With lightweight champion Conor McGregor currently taking a break from competition, the lightweight limelight is shining on two men. Those two men are undefeated Dagestan native Khabib Nurmagomedov, and streaking Californian Tony Ferguson. The two talented lightweights have long been rumored to fight while McGregor takes his hiatus – perhaps even for an interim title.
Regrettably, negotiations recently hit a snag when Ferguson said that he wouldn’t accept the fight if he was paid less than Nurmagomedov. In response to this claim, Nurmagomedov offered to pay Ferguson $200,000 extra on top of his purse, out of his own pocket.
In a twist that should surprise very few people, Ferguson has refused his rival’s offer. He explained his decision to do so on the latest episode of The MMA Hour:
“You’ve got Khabib f*cking offering [me] $200,000 to fight me. I’m not going to take his money because we work for the same kind of thing,” Ferguson explained to host Ariel Helwani. “I would offer the same thing. But that’s not what I’m in here for, man. Honestly, we’re both two of the same kind of fighters because we fight for something different. The UFC has a chance to make the most money out of everyone right now. They’re looking at the hugest, biggest demographic in Russia. Well let us fight, man. I’m trying to build my demographic too. Let me work for you guys. Let me work for you guys the way that I have been working, but compensate me the way that I need to be compensated.”
“If you’ve got Khabib willing to sacrifice his life and give me $200,000 of his own money, something’s wrong with that sh*t. I’m not going to take that guy’s money. He’s got a family too. So do I, and he’s got bills to pay. So I’m not going after Khabib’s. All I want is my stuff right and to be compensated for what my numbers prove to be, so let’s go kids.”
Given that Ferguson has a set rate of pay under his current contract, it might seem unlikely that he’s able to get his pay adjusted. Yet according to him, precedent suggests it’s possible.
“The UFC has a long history of changing a fighter’s compensation for a particular bout. We just saw this in particular for UFC 207 with Ronda [Rousey]. There’s always changes that are always being made as far as contracts.”
Do you think the UFC will play ball with Ferguson on this one? Sound off, PENN Nation!