PFL releases former Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi from contract following threats of legal action

PFL releases former Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi following threats of legal action

Gegard Mousasi is a free man.

One day after the former Bellator middleweight champion slammed the PFL, calling it “the worst organization” and threatening them with legal action, the promotion’s head of fighter operations, Mike Kogan, confirmed that Mousasi has been released from his contract.

PFL releases Gegard Mousasi

“Bellator has released Gegard Mousasi from his agreement,” Kogan wrote. “We wish him all the best fighting in his next chapter.”

While Mousasi has not yet commented on the situation, his manager, Nima Safapour of Moments Management, referred to the release as “alleged” and called out the promotion for not standing by their “fighter first” mantra.

“We will not comment on the merits of the alleged release at this time for obvious reasons,” Safapour said in a written statement provided to MMA Junkie. “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.”

Gegard Mousasi

Gegard Mousasi’s Threats of Legal action draw a response from pFL founder Donn Davis

Gegard Mousasi has not competed since a unanimous decision loss to Fabian Edwards in May 2023. 11 months prior, he surrendered his Bellator belt to Johnny Eblen. Following the PFL’s acquisition of the promotion late last year, Mousasi has vented his frustration over being shelved, accusing the PFL of refusing to honor his contract by asking him to take a pay cut.

“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 Wednesday on The MMA Hour.

“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.

During a recent appearance on the Weighing In podcast with ‘Big’ John McCarthy and Josh Thomson, PFL founder Donn Davis disputed Mousasi’s claim, suggesting that while they plan to honor every Bellator contract, they can’t guarantee every fighter will get exactly what they’re asking for.

“Occasionally we’ll have a fighter grumble,” Davis said. “It’s one of 205 (fighters we acquired from Bellator). You expect five to 10 percent issues on any deal. You can’t be perfect. You can be 90 to 95 percent. We’ve had a handful of people say, ‘Oh, I wish it went this way, I wish it went that way.’ I’m delighted. I’m very, very proud of how we treated our fighters.

“How we treat our employees. Most of all, the product. We just completed our second (Bellator show) in Paris, which was awesome. We didn’t sit on this for six months. We didn’t take a year off. We didn’t lay off 100 fighters. All the stuff that always happens in all acquisitions. So I just could not be more proud.

“I’ll say two things: One, what I’m super proud of is the market, and anyone you talk to – fighters, business partners, media, mangers – we’re direct, fair and reasonable. 100 percent. That’s my 35 years in business. That’s the culture we’ve built here. So I will say, without commenting out of respect on individual negotiations and specifics situations – we’re direct, fair and reasonable with everybody that we deal with.

“Will everybody’s contract be honored? Of course. Do some people have different ideas of what works and what doesn’t work? Sure. But we’re fair and reasonable with everybody. Will all 205 fighters (from Bellator) have everything fall the way they want? No.”