A contract dispute between Josh Burkman and World Series of Fighting unfolding over the last 48 hours has enough drama to fill a Hollywood script. Hours after the WSOF welterweight tweeted “I can’t work on going anywhere else until #WSOF releases me,” a follow up message contained a very different tone.
— Joshua Burkman (@JoshBurkman) April 4, 2014
Burkman’s two concerns- his WSOF 9 paycheck and an imminent title shot- were immediately alleviated by WSOF management. He initially agreed to a flat rate of $25,000 for last month’s match with Tyler Stinson, which Burkman won via first-round knockout. The flat fee varies from money guaranteed contractually. Burkman though he deserved the difference, leading to yesterday’s negotiations between fighter and promotion.
Burkman has a 9-2 record, including a 4-1 WSOF mark, since leaving the UFC in 2008. After beating Jon Fitch at WSOF 3, Burkman lost a welterweight title match with Steve Carl last October. Still, the Salt Lake City-native should be next in line to face current champ Rousimar Palhares. Burkman will have to play the waiting game since Palhares is slated to defend his belt against Jon Fitch in July.
Regardless of whether WSOF Executive Vice President believes it or not, he verbally agreed to give Burkman a crack at the winner of the title fight. It will be the last in the six-fight deal Burkman in September 2012 and frees him to sign with any MMA promotion, including the UFC.
Fighters frequently voice their opinion over social media, but Burkman is following a growing trend where disagreements with one’s promotion are boiling over online. Last month, UFC lightweight Nate Diaz requested his release via Twitter and loosely referenced being courted by another promotion. Burkman’s initial tweet hinted at prospects outside of WSOF.
Whether his tactic pays off depends on his performance against the Fitch-Palhares winner. If all goes well, Burkman may find himself in the UFC for a second time.