PL: Strikeforce, K-1 and Dream champion (and your fellow countryman) Alistair Overeem will be battling Lesnar on December 30th with a UFC world title shot at stake. There has been a lot going on with Overeem lately, including the shocking news that Alistair was leaving the Golden Glory team and firing his managers. Have you discussed any of this with him, maybe found out his reasons for doing it?
BR: Oh no, you didn't go there! (laughs) I thought that if nobody asks, I won't say anything, but now that you ask me I have to! It's been bothering me a lot! OK, here I go.
It's a money thing. He simply doesn't want to pay the people who made him. When he lost three fights in a row...well, like pretty much 5, I mean, he lost, won, lost three times in a row, won, and lost again...and nobody wanted to have him.
But his management kept pushing and using the power that they have because they have other great fighters. Like, for example [they would say]: "If you want Semmy Schilt to fight, then you have to take Alistair as well."
It's funny how fighters think. When it goes bad with them, their team is everything to them, and they love their team. In interviews after they win a fight, they say: "I owe everything to my team". Then when the management starts to put great fights together for them, directing their careers and the fighter gets better and better, some of them simply can't handle it, and it gets to their head.
I had a bad feeling already when he called himself, after he won the K-1 Grand Prix, a "legend". He actually said in an interview right after he won: "I am a legend now". I don't think a fighter can ever make that comment about himself.
And talking about the Grand Prix, let's face it, he had a great deal of luck as well there. He fought Peter Aerts who had a WAR with Semmy Schilt [previously that night] and was completely banged up, and then he fought [Gokhan] Saki, who had a broken arm AND hand, in the finals! At that moment when you win, you should say: "I'm very happy with the result, the stars were in line for me tonight, I also got a little bit of luck". Because everybody is going to say that about you anyway, you might as well simply say it yourself to keep the people respecting you, but NOT: "I'm a legend".
PL: Wow, sounds like you're genuinely pissed off at Alistair about this.
BR: Of course, I see it too many times. I KNOW what Golden Glory did for him. He couldn't punch or kick when he came to them, and I mean, HE COULDN'T PUNCH OR KICK! Some fighters get big and then forget who was fighting for them when they were losing. Two months ago, he wanted to make a belt for the Golden Glory team with "FOR CHAMPION MANAGEMENT" engraved on it. Those were HIS words after they made this huge contract for him, and now he says they are morons? He used them to negotiate the best deal and when they did it, now suddenly they are morons? Explain that to me. It's unreal.
Also, a few months ago, when they started to get close to a good deal with the UFC, he realized that he could make a lot of money. The first thing he did was go to Cor Hemmers, his striking coach, and tried to renegotiate the 10% trainer's fee.
You have to understand, [a deal like Alistair's UFC contract] is a dream for trainers, because there is a possibility that they create, with the help from management of course, a fighter who can make some REAL money for them. Because let's face it, most trainers don't live in a huge house, don't drive a big car, they do it for the love of the fighter they train. They put their whole heart and soul in there.
When a fighter's lost three in a row, and there is no hope for him, the trainer is always there for him, helping him again and again, and the management is trying to find fights for him. Understand as well that trainers like Cor Hemmers and Martijn de Jong are busy with the fighter 24 hours a day. I talked to Cor in the past and he told me he couldn't sleep from all the tension, and about thinking: "What's the best game plan for Alistair?" Also know that when Alistair [first] came to Cor, when he would get hit, he would turn his back to his opponent and didn't want to fight! You saw that when he fought his first K-1 fight in Holland, it was very bad. And when he was losing, [his trainers] were the ones who convinced him to go heavyweight since he was cutting way too much [to make light-heavyweight].
PL: I guess that was when his infamous horse meat diet began, huh? (laughs)
BR: (laughs) I'm not gonna go in there, because that's never been proven and I always say "Only make comments like that if you know 100% it's true, not 99%". So anyway, [Hemmers and de Jong] put him back on track, they GAVE him all those skills, they were there from the beginning, and they build him to become the fighter he is now. So for a fighter to go in and trying to renegotiate the 10% trainer's fee is just absurd. Ask ANY trainer who has made a fighter from scratch if he would think that's good. Please let me know if you can find ONE person.
