[Updated] A Dream In Danger – How CFA Is Keeping Yoislandy ‘Cuba’ Izquierdo Out Of The UFC
CageJunkies has just learned that Championship Fighting Alliance’s official matchmaker, Greg Bloom, has stepped down from his position with the company due to what he feels is the mistreatment of Izquierdo by the promotion. Bloom had been the promotion’s matchmaker since its inception last year.
When reached for comment earlier today CFA CEO Jorge De La Noval told CageJunkies that he is currently recording a video response to the allegations brought forth by Izquierdo and his management, and will provide it to us as soon as it is available.
Yoislandy ‘Cuba’ Izquierdo is a dreamer. Born in communist Cuba under the oppressive Castro regime, Izquierdo dreamed of one day being free and not suffering under the whims of a dictator that controlled his every move. In 2008 that dream became a reality when Izquierdo defected from Cuba and came to the United States. After arriving in South Florida, Izquierdo soon began training to chase after a new dream, the dream of one day fighting in the UFC.
But today that dream is in danger because of the fighter’s previous professional home, Championship Fighting Alliance, (CFA) and what Izquierdo’s manager Alfred Munoz believes are unfair practices of the promotion. As CageJunkies initially reported on January 7th, the UFC had taken notice of the undefeated lightweight and signed the fighter to make his debut on UFC on Fuel TV 1: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger, which is scheduled for February 15th. Munoz explained to CageJunkies that he had brokered the deal with UFC and initially received the blessing of CFA CEO Jorge De La Noval to allow the promotion’s reigning lightweight champion make the jump. De La Noval was so ecstatic about Izquierdo’s jump that he went in front of the CFA roster on January 7th and took credit for the signing and followed by going on Facebook and Twitter sharing the news.
It was a few days after the announcement of Izquierdo’s bout with Bernando Maldehays that things started to sour between the promotion and fighter. When Izquierdo had originally signed with CFA in June of last year he signed a contract that Munoz said was re-negotiated but never finalized as De La Noval was too busy. After the announcement the promotion chose not to recognize the verbal agreement and instead went back to the original contract which would not allow Izquierdo to leave for the UFC until making two title defenses. Making matters worse, the promotion insisted that Izquierdo fight for less than what his contract stipulated.
At wits end, Munoz who believes he has acted in good faith throughout this ordeal made one final plea to the CFA for terms that would allow his client to be released from his contract and move up in his career. The answer that came back was startling, 25% of the fighter’s purse and sponsorships spanning his entire UFC career. Shocked, Munoz offered to pay 10% of Izquierdo’s show and win purse, as well as 10% of the fighter’s sponsorship money for two fights. Fighter and manager prepared for the worst, received CFA’s heartbreaking reply early this afternoon, ‘we want Cuba back in CFA’. More than that Izquierdo’s sponsors will be required, like all sponsors supporting fighters in the promotion, to pay the promotion a fee above what it is already investing in the fighter.
Ultimately more is at stake in this struggle than a fight. Yoislandy, who is a father of two, is in a struggle for his very future. Forced to remain in a promotion that has not honored a verbal commitment, ‘Cuba’ must now defend a title, which had already been vacated and was promised to two other fighters to battle for. Stopped from joining the promotion at the apex of the sport, hoping that he will be allowed the opportunity again to compete at the top of the food chain. The struggle that Yoislandy ‘Cuba’ Izquierdo faces is much greater than any one fight, this is a struggle to keep his very dream alive. For his part Munoz has not stopped fighting for Izquierdo’s dream, telling CageJunkies, “They may have won the first battle, but we will win the war.”
CageJunkies will keep you up to date as more news becomes available on this story.
Editors Note: CageJunkies has reached out to Championship Fighting Alliance for their side of the story but have yet to receive an ‘official’ response. CEO Jorge De La Noval has posted that the promotions response is forthcoming.