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Look Out For Hicham El Gaoui

There are many talented kickboxers that are seemingly hidden in obscurity. Fighters often fly under the radar. Basically, if you're not fighting on the biggest stages of the sport, not many people know who you are or have heard of you. Enter Hicham El Gaoui.

The lanky Dutch-Moroccan fighter has been flying under the radar now for a while, slowly building his resume. This past weekend he defeated Alexander Stetsurenko, a top fighter around the 80kg range at the Tatneft Cup 2011 Finals. That's not all. Last month, he beat L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni, one of the more popular fighters in his weight class. He also holds a win over Sahak Parparyan, the current It's Showtime 85MAX World Champion. I'd say it's time Hicham El Gaoui gets some recognition.

On first look, I wasn't that impressed until I stumbled upon his more recent fights. He's improved a lot and the results are showing on his record. El Gaoui uses his quick kicks, especially the teep to find his range and offset opponents. His hands aren't bad when he opens up with them either, something I think he should do more. You wouldn't really think he's all that if you watched him but he manages to win, and in the ends that's what matters.

El Gaoui is at somewhat of a crossroads. His past two fights have been at 80kg. To fight in bigger shows, he can move down to 77kg or move up to 85kg. I'd honestly think he would suit 85kg quite well. He has the frame to fill in the weight and at 77kg he just seems too lanky. Other tall fighters in the past have been around 77kg and moved up like Ondrej Hutnik, with success.

I don't know what's next for El Gaoui, but I'd hope he gets a shot on a bigger stage. The Tatneft Cup is a start and if he enters next season's tournament, he'd be facing some high level competition often. It's Showtime is probably the most likely, being a Dutch-based organization. A lot of fighters float around on the Dutch scene for quite a long time before getting their shot and El Gaoui just has to keep doing what he's doing and he'll eventually end up on the big stage.

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Bas Rutten's Take on Overeem's Fallout with Golden Glory

Bas RuttenBas Rutten is on a different level, and has been for a very, very long time. Not only a legendary Dutch Kickboxer and Mixed Martial Artist, or a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Bas Rutten has cemented himself as one of the premier commenters on the world of combat sports. He has deep connections all across the world, including connections with the Dutch team Golden Glory. He has made it clear that he is good friends with many inside of Golden Glory, including Alistair Overeem himself. He has been pretty quiet on the recent and very public argument between Alistair Overeem and Golden Glory. That is, until now. This recent interview is from PaulLazenby.com and he does not hold back. Bas talks about what Golden Glory has done for Overeem over the past few years.

It's a money thing. He simply doesn't want to pay the people who made him. When he lost three fights in a row...well, like pretty much 5, I mean, he lost, won, lost three times in a row, won, and lost again...and nobody wanted to have him.

But his management kept pushing and using the power that they have because they have other great fighters. Like, for example [they would say]: "If you want Semmy Schilt to fight, then you have to take Alistair as well."

This is not far fetched if you understand how the Dutch do business. Golden Glory is known for using strong arm tactics for their fighters, using their more popular, desirable fighters for leverage for their struggling fighters. Golden Glory is in business to make money, and when they see a fighter who could be marketable they do their best to get them out into the public and take care of them. Rutten talks about how sudden the split was, and looks at some of the reasons that prompted it.

I KNOW what Golden Glory did for him. He couldn't punch or kick when he came to them, and I mean, HE COULDN'T PUNCH OR KICK! Some fighters get big and then forget who was fighting for them when they were losing. Two months ago, he wanted to make a belt for the Golden Glory team with "FOR CHAMPION MANAGEMENT" engraved on it. Those were HIS words after they made this huge contract for him, and now he says they are morons? He used them to negotiate the best deal and when they did it, now suddenly they are morons? Explain that to me. It's unreal.

Also, a few months ago, when they started to get close to a good deal with the UFC, he realized that he could make a lot of money. The first thing he did was go to Cor Hemmers, his striking coach, and tried to renegotiate the 10% trainer's fee.

