Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt has been dealing with a back injury since 2017. It was the primary reason for his first pullout for his originally scheduled title defense against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213 in July of the past year.
That fight was then moved to UFC 217 four months later, where Garbrandt lost the title to his former teammate via second round knockout. During Monday’s UFC 227 pre-fight media day, “No Love” revealed that he was actually on the fence about fighting at UFC 217, but was forced to go through with it due to financial reasons.
“What can I do? I pulled out of the fight [for their first date in July]. I had a wife that was pregnant,” Garbrandt said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I fought Dominick Cruz for $200,000 a year before that. I’m trying to buy a house, I’m trying to get insurance, all the things you’re thinking you made it, you’re a world champion and you’ve got all this f—ng money but we’re not, man. I understand you have to build your way up to it and it’s good, but, I couldn’t pull out.”
“Two weeks before the fight, I had to go to Vegas and get eight epidurals shot in my back so I could heal up and go to the fight week in New York,” he added. “I don’t regret anything. I’m blessed, being able to be here with now. And I’m healthy and that’s the thing, I’m so excited to be here and speak to you guys, I’m excited to be getting into the Octagon.”
Given how much a UFC fighter makes per outing, Garbrandt defends everyone who has demanded for “money fights”, as he also calls for a change in the system.
“You have to live life and now I have to take care of my family. That’s why you see all these fighters who want these money fights. You can’t blame them,” Garbrandt said. “They go in there and literally take years off our life. For what, $40,000? $50,000, some of these fighters are coming in 10 and 10 so, what, if they get their ass beat and make what, $10,000?”
“It’s crazy, man. You’ve got NHL players and MLB players making millions and millions and millions and we’re the fastest growing sport in the world. Something’s gotta change.”
Garbrandt is scheduled to face Dillashaw in a title rematch, as they headline UFC 227 this weekend, August 4th, in Los Angeles. The card will be co-headlined by another title rematch between flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo.