CAPE TOWN – Former Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) welterweight champion Gunther Kalunda has confirmed that his team will “sit down and have a chat” with the South African-based MMA promotion after he was stripped of his title earlier on Wednesday.
In response to EFC reports, which included acts of “unprofessionalism”, along with alleged refusal to defend his title, the DRC’s Kalunda hit back: “I am waiting for my lawyer to come back from overseas, then I will deal with them (the EFC).
“It’s illegal to be stripping me of my titles and to publish it. I didn’t refuse to defend my title.
“I told them I am ready to defend against anyone at any time. The true problem is about my purse (money).”
Kalunda (5-0) was yet to defend his title after beating Brazil’s Jose da Rocha in their interim championship fight at EFC73. According to EFC officials, Kalunda pocketed R30 000 that night.
The former champion was then set to take on then two-division champion and world- renowned Mzansi star Dricus du Plessis to unify the belt, before the latter relinquished his welterweight title to focus on the middleweight division.
According to the EFC, Kalunda has since turned down every chance to fight.
“We have been struggling to put a fight together for Gunther for months now,” explained EFC VP Talent and matchmaker Graeme Cartmell.
“We offered him the winners of the next two biggest welterweight fights (Conrad Seabi vs Luke Michael; and Themba Gorimbo vs Jose da Rocha), and at a rate three times more than what he earned in his interim title fight.”
It is confirmed that the EFC offered him R100 000 to defend his title for the first time, which he has declined.
“While he accepted the opponents, he unfortunately didn’t accept the increase in purse. Unfortunately, he has left us with no choice but to take his title away.
“In addition to not fulfilling his contractual obligations, he was unnecessarily blocking others from getting their chance at earning championship purses.”
Kalunda responded: “I just want to get paid what I feel I deserve as the undefeated champ.
“I sacrifice all my jobs for my career and this sport, I am not going to allow anyone to play with me.”
According to the EFC statement released today, Kalunda was also seen throwing and tarnishing his R50 000-valued championship belt at EFC77 during an altercation in the foyer.
Host and commentator Cyrus Fees also highlighted SuperSport broadcasting footage of Kalunda dousing American fans’ celebrations, telling them to sit down after the USA’s Jared Vanderaa overcame Kalunda’s countryman Ricky Misholas in their heavyweight title bout.
Following the news of Kalunda’s title-stripping, a welterweight Grand Prix between the top four challengers will decide who will reign supreme as the next EFC welterweight champion.
The four title contenders who will be battling it out in a Grand-Prix style competition are Luke Michael (4-3) against Conrad Seabi (6-2) at EFC78 in Cape Town, before Themba Gorimbo (6-2) takes on Jose da Rocha (10-5) at Carnival City in May at EFC79.
The tournament finals will take place at a date and venue still to be announced.@juliankiewietz