Despite being labeled a 'bald headed prick,' Dana White insists he doesn't hate Mark Hunt

Apparently, being called a bald-headed prick isn’t enough to ruffle UFC President Dana White’s feathers.

After a scathing, expletive-filled Mark Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) rant was directed in his direction, White insists he doesn’t hate “The Super Samoan,” as the veteran heavyweight suggested.

“He made a statement that I’ve hated him forever,” White told TMZSports. “I don’t hate Mark Hunt at all. I’ve never hated Mark Hunt. He knows that. I was actually really good to Mark Hunt.”

Hunt’s frustration stems from being pulled from a planned appearance at November’s UFC Fight Night 121 event in Australia. The 43-year-old Hunt was expected to compete in the night’s main event, but after he published an article admitting to memory loss and slurred speech, UFC officials pointed to medical concerns and pulled him from the fight.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to protect these guys from themselves, and that’s what we’re looking into right now,” White said.

Hunt was ultimately replaced by Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC), who now faces Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the night’s headlining contest.

Never one to bite his tongue, Hunt lashed out at White and the UFC via social media. The UFC boss laughed off the attacks and insisted his decision wasn’t a personal matter.

He also laughed off any thoughts of a potential apology from Hunt, who already has one lawsuit in place against the UFC and threatened another.

“I don’t expect an apology at all,” White said.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter Mailbag: UFC's decision to sideline Mark Hunt against his will is a tricky one

If you make your struggle with the effects of brain trauma public, how surprised can you be when a promoter won’t let you fight? But if the promoter won’t let you fight, what do you get to do?

Plus, what’s the fight of the year so far in 2017? And does the UFC flyweight champ need to jump up a division now?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

I’m torn on this. On one hand, you want the UFC to be proactive about fighter health and safety. If a fighter tells us that he’s slurring his words and struggling with short-term memory – both major red flags – you don’t want to put that person in a cage to fight for money.

On the other hand, Mark Hunt is currently suing the UFC for what he alleges is a failure to look out for fighter health and safety, so we can’t ignore the context of this move by the UFC.

It’s also worth asking if the UFC just set a precedent that it’s not willing to stick to. Georges St-Pierre has also described issues with his memory (which he attributed to possible alien activity, which is not necessarily any less concerning), but he was never pulled from any fights, and is slated to return for more in November.

Then there’s the question of what you do with a fighter who you’ve deemed medically unfit to fight based on a column he wrote for a website. How can you keep him under contract if you’re not going to let him work?

And if you do release him, does that mean any fighter can get out of his contract by publicly proclaiming his brain to be damaged, only to pop up in Bellator a couple months later declaring that, actually, he’s feeling much better now, thank you?

These are uncharted waters. This wasn’t an athletic commission that pulled Hunt from the fight. And, as far as we know, the decision to pull him wasn’t based on any actual medical testing. UFC officials just read a column with Hunt’s name on it and yanked him, which forces us to wonder about the true motives here.

(Also, if talking openly about brain trauma leads to a de facto suspension, what you’ve really done is ensure that fighters will stay quiet about their symptoms if and when they do appear.)

But again, if Hunt really is experiencing the symptoms he wrote about, he shouldn’t be fighting. I wish the UFC had done more to confirm and investigate that before acting. I also wish it hadn’t decided to make this unprecedented principled stance with a fighter who’s currently battling the promotion in court. Then it would have been a lot easier to know what to make of it.

Are those the only two choices? Because if you told me right now that Rory MacDonald has a goat who he cares for and talks to and secretly feels is the only one in this world who understands him, I would believe that in a heartbeat.

First of all, that’s awesome. Second of all, if ever there was a situation where you don’t want to walk around with an imported IPA in your hand, loudly discussing the superiority of Japanese motorcycles, this is it. Third of all, Roy Nelson? Now that’s natural sponsor synergy, right there. Fourth, remember to have a good time. Fifth, but not so good that you forget to apply sunscreen and end up with the inevitable tank top tan. That’s experience talking, my friend.

