Whisper it but the UFC is facing a revolt from within. First of all, bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo retired because the company wouldn’t meet his pay demands. Then Jon Jones threatened to vacate the light-heavyweight title after the UFC refused to improve his contract for a super fight against Francis Ngannou.

Now Jorge Masvidal has added his voice to the growing ranks of dissent. In short, he’s not happy with the current situation and took aim at UFC President Dana White. To sum up, if they don’t pay him what he feels he is worth, then he is ready to step away from the sport.

The last time Masvidal fought was against Nate Diaz for the BMF title. Everybody expected him to fight for the title against Kamaru Usman next, but that hasn’t materialized. However, his row with the UFC looks to have cost him that, with Gilbert Burns jumping the queue.

Stop Playing

Masvidal basically accused the UFC of lying to fighters about the cost of the current health crisis. He also effectively accused the organization of hypocrisy through the unsupported claim that they are buying an island. Masvidal wrote:

“Don’t tell me about a pandemic when reports today show highest stock market has ever been. Everybody getting back to work and you buying an island. Stop playing us and the fans #theawakening.”

Deal With It

White responded to Masvidal in a press conference but the ATT fighter won’t like his words. He compared the situation of UFC fighters to NFL players, saying that because they are independent contractors they don’t have to fight if they don’t want to. Of course, the ‘independent contractors’ label is controversial because fighters are not free to compete in other promotions or wear their own sponsors.

“I think everybody wants more money,” White said. “I think everybody wants more money in all these other sports. Masvidal says, ‘You’ve got enough money to buy islands.’ Let me repeat for the f**king billionth time: I did not buy an island, OK? We did not buy an island.”

“Anybody that doesn’t want to fight doesn’t have to fight, including Masvidal and Jon Jones and all these other guys,” White added. “It doesn’t have to be because of the pandemic. These guys are independent contractors. This isn’t like the NFL where I can make you: ‘You come to practice and you do this or you’re going to get fined or you’re going to get this.’ These guys can do whatever they want. They can say whatever they want.”


But ‘Gamebred’ took issue with this. He responded directly to White’s words. First of all, he targeted the lack of revenue UFC fighters receive. He believes that the UFC needs to step up because they are treating their athletes unfairly.

“Please don’t compare us to these other leagues,” Masvidal. “I wish we can negotiate for less pay like the other leagues where the players get half the revenue they generate. We are negotiating from like what 12% to maybe 18% of revenue we generate? We are negotiating down from way under 50% of the revenue. I don’t get paid on the hot dog you sell in the arena or the logo on the cage. I’ve never made a dollar on the ticket you sell. I get punched in the face for a living and even I know the pandemic or what’s left of it has nothing to do with it.”

This crisis looks set to rumble on. It will be interesting to see if any more high-profile fighters join the ranks of dissenters. It’s a dangerous time for the promotion because Jones and Masvidal are two of their biggest active draws. How can you make stars if you’re not willing to pay fighters their due?

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