Tony Ferguson alleges that the UFC paid him a lot less than he thought he was going to get, despite not fighting at UFC 209.
There has already been plenty of confusion surrounding the aborted UFC interim lightweight title fight at UFC 209. When Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced out of the fight after a bad weight cut, many questions were brought up. Would they try to do the fight again soon? What happens with the interim title? Would Tony Ferguson be paid for showing up and making weight?
According to UFC president Dana White, the last question was answered in the affirmative. Sort of. He initially said “we’ve never done that” when asked at the post-fight press conference if Ferguson received his show money for the title fight. Eventually he did say that Ferguson was indeed paid.
But according to Ferguson, it wasn’t nearly as much as he was expecting. El Cucuy told MMA Junkie that he received ‘less than half’ of his $250,000 show money for the title fight.
“I did everything in my power that I could to show up on that scale, and that’s what I thought we were going to do. That’s why you call it show money. And to every fan that’s out there in the world, (UFC President) Dana (White), he said they cut me out a check, and I didn’t get a check, and then this morning I got my wire, and I’m looking at it and I’m like, ‘What the frick, man?’ I’m like, ‘Seriously?’”
It gets weirder though. According to the article, an anonymous UFC official told them that Ferguson had a long meeting with White and was told multiple times how much he was going to get. The info was also relayed to his manager. The reason it was less was due to that salary being tied to a title fight that wasn’t happening.
For his part, Ferguson had a different view of the meeting. He thought he was getting $250,000, and says the amount he got barely covered his training expenses. He was offered a last-minute fight with Michael Johnson, but at a much lower base pay than the title fight, so he declined it.
He then aimed his ire directly at the UFC president:
“I’m not taking a pay cut,” Ferguson said. “Why would I want to take a pay cut? If you give me what I originally showed up for, (expletive) yeah, I’ll give you a badass fight. We’ll save this card.
“He said, ‘We budget for these fights.’ Those are his exact words. So then you had it, but you don’t want to fork it over. That’s like, all right … How am I supposed to like the company I work for if I’m short-changing me? He was telling me he was taking a loss from this, and I’ll bet you he’s somewhere out on his boat, or doing something on his jet, laying $250,000 down on a craps table.”
This isn’t the fin irst time the UFC and Ferguson have butted heads over money. White stated back in December that the fight wasn’t going to happen due to Ferguson’s salary demands, and Khabib even offered to give Ferguson $200,000 to take the bout. Eventually they came to terms, but it’s still a mess apparently.