Sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to and an unfortunate surprise forges your path in a new direction. That seems to be the case for former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky, as he returns to regional action and makes his 125-lb debut at CFFC 24 vs. Claudio Ledesma.
Makovsky lost a split decision to Anthony Leone back in December at Bellator 83. It was his second consecutive loss after losing his belt to Eduardo Dantas several months earlier and the first losing streak of his career. He was looking for answers—future fights—and suddenly, another promotion to fight for.
“I was very surprised at the release, explained Makovsky as a guest recently on Darce Side Radio.
After waiting over a year to defend his title in the loss to Eduardo Dantas, Makovsky said, “They really weren’t going to give me another fight in 2012.” He also explained he had to “beg” to get another fight, which was the loss to Anthony Leone.
“I lost a split decision, Makovsky said. “It is what it is. I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t think I would be released.”
Two weeks later, he was given his release from the promotion. Makovsky never spoke much about it, but his good friend Eddie Alvarez spoke up recently on Twitter about how Bellator bullied him into taking less money for his last fight.
Not to mentioning how @zachfunsize WAs bullied to take a smaller pay day than contextually agreed or just sit.after being champ— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) May 4, 2013
Makovsky shed some light on that and his release:
So I had a price range in my contract, which is what I fight for. If you win, your purse goes up by a $1,000; if you lose, it’s supposed to stay the same. I signed an additional part to the contract before my fight with Dantas. If I would win that fight with Dantas, my pay scale would have increased significantly and if I lost the fight to Dantas, it would’ve gone back to where it was originally.
Makovsky lost the fight to Dantas and his purse was “supposed to stay the same.” According to Makovsky, that isn’t what happened.
They sent me the contract and it was for $2,000 on the show and $2,000 less on the win bonus each from what I believed my pay scale was at. So I called my manager and said, 'What’s going on?' and he said, ‘I’m going to call them and figure this out.’ Because he is one who negotiated the additional part of the contract for me. He came back and said, 'They said they can’t afford to pay you what your pay scale is.'
At this point, Makovsky had only fought three times in almost two years, and he wasn’t exactly making huge money. He didn’t want to “sit out and make zero money,” so he had a tough decision on his hands.
They basically ended up telling me that if I wanted to fight this year that this is what they could offer and it was up to me if I wanted to accept it or not. I’d only fought Dantas that year. I lost, so I didn’t make my win bonus. This is what I’m doing full time, so I really needed at least one more fight. I regretfully accepted those terms. I would’ve done it again. It was just not exactly fair. That’s really the only issue I had with Bellator. Bellator always treated me very well up until that point, but I don’t understand why they did that. Over $2,000 and $2,000—I mean, what are they offering some of the other guys?
Before the fight with Anthony Leone, Makvosky explained he “added in a clause to keep him more active,” where he would get “at least three fights in 14 months.”
Not only was it hard to deal with the loss, as it is with any fighter, but that same clause would turn out to be one of the reasons Bellator stated for his release. Sounds like a perfect example of adding insult to injury.
“What they said was they released me because of the loss, and because they couldn’t keep me active enough from what my contract said, that was the other reason they gave," Makovsky explained. “If you can’t give fighters three fights in 14 months…You are the second-biggest promotion out there. Figure it out.”
Telling words by the former champion known as “Funsize.” He explained, “It wasn’t the manner in which he wanted but kind of the result he wanted.” A move to 125 was something he had thought about, and a desire to fight more often wasn’t exactly a mystery.
Do you think Makovsky will make it to the UFC's 125lb division?
Unless you’re in a tournament, you fight very rarely in Bellator. They pretty much only have time to run tournaments and the title fights. If you are not involved in a current tournament, you are pretty much not active as a fighter. I needed to get more fights in and 125 was a good option for me, and now it’s becoming a more popular weight class.
So Makovsky returns to regional action in New Jersey for the first time since fighting for the Adrenaline promotion back in February of 2010. He explained that signing to Cage Fury Fighting Championship wasn’t a difficult decision.
“I was obviously looking for a new promotion to fight for," Makovsky said. “CFFC has always been probably the best promotion in the Northeast. They have great shows. They have a lot of good fighters. They’re broadcast on cable TV on Comcast. It was kind of an easy choice.”
Makovsky is a tireless worker and consummate student of the game. He has been splitting up his time at Martinez BJJ in northeast Philadelphia, Marcelo Garcia’s Academy in New York City and has made several trips up to the famed Tri-Star Gym in Montreal, Canada.
“Funsize” appears to be excited about the new direction his path has taken and the opportunity and challenge that awaits him. It may not have been the way he originally intended it to be, but he seems to have a bigger sense of freedom in his continued journey to be an ever-improving mixed martial artist.
It begins at CFFC 24 vs. Claudio Ledesma on Saturday night.
I wanted to continue to develop, which I think is the most important thing that I continue to do—fight people who are going to push me and make me get better. I think this is the right path. I’m very happy to be with the CFFC and happy to have a tough opponent like Claudio.
Michael Stets is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.