Following Legal Threat, PFL/Bellator Release Gegard Mousasi

Gegard Mousasi, Bellator 275
Gegard Mousasi, Bellator 275 Credit: Bellator MMA

With former Bellator MMA middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi threatening legal action earlier this week, the promotion (or more accurately, its new owners PFL) have released the veteran fighter from his contract.

UPDATE: Mousasi’s manager Nima Safapour released a statement to Mike Bohn regarding PFL’s release of Mousasi:

“We will not comment on the merits of the alleged release at this time for obvious reasons. However, we believe there is a greater lesson here that our community should pay close attention to. 

For an organization that repeatedly claims to be ‘fighter first’ we now truly see how PFL treats their fighters, especially their legends.”

On Wednesday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Mousasi, a PRIDE, UFC, and Bellator veteran and longtime fan favorite, expressed frustration with being on ice, unable to get a fight booked.

“They said that the amount [of money I get paid], we don’t want to cut you, it’s so much, that it’s better for you, I don’t know, look somewhere else or do something else,” Mousasi said on the show (via MMA Fighting). ”

That’s when the threat of legal action came up, given the promotion seemed unwilling to honor his contract, while being equally unwilling to release the star.

“At this moment, I’m like, listen, if someone doesn’t want me, I’m like, ‘F*ck it. Let’s go.’ But my team around me is like, ‘F*ck it, we’ll sue them.’ If it was up to me, I would just go, but I don’t know. We’ll see. The team around me is not that happy. So I think there is going to be legal action against them.”

Mousasi added that he felt disrespected by the fact that the PFL “don’t even want to pick up the phone and talk to us. It’s not even funny anymore. It’s the worst organization so far. I’ve fought in a lot of organizations, this is the worst one.”

On the Weighing In podcast, also on Wednesday, PFL Founder Donn Davis appeared to address those comments or at least others like them, saying that he was “shocked. Not surprised. Shocked is after surprised, that we were able to give 96, 97, 98 percent of fighters two fights this year, given we closed this deal in December.”

Still, on Thursday, PFL and Bellator social media channels announced that Mousasi had been released.

“Bellator has released Gegard Mousasi from his agreement,” a brief statement read. “We wish him all the best in his next fighting chapter.”

The statement was signed by Mike Kogan, Head of PFL Fighter Operations.

Mousasi (49-9-2), 38, has been competing professionally since 2003, and while he may not have a long career ahead of him with retirement looming, he still remains a marketable name in combat sports.