Is this love? That you’re feeling? Is this – and here I’m just thinking out loud – the love that you’ve been waiting for?

But I know what you mean. Watching Demetrious Johnson pull off a brand new submission reminded me of one of the things that I’ve always loved about MMA, which is that it’s a sport that’s always growing and changing.

Remember 15 years ago when Tito Ortiz would take somebody down, wedge their head against the fence, and elbow a hole in their face? At the time that felt like a new answer for the relatively old problem of the jiu-jitsu guard. Now it’s the first step to having someone wall-walk their way to an escape.

The nature of MMA – just two humans trying to hurt each other in a cage, with relatively few rules restricting them – makes it an environment that allows for a lot of creativity. The opportunities for evolution are everywhere. New attacks lead to new counters, which then breed new variations on the old moves. Every once in a while, an artist appears to blaze a fresh trail.

You don’t really get as much of that with most other sports. Instead you get people who do the old stuff slightly better than their predecessors. This is one of the things that makes MMA special. I hope we never lose that.

Since we’re talking about a health and safety issue, I’m not sure we want to use “try something – anything!” as our mantra here. Some proposed fixes, like same-day weigh-ins or lengthy suspensions for missing weight, are likely to make things worse, because fighters are still going to take the risks even when it’s a bad idea, and you’re not going to punish your way out of this problem.

I think the best hope for a solution is something along the lines of what California is trying to do, using hydration testing and other methods to determine a safe fighting weight for every athlete, then making the fighters stick to those guidelines even when they don’t want to.

Even that system won’t be perfect. There will be times when it feels like regulatory overreach for a commission to tell someone like Renan Barao that he doesn’t get to be a bantamweight anymore.

Plus, fighters’ bodies change. They get old. Or they just let themselves get out of shape. Just because you determine a safe fighting weight, it doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of fighters trying for last-minute, extreme weight cuts. And if you think it’s a bummer when a fight is scratched due to someone missing weight, wait until a big one is called off because someone is too far from the target weight for the commission to even let them try.

Still, this is obviously an issue. Fighters can literally die this way. Not to mention, it’s just insane to put athletes through that kind of intense depletion a day before the competition. There’s no doubt that performances suffer as a result. Careers are probably shortened, and for what? Just so fighters can face someone roughly their own size in the end?

I support athletic commissions that are serious about changing that culture, but it can’t just be one or two of them. As with anti-doping efforts, this needs to be something the whole sport does if we’re every going to get anywhere.

Ultimately? Antonio Silva is. But I see your point. It’s madness to me that GLORY would even book this fight. What’s the point? To let Rico Verhoeven show out against a big, slow punching bag of an opponent for the sake of some memorable violence? What, to prove some point about kickboxing vs. MMA? Is this some kind of sad, off-brand attempt at a Mayweather-McGregor-esque cross-sport challenge? I don’t get it.

Ideally, the people who love and care about Silva would stop him from doing this, but for various reasons I wrote about back when this fight was announced, that’s not happening. Instead we’re just charging ahead with this like these mismatches aren’t very dangerous, which they are.

I like face-punching and knockouts as much as anyone, but I won’t watch this. I can’t. As viewers and fans, that feels like the least we can do to make this sort of matchmaking stop.

 

Really, that’s your list? There’s something to spoil every one of those, and I’m pretty sure the last one is a cartoon.

If you ask me to pick a fight of the year that I can still feel good about as of this writing, I have to go with Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson. No one got popped for drugs. The judges didn’t screw it up (because Gaethje didn’t give them a chance). The fight was competitive and rational from a matchmaking perspective.

