Rockhold, who is set to compete against Paulo Costa at UFC 278 on Saturday night, took aim at the UFC president while speaking with the media on Wednesday. Rockhold has been a vocal supporter of increasing fighter pay and benefits for active and retired UFC combatants.
And he didn’t pull any punches during media day.
“These guys don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re letting Dana just run the show and suppress the sport,” Rockhold said via MMA Junkie. “They need to grow. This whole f****** thing needs to grow together. Our lives are on the f****** line. Healthcare needs to be taken care of. Our f****** health needs to be taken care of. Mine has not been taken care of.”
White Called Rockhold’s Words ‘F****** Gibberish,’ Said UFC Athletes Have ‘Unbelievable’ Health Coverage Provided to Them
In an interview with TSN ahead of Saturday night’s UFC 281, White responded to the former 185-pound king’s take. The UFC president said the promotion had been working on health benefits “since day one” and that Rockhold had been “taken care of” when he was struggling with injuries.
Rockhold has suffered a bevy of injuries during his 15-year-long professional mixed martial arts career, including to his back and knee. Since Rockhold has been on the UFC roster, White said the promotion has covered him.
So, the UFC president said what Rockhold was championing about health compensation was “f****** gibberish.”
“Luke Rockhold was above and beyond taken care of with the issues that he had here,” White said. “I don’t give a s*** what health insurance plan you have, they would have never covered the things that we covered for Luke Rockhold when he was going through his stuff. Everything he said was absolute f****** gibberish and absolute bulls***.”
White went on to say that every fighter competing for the UFC received “unbelievable healthcare.”
“Everybody who fights here gets unbelievable healthcare,” White said. “Unbelievable healthcare. I mean, we don’t even sew people up with regular doctors. If it’s bad enough, we send them to plastic surgeons to get sewn up.”
Rockhold & Costa Went Back & Forth During the UFC 278 Pre-Fight Press Conference
Rockhold isn’t just at odds with the UFC president. There has been no love lost between Rockhold and his opponent, Costa, during the build-up to their UFC 278 match. And at the event’s pre-fight press conference on Thursday, the two verbally went at it.
“This motherf****** didn’t want to take the fight in the first place,” Rockhold said via MMA Fighting. “The UFC forced it down his throat and then he delayed it twice, month after month and all the cosmetic bulls*** he got done. You little b****, shut up.”
“Come on, this guy is too old to say this kind of bulls***. Come on,” Costa replied. “You are too old to say this kind of bulls***.
“He can say this bulls***. I don’t feed on an older man like he is. It doesn’t matter on the day of the fight. We will be close in the same cage, just me and him and we will see who has more energy, who has more power and more will to win this fight.”
Rockhold last fought in July 2019 when he moved up to the 205-pound division and battled Jan Blachowicz. His debut in the new weight class didn’t go as planned for Rockhold, however, as he suffered a second-round KO to the future light heavyweight champion.
Rockhold will look to snap a two-fight losing streak against Costa as he moves back down to the division he once ruled. Costa is also on a two-bout skid, dropping back-to-back defeats to Marvin Vettori and current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.