After Curtis Blaydes dominated Alexander Volkov in a lopsided win at UFC on ESPN 11 a week ago, Dana White was very critical of “Razor” for the grappling-heavy attack he used to get the win (highlights).
According to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president, he expected a different type of fight and attitude from his big man after “talking shit all week.” While White didn’t get into specifics, the “shit talking” he was likely referring to was Blaydes’ criticism of fighter pay, which is the hot topic at the moment that has prompted several of UFC’s biggest stars to speak out.
A couple of which have threatened to leave the the promotion.
Now, Curtis — who banked $180,000 for his win over Volkov — is firing back at White’s criticism, saying that it’s evident Dana doesn’t like him personally for a few reasons. Nevertheless, “Razor” is adamant he won’t stop voicing his opinion on fighter pay even if he is viewed as “stupid.”
“He doesn’t like me for three reasons,” Blaydes said during an interview on the Luke Thomas Show (transcript by Middle Easy). “A, I speak my mind, he doesn’t like that. B, my style, what I bring to the Octagon. I’m very grappling heavy. And C, because yeah I do believe I don’t get paid what I’m worth and I speak on that.
“So he’s just using this to try to make me feel bad I guess, so I won’t speak out again but it’s not going to work. What’s wrong is wrong and when I have a platform and I’m able to speak on it, I want to speak on it,” he added.
“He knows we’re not getting paid enough and then he takes away the option to get big money out of sponsors because they got the Reebok deal. Let’s just do away with the Reebok deal.”
UFC’s Reebok deal — which never won over UFC fighters — is set to expire at the end of 2020, and White recently hinted that the promotion likely wouldn’t renew its deal with the sports brand moving forward. While a new company will likely slide in, there is no telling if the same sponsorship pay structure will remain, which paid fighters based on the amount of fights for the company.
That method never sat too well with most of the UFC roster, as it also meant they could not wear any other logo or brand on their fight week and fight night apparel. As a result, several companies stopped sponsoring fighters altogether.
“Give us the option to get outside sponsors to cash big money. Give us that. That’s a start. I know this is the taboo word and we aren’t supposed to speak of it, but a union,” Blaydes added. “Every other major sports league has a union, so I think that’s probably the only way for us to really get what we want, but I don’t know how that’s going to happen.”
There have been several attempts at starting a union by some former UFC athletes, but none have really ever taken off. A big reason for that is due to the fact that the bigger stars of the sport who commanded more money never really got involved.
But now that guys like Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal are speaking out, is it time to try again?