Just a few weeks ago Roy Nelson was preparing for a major heavyweight showdown with Shane Carwin in the co-main event of UFC 125 on New Years Day.
A lot can happen in a few weeks though. First Carwin pulled out injured, then instead of finding a replacement Nelson was pulled from the card altogether. Rumors then emerged that a fight with Brock Lesnar could be on the cards.
Following Saturday’s UFC 122 event Dana White revealed that not only was a Lesnar fight not currently being put together, but that Nelson’s future in the promotion was now in jeopardy.
“These guys go out and sign with these rinky-dink little promotion companies and sign these bad contracts, and let’s just say Roy Nelson is involved in a bad contract right now that he had before,” White said. “There’s a couple of different organizations out there that do it.”
It turns out that before signing up to appear on TUF 10, emerging as the season’s winner, Nelson had signed a contract with Roy Jones Jr’s Square Ring promotion to fight Jeff Monson on the undercard of a boxing event. While he did go through with that fight the word is that the contract he signed also contained options that lock him in longer than just a single fight.
Somehow despite this Nelson has managed to fight three times in the UFC, including his TUF 10 finale win over Brendan Schaub, a TKO victory over Stefan Struve and most recently a defeat to Junior Dos Santos, but it appears that his previous obligations have finally caught up with him, and until the matter is resolved he won’t set foot in the octagon again.
So far Nelson has not commented directly on the situation, but last week in an interview with Bloody Elbow he continued a recent habit of dropping pro-wrestling promotion WWE’s name into the conversation.
“I’ll fight Brock in the UFC because they actually put on fights that the fans want to see”, Nelson tells the site. “If the UFC isn’t up for it and we have to do it in the WWE that’s fine. If Brock still doesn’t want to fight there I guess I’ll take on the Undertaker because I’m sure he’d be happy to fight me. We can do Hell in the Cell or we can even do a complete throwback and sign a Lion’s Den match like Ken Shamrock. I can get paid to act…”
Today Dave Meltzer at The Wrestling Observer helps put the pieces of the puzzle together.
“[The contract dispute] explains why Roy has been talking about Undertaker and Royal Rumble and all that because Roy can’t fight in MMA for anyone except for Roy Jones’s group I guess, which hopefully, you know if you go to court, considering they haven’t run another show, I don’t think they can hold him to that contract. But I think that he’s looking at the idea that … the Roy Jones group when they wrote the contract didn’t include professional wrestling in the contract, so he figures that … if I can’t fight I can go into pro wrestling, not realising that pro wrestling is probably not as easy as he thinks it is and knowing Vince McMahon and everything, I don’t know that Roy Nelson is going to be high on his list of guys that he would want to sign and put into developmental and I can just imagine Roy Nelson in FCW anyway.”
All in all it sounds like a very messy situation, and one that leaves not only Nelson, but also the UFC heavyweight division as a whole somewhat in limbo. Any thoughts of having Nelson Vs the likes of Mir, Carwin and Lesnar next are now scrapped and so reduce the options for fights in the upper half of the weight class.
A switch to WWE doesn’t seem to be a great solution though. I don’t see the pro-wrestling outfit rushing to break out the cheque book for an overweight fighter coming off a loss that doesn’t have a proven PPV track record, and even if they did he’d likely be burning his bridges with the UFC if he went ahead with it.