If you don't know, Golden Glory's contracts are usually in the 30% range, which includes 20% for management and 10% for the trainers and for use of the training facilities. This was where the problems started, when Alistair wanted to instead negotiate a flat rate for the trainers. Rutten goes on to explain how Martijn de Jong and Cor Hemmers stuck by Overeem and gave him the skills that he needed, building up a long-lasting twelve year relationship.

So anyway, [Hemmers and de Jong] put him back on track, they GAVE him all those skills, they were there from the beginning, and they build him to become the fighter he is now. So for a fighter to go in and trying to renegotiate the 10% trainer's fee is just absurd.

The last part I'm going to include is what Rutten claims Overeem told Martijn de Jong when Martijn told Alistair that they were friends and that he had helped contribute to Alistair's success.

But Alistair said: "Yeah, if we have to talk about people who contributed to my success, then I also have to mention my cleaning lady who cleans my house for eleven and a half Euros an hour."

If true, it is a bit harsh and probably emotionally-driven. Many in the Golden Glory camp feel the same way as Rutten and feel like success, money and the promise of fame have gotten into Alistair's head and altered the way he views his professional relationships. Of course, Overeem's side of the coin is that he is on the verge of becoming a very famous fighter in the United States and has seen how business is done here and feels like it is more fair than how the Dutch do business. If you want to hear more from El Guapo check out the rest of the interview. [source]

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Daniel Ghita Returns on December 10 in Croatia

As he's done in the past, Daniel Ghita took to Facebook today to announce a fight. He announced that he'll be fighting on December 10th in Croatia, his opponent being Mladen Kujundzic.

ghita

The fight can be seen as a tune-up for Ghita, who faces Hesdy Gerges on January 28th in a rematch for the It's Showtime World Heavyweight Title. Kujundzic is a Croatian fighter who has been fighting for Fight Code lately, losing in a competitive fight to Freddy Kemayo. Kujundzic showed that he was a decent fighter to hang with Kemayo, but definitely not anywhere near Ghita's level. The money is on Ghita to take him out in a round or two.

With the K-1 Final 16 falling through, many other fighters have taken to other promotions to secure fights in the gap between October and It's Showtime's January 28th show. A lot of the fighters have found a place on two of SuperKombat's upcoming cards. While there are no details about this card or even the location in Croatia, it's surprising that Ghita isn't also on one of the Superkombat cards, given that it's a Romanian promotion.

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Golden Glory's Cor Hemmers Calls Overeem Situation a "Setup"

Cor HemmersGolden Glory fires yet another shot over the bow in the legal situation that is brewing between former Golden Glory team member Alistair Overeem and Golden Glory management. Overeem claims that Golden Glory was dishonest with him and were bad management to him, while Golden Glory is claiming that Alistair owes them quite a substantial amount of money as per part of his agreement with them. Now MixFight.nl has spoken with Cor Hemmers about the situation, and he feels like Overeem is way out of line.

"The management made a great deal for Alistair with the UFC. Alistair was very happy with this deal himself. During the negotiations the management spoke with Alistair about the changes being made to all of the agreements, and during the final stages of the negotiations both the management and UFC sent Alistair all of the documents for his comments and approval. Alistair went on his way to ZUFFA headquarters in Las Vegas where he would sign the contract himself. And that’s where Alistair decided to change course…”

“I feel it’s a setup” says Cor, “because Alistair wasn’t satisfied with the percentages for the trainers and the management . In fact, he tried to lower the percentages for the trainers when it became clear that his income would increase in the near future. Alistair wanted to discuss a new compensation system more in the form of a fixed fee and not based on percentages. Although we have no say in this – it’s a deal between the management and Alistair – he talked about this with Martijn de Jong and me after a training session. I am disappointed in the way he acts now and the financial proposal that he made to Martijn which was way below the regular percentage for trainers. I have always felt it’s a team effort to get these boys including Alistair to the highest level of the sport."

He ends the interview with "a contract is a contract," which seems to be the prevailing mindset within the camp. From what Cor says here, it appears that Overeem was looking to alter his contract with Golden Glory to make it look more like a management contract from the United States, including paying the trainers separately, based on a flat fee as opposed to the percentage of the management contracts that they are currently paid per fighter. We'll have more on this story when it is available. [source]

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