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No longer ‘brainwashed,’ former free agent UFC fighters talk about picking Bellator: ‘They took so much money from us’

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Free agency in mixed martial arts (MMA) is alive and well.

What was once thought of as a crazy dream, top fighters can now look elsewhere other than Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to collect a paycheck for punching people in the face. Sure, that option has always existed; however, a few years ago, if you weren’t with UFC, you weren’t considered to be fighting at the the highest level.

That’s the reason all up-and-comers and talented veterans wanted to either make it to the Octagon or keep plying their trade in the eight-walled cage to prove their worth. For some, though — despite all of their talent — their worth wasn’t showing up in their bank accounts.

Accordingly, over the last two years, plenty of fighters have left UFC to sign contracts with other organizations. Specifically, Bellator MMA, which is UFC’s biggest rival. And with the backing of a powerful, rich corporation like Viacom, Scott Coker and Co. are able to pay said fighters what they perhaps couldn’t get with UFC.

Bleacher Report’s Mike Chiappetta recently dove into the free agency world, speaking to several prominent fighters who left to Bellator MMA once their UFC contracts were up to see if the grass was indeed greener. As Matt Mitrione put it, once he had an eye-opening conversation with UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta in which he was told that he company was selling the production and the show (not the fighters), he knew it was time to bolt:

“The MMA business is very similar to the NFL business. There’s no promise of loyalty. If you’re not expecting the business aspect of things, you’ll get your feelings hurt. I guess I’m the same way. I’m hurt because I displayed loyalty and none was given back. I guess it’s just human nature to expect to give and ….View full article

Source:: mma mania