And if that’s not enough, the action was just bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

That’s not a call for the UFC to make; that’s up to the athletic commission. And no, based on precedence alone, that’s not something that merits an official punishment. We’ve seen fighters get away with much more egregious shots after the bell (looking at you, Germaine de Randamie) and there was no punitive action beyond whatever the referee was willing to do in the fight itself, which is usually nothing at all.

He doesn’t have to, because weight classes exist for a reason. But man, it sure would be great if he did, wouldn’t it?

I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the thought of watching Johnson keep beating up the same flyweights over and over, all while the UFC has to reach further down the rankings ladder just to find fresh opponents. It feels too easy for a fighter as good as Johnson. He needs a challenge. I’d argue he needs it more than he needs another victory. It’s just a question of whether or not he sees that – and whether or not he cares.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Mark Hunt threatens another lawsuit after fight removal, curses 'bald-headed prick' Dana White

Mark Hunt is furious about his removal from the UFC Fight Night 121 main event and said he plans on taking action toward the UFC and company president Dana White.

New broke on Tuesday that Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) had been pulled from his scheduled UFC Fight Night 121 headliner with Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) due to “medical concerns” stemming from recent statements about brain trauma sustained during his career. He’s been replaced by Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC)

Hunt was apparently not on board with the UFC’s decision, and he made it well known on social media (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

@danawhite u peice of shit motherfuker why u fuckers pull me from the fight u getting another lawsuit u fuckwit u can kiss my ass u bald headed prick🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕 u put that chicken shit bitch in get fucked cocksucker

Hunt already has an ongoing lawsuit with the UFC stemming from his UFC 200 bout with Brock Lesnar in July 2016. The promotion waved a drug testing rule for its U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) program that allowed the former UFC heavyweight champion to make a short-notice return to the octagon, then Lesnar subsequently failed multiple drug tests around the time of the fight.

“The Super Samoan” apparently plans to take further legal action over the UFC not allowing him to fight at UFC Fight Night 121, which takes place Nov. 18 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC cites 'medical concerns,' pulls Mark Hunt from UFC Fight Night 121 in favor of Fabricio Werdum

UFC officials today announced that Mark Hunt will no longer compete in the promotions’s return to Australia.

Citing “medical concerns,” Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) has been pulled from a planned headlining matchup with Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at November’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. Fresh off a win at this past weekend’s UFC 216, Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) replaces Hunt in the night’s main event.

Hunt recently penned a piece for PlayersVoice.com.au entitled “If I die fighting, that’s fine,” in which he admitted trouble sleeping and said he’s begin to stutter and slur his words. That prompted UFC officials to pull the 43-year-old slugger from the card.

“Following a recent first-person article published by UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt, UFC has taken the precautionary steps of removing Hunt from a previously announced bout in Sydney, Australia,” a statement first issued to News.com.au read. “The health-related statements made by Hunt in the article represent the first time UFC was made aware of these claims. Athlete health and safety is of the utmost importance to the organization and it would never knowingly schedule an athlete complaining of health issues for a fight. The organization will require that Hunt undergo further testing and evaluations prior to competing in any future UFC bout.”

Hunt immediately took to social media to voice his displeasure with the promotion’s decision.

Instagram Photo

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Mark Hunt in new verbal round of anti-PED battle: 'I'd be champ already if it wasn't for the cheaters'

UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt has added another chapter to his long-running battle against PEDs, this time with some intense words.

In a write-up for Australian website PlayersVoice.com.au, Hunt got very real about the impact that more than a decade of being a professional MMA fighter has had in both his mind and body.

“Sometimes I don’t sleep well,” Hunt wrote. “You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words. My memory is not that good anymore. I’ll forget something I did yesterday, but I can remember the (expletive) I did years and years ago.”

And while he accepts the risks associated to making a living as a prizefighter – which include death – the heavyweight doesn’t think the current setup is fair, either.

“That’s just the price I’ve paid – the price of being a fighter,” Hunt continued. “But I’ve fought a lot of drug cheats and copped a lot of punishment from guys who were cheating, and that’s not right.

