Polish promotion KSW has responded to former welterweight champion Dricus du Plessis’ claims that the organization has refused to release him from his contract.

In an interview with MMA Junkie, Du Plessis (14-2) revealed that he has been offered numerous deals from other organizations, including the UFC. But the South African said his current promotion, KSW, won’t release him from his contract like they have previously with former KSW fighter and current UFC welterweight David Zawada.

Du Plessis’ contract is due to expire in December 2020, and the 26-year-old, who also holds two titles for South African promotion EFC, stated that he was disappointed with some of the remarks KSW owner Maciej Kawulski had made that suggested he was a difficult fighter to promote.

In a statement issued to MMA Junkie, KSW addressed Du Plessis’ contract situation, claiming that Du Plessis has not been honoring his contract by recently withdrawing from several bouts. KSW also addressed Kawulski’s comments towards the promotion of the South African fighter.

Below is the full statement:

The situation is much more complicated than just KSW not willing to release Dricus Du Plessis from his contract.

Initially, we signed Dricus in late 2017, and after a couple of good performances and great fights, we offered him a new deal. So in December of 2018, Dricus signed a new and improved contract agreement with KSW. However, he has only fought for us once since then, and not because of KSW not giving him fights.

In January of 2019, we offered Dricus a bout against former KSW welterweight champion, and one of KSW’s biggest stars, Borys Mankowski. The fighter accepted the bout, and we announced this fight as one of the main events. But later, Dricus informed us that he can no longer make welterweight and asked for a 82-kilogram (approximately 181 pounds) catchweight. We tried to save the fight, and Mankowski (a small welterweight, who has now dropped to lightweight) was even willing to accept an 80-kilogram (approximately 176 pounds) catchweight, but Du Plessis still could not make it, and we had to find a replacement for him.

Dricus then moved to middleweight, and we were OK about this decision. We booked him at middleweight for the ‘KSW 50: London’ event in September of 2019, and he defeated Joilton Lutterbach in spectacular fashion. After this, we agreed with his manager Michael Milan that once he fulfills his obligations for South African promotion EFC and defended his belt there, Dricus would get a big fight for KSW on the first show of 2020 in March.

However, that’s when our relationship got complicated. We offered Dricus a fight against Michał Materla, another former KSW champion and one of the three biggest stars of the sport in Poland. The fighter informed us he has problems with his hand and might not able to fight. We waited more than a week for him to do the medical tests, but he never sent us the results. Meanwhile, we learnt that a different manager, Daniel Rubenstein, had been offering and negotiating contracts with different promotions for Dricus, even though he was still under contract with KSW.

Finally, Dricus did not take the fight against Materla and asked for a release from his contract from KSW.

As for KSW co-owner Maciej Kawulski’s comments from the “Hejt Park” show on “Kanał Sportowy” on Youtube, Maciej never said that “Dricus was not marketable.” He just said that it’s challenging to market a fighter who has had problems with his weight and does not fight when we offer him bouts. In total Dricus has withdrawn from two announced very big fights for KSW and didn’t accept another citing an unproven injury.

At the end of the day, we feel that we did everything from our side to honor the contract we agreed with Dricus. We have offered him fights, brought him to Poland numerous times for press conferences, media appearances, interviews, video shoots etc, while the other side did not fulfill their obligations stated in the contract.

Meanwhile, Ruby Sports & Entertainment owner Rubenstein took issue with KSW’s description of his effort, telling MMA Junkie that the nature of his client’s contract should have allowed him to leave fo the U.S.

“When Dricus signed with Ruby Sports & Entertainment, our sole goal was to place him in a major American organization, being that his contract with KSW was non-exclusive globally and only barred him from signing a long-term deal with a Polish promotion,” Rubenstein said. “On top of that, Dricus was under the assumption from his previous manager that his contract with KSW had a UFC out clause. Coupled with the fact that KSW has let two fighters go to both UFC and PFL, we had no reason to doubt his previous manager’s claims and thought this was going to be a non-issue.

“I received offers from two of the three major American promotions, to go back to KSW and try to secure Dricus’ release, only to be stonewalled by KSW and then see comments in the media from KSW that they weren’t interested in promoting Dricus any longer. We then offered to buy Dricus out of his KSW contract but were told that KSW would be claiming Force Majeure and extending his contract. We feel the relationship with KSW has soured to a point that Dricus will never feel comfortable fighting for KSW again and wish there was some way to resolve it, but as long as they are unwilling to work with us to secure Dricus’ release, that’s not possible at the moment.”

KSW does not currently have any events scheduled as the promotion, like most all business around the globe, tries to maneuver amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, company officials recently told MMA Junkie they hope to have an announcement very soon.

Where that leaves Du Plessis remains to be seen.