UFC president Dana White told the media on Tuesday night that former interim lightweight champ Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier had essentially negotiated himself out of his next planned bout against Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson on purpose.
“Listen, there’s a lot of different ways to turn down a fight,” White said per MMA Junkie. “Negotiating yourself out of one is one of the ways you can do it. So for whatever reason, he didn’t want to take this fight. Only he knows that.”
Poirier had previously revealed to ESPN that he was down for the fight against Ferguson so long as he was paid what he thought he was worth for it.
“I just need to be compensated if they want this fight,” Poirier said. “Simple as that.”
When that offer didn’t come, Poirier revealed he was off the card.
“UFC and I didn’t come to terms,” Poirier said per ESPN. “I will not be fighting on Oct. 24.”
UFC 254 Won’t Be as Huge as Originally Planned
Poirier vs. Ferguson was originally slated as the co-main event for UFC 254 on October 24 in Abu Dhabi.
The main event for that card is the riveting 155-pound matchup between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champ Justin Gaethje.
While White said he didn’t want to say anything negative about the popular American lightweight contender, he still ended up giving his opinion on the matter to reporters during the post-fight press conference for the latest installment of “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
“Listen, I like Dustin,” White said per MMA Junkie. “I’m not going to sit up here and say anything negative about Dustin, he’s a great kid. I don’t know if it was he didn’t want to fight in Abu Dhabi or what his deal was – he didn’t want to fight.”
So Poirier vs. Ferguson seems to have been sent to the scrap heap for good, and White said the UFC has moved on by finding another opponent for Ferguson.
That new fight seems close to being officially announced.
“I told you we’ve got a fight,” White said. “I don’t see Tony not accepting the fight.”
Poirier Responded to White’s Comments
Poirier quickly responded to White’s comments about the fighter not wanting the fight against Ferguson.
When asked by MMA Junkie about White’s theory that he had negotiated himself out of the fight, Poirier was quick to dispute that viewpoint.
“I do want that fight,” Poirier said via text message per MMA Junkie. “Simple and plain, I want to fight Tony. I like the matchup.”
Poirier also tweeted a strong statement about the matter.
“I want the fight,” Poirier posted.
Regardless, it doesn’t appear the fight will be salvaged at this point, at least in time for UFC 254.
Poirier and Ferguson could still be on a collision course for some time next year, but it won’t happen at the UFC pay-per-view scheduled for October 24 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
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