“I will probably end my life fighting. I’ve been fighting since I was a child, fighting to get out of my circumstances. I used to make $300 a week, struggling to put food on the table, but I have become one of the highest-paid fighters in the world. I feel that’s destiny.

“This is what I’m supposed to be doing, and if I die fighting, that’s fine. I just hope that if it does happen, it will be in an honest and fair competition. My body is (expletive), but my mind is still here. I’ve still got my senses about me, and I know what’s right and wrong, which is the main thing.”

While Hunt has been vocal in his fight against doping in MMA, he hasn’t limited himself to words. After former UFC champion Brock Lesnar failed two tests stemming from their UFC 200 encounter, Hunt decided to take both the UFC and Lesnar to court.

While he asked for both punitive compensatory damages, he told MMAjunkie that it wasn’t entirely about the money – rather, about using it to take away people’s incentive to cheat.

In the post, Hunt said the problem – which saw its most recent high-profile developments with former 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones – runs so deep that he’d advise against his children trying a career in fighting. He also said that he was “a little bit naive” before the Lesnar fight, which has since changed.

“If I had been able to go and take blood from Brock and test him myself then I could have known for sure – I don’t want to fight this guy,” Hunt stated. “It frustrates me when people say, ‘Well, you must have known.’ I was told he was being tested properly.

“I didn’t realise the importance of me voicing my opinion about drugs in the sport until after the Lesnar fight. He hits like a bitch, but he still beat me using pure strength. I’m quite strong and could usually get out of most situations.

“I’ve fought some big guys, but Brock is only 6-foot-3 and he’s still three times my size. How does that work? If I was gearing the same as him, I probably would have thrown him out of the octagon.”

Hunt also rebuffed claims that doping doesn’t help in fighting, arguing that “the cheats” are “stronger and they recover better.” And while he’s proud of having made it this far without performance enhancers, Hunt can’t help but think of all that he’s lost due to his opponents not doing the same.

“I’d be champ already if it wasn’t for the cheaters,” Hunt wrote. “I’d probably be retired, sitting at home playing video games all day, eating KFC. These guys couldn’t cut it with me if they weren’t cheating. I’ve missed out on sponsors and millions of dollars. It pisses me off when I think about it.

“Lesnar is a big name. He’s a superstar. That was my chance to get closer to the title – it would have been my third straight win. Instead, all I got was people hating on me. They say, ‘You’re a whiner, why are you trying to get his money?’ It’s not his money. He shouldn’t get anything.”

One can see where Hunt comes from, considering a lot of his competition has been linked to the use of banned substances at some point. Lesnar, Frank Mir and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva are recent examples. The latter, whom Hunt fought twice, was suspended after their original UFC Fight Night 33 encounter.

Silva, who was undergoing the later-prohibited testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) at the time, failed a test after his testosterone levels proved too high.  While the slugfest remains hailed as a memorable battle to this day, Hunt doesn’t see it that way.

“Everyone says the first ‘Bigfoot’ fight is one of the greatest heavyweight bouts of all time, but not for me,” Hunt said. “It’s stained. That guy ruined everything. You take away his juice and he’s nothing. The first fight we had, we nearly killed each other. The second fight, when he was clean, he didn’t even last a round.

“He wasn’t the same person as the one that almost frigging killed me. I broke my hand in that first fight. I broke my hand punching a cheater, and I was out for almost a year. I didn’t have work; I had zero income. It takes a lot out of you and has a huge impact on your life.”

But cheaters weren’t the only targets of Hunt’s scathing words. The heavyweight also took aim at the UFC, not only for failing to address the drug issue properly, but also for failing to properly financially compensate their fighters.

“It pisses me off when some fighters say, ‘It’s great to be part of the UFC, it pays the bills,’” Hunt wrote. “It doesn’t. That’s coming from one of the highest-paid fighters in the world. These guys don’t get paid jack (expletive). For someone that makes $200,000-$300,000 a fight, half of that goes to tax and half again is for their camp.