PL: You've said that Martijn de Jong is one of the people being wronged here, but I can't recall Alistair saying anything bad about him. In fact, from what I've seen it's been quite the opposite, he's been very complimentary of de Jong all through this situation.
BR: Yeah, he tries to let the rest of the world think that the coaches and other fighters are on his side, and that it's only the management he has problems with. But that is absolutely NOT the case. I mean, go to Cor Hemmers' gym and look at the posters with pictures of Alistair on there, see what his fellow fighters did to them.
And you know what he said to Martijn? I know this because I talked with Martijn personally three days ago. When he told Martijn he didn't want to pay the 10% trainer's fee--and remember, Cor and Martijn SPLIT the 10%, so it's not 20% in total--Martijn told him that he was there with him for TWELVE YEARS, and that they trained him for so long and went through the ups and downs, especially the downs. And on top of that, he said that he was Alistair's friend this whole time, and made a big contribution to Alistair's success.
But Alistair said: "Yeah, if we have to talk about people who contributed to my success, then I also have to mention my cleaning lady who cleans my house for eleven and a half Euros an hour."
OK, just think about that for a second. It's almost like it's not real. I mean, he REALLY said this! I wouldn't tell you if it wasn't the truth, you know me, Paul.
PL: Well, while I can't say that this doesn't sound shocking, in the 14 years that I've known you I've never heard you tell lies about anyone or even be accused of it.
BR: Thank you, my friend. But to continue, just the fact that he uses the words "trainer" and "cleaning lady" in the same sentence is so disrespectful. And his new offer to Martijn was LESS THAN ONE PERCENT! Plus then of course Martijn has to see if he actually gets it. I said this before--normally Golden Glory gets the money from promoters in THEIR account. THEY pay the trainers, sparring partners, the fighters and their own fee of course, and this way, everybody who needs to get paid, gets paid! Oh, and many times [Golden Glory] would pay also for extra tickets to the fight, like flights to Japan or America, for the fighter's girlfriend or other friends. They would pay their hotel room, food, everything.
When the UFC said that they wanted to give the check directly to the fighter and not to the management, I already felt the problem coming. I right away thought: "Nobody is gonna get paid". You can actually find that in my long tweet about Golden Glory in the past that many people read. I wrote it when it happened, and sure enough, that's what happened, nobody got their money.
Well, I take that back. From the first check that Alistair personally got, he did pay his trainers 1.5% instead of the 10% that they should have got! So, as example, if the 10% trainer's fee would have been $20,000, Alistair paid $2,500 and still owes $17,500.
And people wonder why Golden Glory wants it first in their account--well, there you have it, so that EVERYBODY who helped the fighter gets paid! They [allowed direct payment to the fighter] ONE time and it went right away wrong, also with another fighter on that card by the way, so the proof is in the pudding.
Martijn also should have gotten a percentage of the sponsor money, but didn't get anything from that as well. Needless to say, after the "cleaning lady" comment and the "less then 1%" offer, Martijn declined to be [Alistair's] trainer in the future.
Listen, if you leave your old crew, and have a NEW trainer, who comes in NOW after all the real work is done, then YES, you can make a different deal with him, which is exactly what Alistair did now. And since he knew that his management and the Golden Glory guys were not gonna take his new deal, he simply left them and came up with this whole story that's unfolding now.
And I am 100% sure, if he wanted to renegotiate the 20% management fee that he was paying before, [Golden Glory] would have done that in an instant. They would have understood that with a big contract like this, they could take a lesser fee if he really thought they didn't deserve it.
But instead he complains in public about paying 35% of his money, which is another thing! People say, "Oh, 35% is a lot of money, he shouldn't do that!" First of all, it's 30%. He ASKED to make it 35% to get a break on TAXES...but that's another crazy story. But it's 30%, ALWAYS been 30%
With my job now, any TV, movie, commercial, or whatever I do, I am out 30% right away from management, agent, and lawyer fees. But they make sure my life is good, and that I don't make a mistake, so I happily give them that money, and you know what? It's tax deductible! And another thing, EVERY actor pays the same percentage.
