The End of Danie Van Heerden’s career in the EFC?
By Edrich Pienaar
On 15 September 2016 the EFC suspended Danie van Heerden and stripped him of his Heavyweight title after he posted a controversial image on Facebook about his opponent Elvis Moyo. Since the incident, and subsequent actions by the EFC, the future of Van Heerden’s career in the organization has come into question.
Van Heerden immediately deleted the post and apologised to Moyo, who originally refused to go ahead with their scheduled championship bout at EFC 54 on 15 October 2016. Social media platforms exploded with messages of outrage demanding Van Heerden be stripped of his title. After a meeting at EFC’s head office the EFC acted swiftly by stripping Van Heerden of his title and suspending him from the organization.
In a statement President Cairo Howarth said: “The EFC will not tolerate any form of racism by our athletes. What Danie van Heerden posted was completely unacceptable and we have taken the course of action to strip him of his title. Danie is no longer facing Elvis for the heavyweight title, he is no longer the heavyweight champion and he has been suspended from the organisation.”
After all the backlash received, Van Heerden posted an apology on his Facebook page saying he got caught up in the hype of the fight and apologised to Moyo and anyone who was offended by his comments. Moyo’s coach, Gert Strydom, accepted Van Heerden’s apology and said there will be “no hard feelings (when) we see you in the cage.”
On 3 October 2016, news broke that Van Heerden would take part in a 4 Nations Super Fight extravaganza at the Last Fighter Standing (LFS) South African Championship Finale against Russian fighter Reinis Porozovs on 15 October 2016 (the night he was originally supposed to defend his EFC belt against Moyo).
Shortly after this news broke, Van Heerden issued a statement which read as follow: “At this present moment my dispute with EFC has not been resolved and the resolution is not imminent in the near future. My suspension within the organisation has been publicised and is currently being dealt with through the legal channels and as such I do not know what the future holds in either my career continuing with EFC or future relations between myself and EFC. I do not wish to delve into the legal nitty-gritty, however, following certain conversations which I have had with management of EFC I cannot foresee our relationship improving and getting past this major hurdle. Whether this is a once off fight with LFS or the potential continued relationship, any decisions or statements would now be premature. LFS has thrown me a career lifeline and I am accepting that as both a person and as an athlete especially in light of all my attempts to rectify this unfortunate situation. I would like to thank all the people who have continued to support me through this difficult period and who know me for the person that I am and not this evil racist which unfortunately EFC have painted me as.”
One can only hope that the two parties involved can come to a positive resolution as it would be sad to see the end of the road for a fighter who made his debut at EFC 01, competed in 3 different weight classes (Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight) and won the Heavyweight title at EFC 48.