I love Steve Cofield, but sometimes he gets it horrifically wrong. Just look at this article, where he says Matt Lindland should be able to return to the UFC soon because he was given the boot over an illegal gambling sponsor. In Steve’s mind, now that the UFC has decided to let Full Tilt Poker into the sponsorship fold, that should erase any wrongdoing on Matt’s part and clear the way for his UFC return.
Hey, sure it would be nice if Lindland was out and continues to be out over some technicality, but the truth of the matter is that Lindland is out because Dana doesn’t like him and Lindand doesn’t like the UFC. The UFC used the illegal gambling sponsor as an excuse to cut Lindland because he was boring / ugly / smelly, and the UFC wanted to protect Rich Franklin (who they felt was significantly less boring / ugly / smelly).
Perhaps if Matt had gone off on his way and kept his mouth shut, he’d already be back in the UFC. But he made such a stink (and continues to do so in interviews, books and movies to this day) that you can pretty much define his career not by his wins and losses but by the fact that the UFC fired him unfairly.
This might have done some good things for the sport … it’s hard to imagine Dana and company cutting another fighter for being ‘boring’ after the Lindland fiasco. But it hasn’t helped Matt get a job back in the UFC. Simply put, you get the distinct impression that Matt Lindland hates the UFC and the UFC doesn’t trust Matt. His dating profile says he enjoys independence, respect, and taking it slow. Dana’s says he likes loyalty, passion, and people who are willing to be his bitch. This is not a relationship Match.com would recommend.
Do I think there’s hope in all this? Not any time soon. Considering Matt has a movie doing the festival circuit right now about how the UFC fucked him over, I think it’s safe to say there’s not going to be further negotiations for a while. It’s a damn shame, but both sides have been dumbasses about the whole thing. So there you go … it’s about WAY more than a gambling sponsor.