Alistair says he wants to come and live here in California. Really? And do WHAT after he stops fighting? What if he starts losing? Acting? TV, movies, commercials? How on earth is he gonna do that? He doesn't want to pay 30%! And these people who he has to hire, like an entertainment manager, an agent and a lawyer, who didn't even help him before now, they will still want him to pay 30%. I wonder how he's gonna justify what he's doing [to his former trainers and management] when he starts having to pay 30% to new people? Just food for thought for the future.
PL: So, going back to my original question, have you actually discussed this stuff with Alistair himself?
BR: Alistair actually called me to explain his side of the story. The only thing I told him was: "If I was you, I would read all the e-mails [that your trainers and management] send to you, because everything is in there. They did NOT try to scam you." He said: "Yeah, but there was talk about a lot of money that they would get half from." This is an outside payment, by the way, not part of his contract or a signing bonus or anything. It was supposed to go half to him, with a group of people who helped him a LOT in the past each getting a share of the other half. He said: "I found out by accident, by accident"--he said it twice--"that they would get half, and we are talking about a lot of money."
I said: "I know what money you talk about, because [Golden Glory] even told me, and they NEVER told me to not to tell you about it. So again, if I were you, I would read the e-mails, it's all in there."
But once a fighter has it in his head that he is being screwed, people around him fuel those thoughts. They say: "Yeah, don't pay 30% to the trainers, management and sparring partners. YOU made them, not the other way around." And these are people who weren't there when Alistair had his bad streak, the 5 losses in 7 fights. No, a bunch of these guys showed up when he started winning.
And if you say that many times enough to a fighter, then eventually they start thinking like that. And he actually said this to his management last month: "I made the team. Because of ME, the team is so good". Well, if he still thinks that after reading everything I just said to you, then I am actually happy that [he and Golden Glory] broke up, because that is NOT a friend or team member.
PL: How much money are we talking about?
BR: I don't wanna go there. I just talk about what I know is 100% true, because I knew this when this all happened. I don't even wanna know how much he could make, but I guess it's enough to make him turn on his friends who were there from the beginning for him, through thick and thin, ups and downs, and especially the downs.
But hey, he's not the only one, there are many fighters who, when they made the switch to the UFC, or any other organization that would pay them "real" money, suddenly left their coaches and management who were there from the beginning. I'm not gonna mention names, but there are many of them, I talked about this in the past, including two other guys from Golden Glory. My question is: where are they now? Because suddenly their careers went down, injuries started to come out of nowhere, and now it's over. They call that "karma".
The last thing I say about this: Alistair never complained before about the 30%. NEVER. Because he knew what [Golden Glory] did for him. And now when he makes it big, now suddenly it's too much? Now suddenly they don't deserve that? That's "Scrooge stuff" right there.
And you know what? He didn't make this money yet, he has to win first, and now he stepped up in the competition. The guys he beat were all let go from the UFC, which means they lost there, and now he has to fight the guys who beat his old opponents. What will he do without a team as strong as Golden Glory, who did everything for him? When everything settles down, when he starts reminiscing about the good things, and starts thinking about stuff like I just wrote about, well, good luck with the fight preparation.
OK, enough, I don't wanna talk about it anymore. For any other interviewer who reads this, this is it, nothing more, so please don't contact me...well, it depends on what's gonna be said now of course. I still have something else I might be sharing, depends on what happens. I will let you know.
But this is my side of the story and both Alistair and I know this is 100% the truth. He hurt my friends emotionally, and then on top of everything he starts writing bad about THEM?! Wow. Cor Hemmers even had to go to the hospital with heart problems TWICE since this whole thing has started, and he never had any problems like that before. And Ron Nyqvist, my good friend, was really emotional about it. He said to me: "I don't care about the money Bas, you know that, it's really not about that. He just really hurt us all. The whole team, everybody." I could hear it in his voice, it got to him, it really did, and that's why I tell you this.
PL: Wow. I'm almost out of breath after hearing all that. Bas, I can't thank you enough for your candor and your time.
BR: No problem, vato. I had to get this off my chest, it was really getting to me, but now it is out there. I will let you know if I want to say any more, but for now, I have said my piece on the matter. But if you think THIS is a lot, wait for what Golden Glory has to say, all the discussions he had with them, favors, anything, they have a lot. But that's between them, I wasn't there, so it's for them to say.