Hayes Out of McCorkle Fight; Promoter Blames Management

By Jesse Denis Jul 20, 2011
MIAMI -- Just days before Championship Fighting Alliance stages its second event at U.S. Century Bank Arena, the promotion announced that its slated heavyweight main event between UFC veteran “Big Sexy” Sean McCorkle and Strikeforce and Bellator Fighting Championships vet Mike Hayes has fallen apart.

Hayes (Pictured, file photo), who is currently signed with Bellator, has been forced to withdraw from the Saturday night bout due to his contractual obligations with the Chicago-based company.

“No one should sign with Bellator,” the colorful McCorkle told Sherdog.com. “They will give you verbal permission and no written permission when it’s time to fight. I know Hayes didn’t want to pull out of the fight.”

CFA CEO Jorge de la Noval placed no blame on Bellator, but rather on Hayes’ management.

“Bellator is just protecting their real estate,” de la Noval explained. “His management is not doing a good job with him. How are you going to lock a client into a multi-year contract with no guarantees of a fight any time in the near future? ... Bellator hasn’t given him a fight for 10 months. How is he supposed to provide for his family?”

Stepping in for Hayes will be Rochester, Minn.’s Cameron Befort, who carries a 6-3 pro MMA mark with four straight wins.

“I took the fight on a week’s notice,” Befort told the assembled press. “Actions speak louder than words and I will upset McCorkle.”

The show’s co-headlining lightweights, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner Efrain Escudero and unbeaten local Mike Rio, had nothing but compliments for one another.

“We’re both game fighters, and I know this is going to be ‘Fight of the Night,’” Rio proclaimed.

“We both love to do it. We’re gonna have a great time,” Escudero added.

The lightweight division will play a prominent role on the card elsewhere, as CFA will begin its 155-pound championship tournament with eight up-and-coming lightweights.

The tournament brackets will see unbeaten Floridian Patrick Cenoble meet Georgian Jerrid Burke, Ohio’s Trent McCown facing 8-0 Minnesotan Zachary Juusola, Christopher Garcia taking on Mike George, and Yosilandy Izquierdo squaring off against Jayson Jones.

“You can't have a favorite in this tournament because they’re all hungry and are all going to show up to fight,” said de la Noval. “We will put all of our marketing and promotion behind the winner.”
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