UFC Champ Explains Pay Dispute: ‘They Own Me’

UFC Champion Jorge Masvidal


As UFC stars continue to make waves over fighter pay and other issues, last year’s consensus Fighter of the Year, “BMF” champ Jorge Masvidal, continued his public campaign to make more money for his next fight. Masvidal followed Saturday night’s appearance on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” with some explanatory social media posts about what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.

“I can’t leave,” Masvidal posted via Twitter. “They own me until they cut me or I fight out my contract.”

The rest of the welterweight’s explanation wasn’t any more flattering to the UFC than that.

“I’m in a contract that I had to take to get paid,” Masvidal said. “Same way I got a new contract to fight till. Then a new contract to fight Nate [Diaz]. They keep extending the amounts of fights to my contract to keep me locked up and when I say I only want a 4 fight contract it’s take it or leave it.”

Masvidal revealed the way the UFC works its contracts was something that left even fighters like him, one of the biggest stars in the sport, without much room to negotiate.

“The negotiation is take it or leave it,” Masvidal said. “If I lose you can cut me and not pay out the rest of the contract. If I win I’m not in a position to renegotiate the contract? My dad left a communist regime and has prepared me my whole life.”

Finally, the 35-year-old from Miami, Florida, the first-and-only UFC “BMF” champ in history, asked probably the most important question of all.

“Why are all the major names having issues?” Masvidal asked. “Conor [McGregor], [Jon] Jones, [Henry] cejudo. We have to take it or retire. I love fighting and this is the fight of our lives.”

McGregor, Jones, Cejudo and Masvidal All Made Major Moves

Four of the biggest draws in the sport, including the fighter who has sold more pay-per-view fights than any other UFC athlete in history, Conor McGregor, have all announced major moves over the last month.

McGregor shockingly announced his retirement over the weekend just about a week after UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones decided to vacate his 205-pound title. Both fighters claimed the negotiating tactics UFC president Dana White had used were a large part, if not the whole reason, they were making those choices.

And former UFC “champ champ” Henry Cejudo did something very similar after stopping Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 on May 9. Instead of going on the public campaign for more money like Masvidal is doing now, Cejudo simply announced he was retiring from the sport over the issue.

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Masvidal Suggests UFC Lied About Title Fight Negotiations

Perhaps most troubling to the UFC, at least in the court of public opinion right now, is that Masvidal seemed to imply the company was telling both he and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman the reason their assumed welterweight title fight couldn’t be booked was that the other was asking for more money.

Indeed, both Masvidal and Usman have said multiple times over the last few months that they accepted their side of the deal but were told by the UFC that the other fighter wanted more money.

Masvidal confirmed that’s what the UFC told him during the failed negotiations and suggested that it was all by design.

“That’s what they told me,” Masvidal replied. “Playing us both.”

READ NEXT: Conor McGregor Explains Retirement: ‘Nothing There for Me’

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