Tyson Nam signed a contract with Bellator but never fought for the promotion. He did, however, fight with the promotion after knocking out its bantamweight champion in a non-title bout last August at Shooto Brazil 33.
Following the win over Eduardo Dantas, Nam began taking offers from various promotions, including the UFC and World Series of Fighting. Bellator officials then invoked a matching clause, which they argued gave them the right to match any offer he received. The move caught Nam off guard.
“I read it front to back,” he said of the contract he signed with Bellator. “I made sure that I had all of my attorneys reading it as well. Everything looked good. Going over that contract, we never thought anything like that would happen. They promised me certain things which they didn’t come through with. To me knowledge, they said, ‘Hey, you’re released.’ When someone tells you you’re released, then you’re thinking you’re free and clear to go wherever you want to go. It was just bad on their part that I was supposed to be a highlight reel for Eduardo Dantas, but I kind of flipped the switch on them.”
The fact that Nam hadn’t even fought in Bellator also irked him.
“I actually lost money because the tournament that they promised me, I had to go off and get medicals, get CAT scans, blood work done, and it actually cost me money,” he said. “I was really upset that they would actually come back at me this way.”
Nam knocked out Dantas just 1:36 into the first round. His disagreement with Bellator lasted a bit longer, but he learned from the experience.
“I learned a lot of patience,” Nam said. “Good things come to those who wait. I played out a little bit of a waiting game. I let all my agents, attorneys, coaches go to work for me, and in the end we came out right where we wanted to be.”
Eventually Nam agreed to a multi-fight deal with World Series of Fighting. He didn’t hesitate to sign it either.
“They’re the promotion that actually helped get me out of the Bellator situation,” he said. “I’m actually all in it for them.”
Now, after roughly half a year on the sidelines, he’s set to take on Marlon Moraes on Saturday at WSOF 2. He was watching in November when Moraes earned a split decision over former WEC champion Miguel Torres at WSOF 1. The WSOF 2 undercard streams live and free on Sherdog.com.
“I was very surprised as well as a lot of fans,” Nam said. “Miguel got pretty much outclassed all the way around by Marlon. I thought Miguel was going to win, not going to lie, but as that fight kept on going, I was like, ‘Man.’ I knew that Marlon was a good fighter as well, but he definitely made everybody think about him a little bit more after that fight.”
Nam didn’t exactly notice many holes in Moraes’ game against Torres, but the impressive performance did inspire him to get in the gym and get ready. Come Saturday, he’s expecting a battle, but at least it will take place in the cage.
“I’ve been a very happy man for a few months now after all that [with Bellator] was done,” Nam said. “It was just a real big sigh of relief that we can put that behind. We can actually concentrate on the fight that’s coming up.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:23:33).