“Then whatever’s left they’ve got to use for their mortgage. If you’ve worked your arse off to get in the top 10, you should be getting paid properly.”

As upset as he is about the state of affairs, though, Hunt clarifies he’s not done just yet. Coming off a win over Derrick Lewis in June, Hunt is now set to meet Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 121 in November. And, with three fights left, the “The Super Samoan” says he is still after what he set out to do: to become a world champion.

“But the next contract I sign I want to put a clause in – the Mark Hunt clause – where a fighter loses all his money if he is caught doping,” Hunt said. “That could be part of my legacy.

“I’m still one of the best fighters on the planet. I honestly don’t care what anyone says. I’m knocking fools out.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Blue Corner, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Mark Hunt wanted Fabricio Werdum rematch in Sydney, but 'he is getting a manicure'

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Mark Hunt was seeking a bout with a top-ranked heavyweight at UFC Fight Night in Sydney later this year. Unfortunately, no one on his wish list was available, so he was forced to settle for Marcin Tybura as an opponent.

Although Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) has spent more than two decades competing in combat sports and is not one to avoid any fight, he did have his sights set on a rematch with Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC), who beat him by second-round knockout in a short-notice fight at UFC 180 in November 2014.

Hunt said he was angling for another fight against the Brazilian at the Sydney event – or possibly even in Japan next month. However, he claims Werdum didn’t want it (and instead is “getting a manicure), and the fight with Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was then booked (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

UFC Fight Night in Sydney, which takes place Nov. 19 at Qudos Bank Arena, marks the 11th time the UFC has headed to Australia and fourth to Sydney. Due to the time change, the card airs on Nov. 18 in the U.S. on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The UFC recently made the bout official (via Twitter):

Hunt, No. 10 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, is coming off a fourth-round TKO win over Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night 110 in June. The fight snapped a two-fight skid for “The Super Samoan” and put him in position to headline an event in Australia for the fourth time.

For more on UFC Fight Night in Sydney, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Mark Hunt to headline UFC Fight Night in Sydney vs. Marcin Tybura

Mark Hunt’s career just keeps on trucking.

Hunt, coming off a hard-fought win in his last fight, will return to face Marcin Tybura in the main event of the upcoming UFC Fight Night event in the Australian capital city of Sydney.

Polish website Lowking.pl first reported the match, which MMAjunkie subsequently confirmed with multiple UFC officials. A formal announcement is expected early next week.

The event, which takes place Nov. 19 at Qudos Bank Arena, marks the 11th time the UFC has headed to Australia and fourth to Sidney. Due to the time change, the card airs on Nov. 18 in the U.S. on FS1.

Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) earned a grueling fourth-round TKO win over Derrick Lewis in June at UFC Fight Night 110 in Auckland, New Zealand. In the immediate aftermath of the fight, Hunt, 43, hinted at the possibility of retirement but wasn’t certain.

“Anybody above me is good,” Hunt said of who he wanted to face next. “I stepped down for Derrick because he was No. 6, but anyone above me, I’ll take. I’ve only got a few more fights left, so for me, if it ended here tonight, so be it. I’ve had a good run. I’ve had a lot of fun, traveled the world. But it looks like it’s still continuing.”

Indeed it is, and Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is an interesting choice of opponent considering Hunt currently is No. 6 in the official UFC heavyweight rankings, while Tybura sits at No. 10.

Tybura will be coming off of a unanimous-decision win in June at UFC Fight Night 111, where he handed Andre Arlovski his fifth straight loss. It marked Tybura’s third straight victory.

For more on UFC in Sydney, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC heavyweight Aleksei Oleinik wants Mark Hunt, but super-troll Hunt wants Fabricio Werdum

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Nearly a month after his big win over Travis Browne at UFC 213, Aleksei Oleinik knows the challenge he wants next. Problem is, it seems to be one-way traffic for him.

Oleinik (52-10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) got into a heavyweight slugfest with Browne (18-7-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) to close out the UFC 213 prelims in July and finished him with a second-round rear-naked choke. He thinks that win should get him a fight with Mark Hunt.

Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) is coming off a fourth-round TKO of Derrick Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in the UFC Fight Night 110 main event in June. But Hunt isn’t interested in Oleinik. Instead, he wants former champ Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC).

When Oleinik called Hunt out on social media, Hunt responded on Facebook … and rather brilliantly trolled Oleinik’s Instagram handle by spelling it “Alexeyholeydik.” In the comments, after Oleinik replied, Hunt said he’d prefer to wait to fight him till he’s in the UFC’s top five.

So which fight would you rather see? Hunt vs. Oleinik? Or Hunt vs. Werdum? Weigh in on it in the poll below.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Is it time to do away with the show money/win bonus pay structure in MMA?

Among the many things that Gegard Mousasi likes about his new Bellator contract, judging by his recent remarks, is the difference in pay structure. The way the UFC typically does it? You get one sum for showing up and fighting and another, typically equal, sum for winning.

That means a win is worth twice as much as a loss to most fighters, a pay structure so common in MMA (and not just the UFC) that it largely goes unquestioned and unremarked upon.

But there are exceptions, and Mousasi isn’t the only one.

For example, at last weekend’s UFC 213, co-main event winner Alistair Overeem made an event-high $800,000 with no win bonus for his narrow majority decision over Fabricio Werdum.

Mark Hunt, another heavyweight who signed a new UFC contract when his iron was hot, made a flat fee of $750,000 for his knockout loss to Overeem at UFC 209. For Hunt’s fight against Brock Lesnar at UFC 200, both men had contracts that dispensed with the show money, netting Hunt a cool $700,000 for showing up while Lesnar made $2.5 million before fines related to his ensuing suspension for a failed drug test.

Even newly minted UFC interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker made a set sum of $350,000 with no win bonus for his unanimous-decision victory over Yoel Romero at UFC 213. It reflected a marked improvement from the $30,000 to show and $30,000 to win he made roughly a year earlier.

The advantages to the flat fee are fairly obvious. There are so many ways to lose in MMA, ranging from a legitimate knockout loss to a questionable stoppage or blatantly wrong judges’ decision, that having half your paycheck dependent on forces out of your control seems like poor financial planning. And those fighters who do negotiate flat fees usually end up getting more in show money than others do for show and win combined.

Of course, the show-win model actually works out quite well for promoters. It allows them to offer the idea of a better payday to people who naturally tend to be optimists about their own futures. If you promise a fighter $25,000 to show and another $25,000 to win, in his head he’s likely already spending the full $50,000, because of course he doesn’t step into the cage planning to lose.

But there can only be one winner in every fight, which means somebody’s payday is always half of what they were hoping for when they signed the contract. That’s money that stays in the promoter’s pocket, a guaranteed savings in virtually every fight.

Promoters will also tell you they like the incentive provided by the show-win model, but that explanation isn’t as simple as it sounds. For one thing, most fighters aren’t lacking for good reasons to try their best in any given fight. If concerns about keeping blood inside their body aren’t enough, there are the practical ramifications of defeat to consider. Winning is generally always better than losing when it comes to advancing a fighter’s career, and they know it.

In fact, including such a heavy financial penalty for defeat seems likely to be counterproductive for promoters, since it may make fighters more conservative in their approaches. Why take risks for the sake of exciting the crowd when a loss can mean the difference between a good Christmas for your kids and a dismal one?

Similarly, if you need to win to make the payout worthwhile, why stay in a fight if you’re sick or injured and don’t like your chances at victory? Why do that damage to your record, your future prospects, and maybe also your face, if it seems like you’ll be getting half pay for it in the end?

At the highest levels of combat sports, win bonuses have become something of a rarity. Jon Jones doesn’t get them. Neither does Conor McGregor. When Ryan Bader discussed his new Bellator contract, it was a key point he seized on.

At the star-studded UFC 200 event, four of the five winning fighters on the main card had contracts that did not include win bonuses. The lone exception was Jose Aldo, whose $100,000 win bonus made up a relatively paltry portion of his overall $500,000 payday.

Still, those on the lower and even middle tiers of the pay scale seem to have little choice in the matter. Their financial fates are still determined largely by who gets his or her hand raised. But if negotiating power were to shift, either due to a fighters association or some other unifying stance, that pay structure might be the first thing to change.

There are a lot of good reasons to want to know how much money you’ll make when you go to work at a dangerous and difficult job. There aren’t so many good reasons not to.

For more on the upcoming MMA schedule, visit the MMA events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Could this really be the end of Derrick Lewis' MMA career?

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Say, just for the sake of argument, that Derrick Lewis was telling us the truth. Say that when he told us his TKO loss to Mark Hunt on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 110 would “probably” be his last fight, he really meant it. Say it wasn’t just the pain and disappointment talking. What then?

What are we supposed to make of a career as short and strange and somehow memorable as his? Roughly seven years as an active MMA fighter, three years in the UFC, only the last year of which saw him become a household name among fight fans.

And now, according to “The Black Beast,” it’s over? You know, probably?

Even without that seed of doubt, it’d be hard to believe. A 32-year-old fighter who calls it quits immediately after a loss is practically begging for a little skepticism.

That’s true in any division, but especially at heavyweight, where the talent is rare and old. Just look at the 43-year-old Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC), who gave Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) a lesson in cage control and victory via attrition in front of his hometown crowd in Auckland, New Zealand. Even he seems seems a little surprised that his career is still in progress.

But now that he’s settling down, Lewis isn’t sure he wants to keep putting his family through this. Fair enough. Fight camps and quality family time are often incompatible. As much as fighters like to say they’re doing it for their families, by which they mean sacrificing their bodies for money, the lifestyle itself is necessarily a pretty selfish one.

Plus, not all your loved ones are going to think the paychecks are worth the risk of brain trauma – or the stress of sitting around and hoping you come home in one piece.

But a Lewis exit right now would leave a considerable hole in the heavyweight division. A knockout artist with real personality? A contender still young enough to withstand the inevitable ups and downs of the weight class? Someone fans actually care about, at least in part because, when he makes inside jokes like this one at a UFC weigh-in, he seems like one of us, just another MMA nerd, albeit with actual physical skills?

Yeah, that’s someone you might like to keep around if you’re the UFC.

But let’s not kid ourselves. As much fun as Lewis has been to have around, he’s also been somewhat limited as an MMA fighter.

His striking is lethal in short bursts. His ground game consists of one move: standing up. His cardio is such that, win or lose, he’s bound to be out of breath for the post-fight interview. It’s very possible that a six-fight winning streak beginning with Viktor Pesta in 2015 and culminating with Travis Browne in February was bound to be the high-water mark for his career.

Then again, if the enduring appeal of fighters like Hunt proves anything, it’s that we’re not just here for champions in this sport. That, too, is especially true at heavyweight, where a colorful character with the power to separate other big men from their consciousness can be a draw for years to come.

But if a fighter weighs the pros and cons of that situation and decides he’d rather seek a new career elsewhere, I’m not sure I can blame him. This is a tough sport in which to be a lovable punching bag. It’s also, however, a tough sport to quit on your first try.

And remember the last time Lewis informed us of his plans for the future, how he wasn’t even going to answer the phone if his coaches or manager called him about taking another fight?

That was in February, after his win over Browne. A month later he was signing up to fight Hunt in New Zealand. Don’t be too surprised if a man who takes vacations like that ends up taking the same approach to retirement.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie