The answer is a lot more than you could probably imagine.
Perhaps you heard about the current squabble between Roy Nelson and Roy Jones Jr. over a contract that he signed before competing on a hybrid boxing/MMA card put on by Roy Jones' promotional company. Jones felt so strongly that Nelson and the UFC violated the contract that he took the matter to court.
Unfortunately, the court date is tentatively set for January—January 2012. That's obviously a huge chunk of time that Nelson has been deemed "unable to compete for the UFC."
So what is Roy Nelson turning to, to hopefully make money during his extended break in action? Why, pro wrestling of course.
Whether or not Nelson is completely serious about this WWE cameo, it makes a ton of sense for "Big Country." While the contract situation is not entirely known, it would seem that it would only bar Nelson from competing for other mixed martial arts companies.
The WWE provides a tremendous stage for Nelson to display his over-the-top personality and less-than-stellar physique. Nelson gets paid and the WWE gets a pretty big name to draw viewers, everyone wins.
Now all of this is fine and dandy, but the timing of the lawsuit and Dana White's sudden compliance with the trial is rather alarming. Roy Nelson jumped to the UFC to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Season 10 during the summer of 2009.
Following the taping of the reality show, he fought at the season finale and knocked-out Brendan Schaub, ran through Stefan Struve at UFC Fight Night 12 and then lost an inspiring decision to Junior Dos Santos at UFC 117 in August.
UFC 117 took place on Aug. 7. The news of the trial began to be reported by most major mixed martial arts on Aug. 2. Unless Roy Jones is just stupendously slow with filing lawsuits, he waited almost a full year and a half to contest the contract signed by Nelson.
Maybe the contract for The Ultimate Fighter didn't break any agreements signed by Jones and Nelson and the first time Nelson actual breached the contract was when he fought Schaub in December. That would still be eight months between the fight and when the trial was reported.
What made Jones finally press legal action? Could the promised title shot to the victor of the Junior Dos Santos/Roy Nelson bout have brought so much attention to the chubby heavyweight that Jones finally figured out he was losing out on a good chunk of income?
Was he just trying to draw media attention away from the already-hyped UFC 117 and towards his minor promotion? Maybe Jones was just lazy or really slow to act. Whatever the reason, something seems to be up.
Let's just say it took Jones a while to get the necessary paperwork to file the suit—the government has always been a pain to deal with. Then how do we explain the actions of Dana White? Once the trial was announced he forged forward with the planned bout of Dos Santos and Nelson.
Nelson lost out on his title shot and was relatively out of sight and mind until his proposed bout with Shane Carwin at UFC 125 came forth. Nelson/Carwin was supposed to add a much needed shot of excitement to a card headlined by Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard, two guys who aren't exactly huge draws.
Then Carwin had to pull out of the fight. The UFC/WEC merged and Jose Aldo, the Brazilian firecracker, was placed as the co-main event to defend his title against Josh Grispi. Suddenly the UFC didn't need Nelson anymore and he was pulled from the card despite multiple fighters campaigning to replace the injured Carwin.
Both Mirko "Cro Cop" and Frank Mir expressed interest in the bout, but the UFC would have none of that. After being pulled from the bout, White announced the pending lawsuit and the fact that Nelson would not be competing on a UFC card until the matter is resolved.
So why the change of heart? Did White finally listen to the suit? Or was Nelson just no longer needed? If the latter is true, than it represents some very shrewd business decisions by the always grating White.
He finally determined that the possible return on backing Nelson and putting him to fight was not worth the headaches from Roy Jones Jr. and the pending trial.
Regardless of the trial, the whole thing reeks of something fishy. From Jones waiting so long to file the suit to White's sudden decree of Nelson not being allowed to fight for the organization. It will be quite interesting to see how everything eventually pans out.
If Nelson is unable to continue fighting for the UFC, than the company has lost a big draw. A guy who wasn't afraid to speak his mind. A guy who had fat people everywhere rejoicing. Maybe White's loss will end up being the WWE's gain.
Roy Nelson vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell match? Yeah, I'd watch that.
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