: Ali Abdel-Aziz, Anthony Johnson, Bellator, Eddie Alvarez, mma, MMA NEWS, NBC Sports, ray sefo, rumble, ufc, ufc news, wsof, WSOF 8