This past weekend, the UFC hosted the first ever ‘UFC Athlete Retreat’ where hundreds of fighters congregated in Las Vegas for a weekend of all-inclusive fun and presentations. For the most part, the event went off without a hitch despite one physical altercation breaking out.
With that being said, there was some tension at the retreat, tension that was brought up by Kajan Johnson in a move that ultimately resulted in a positive discussion between the fighters and the UFC.
UFC women’s bantamweight Cat Zingano, a UFC veteran, spoke to MMAFighting to reflect on the experience, saying:
“I could see the effort, right, the effort in trying to get us to bond,” she told MMA Fighting. “In one way, it was super-awkward getting everybody to be in one place at the same time.
“The one thing that I worried about was the content of the seminar. It was hard to watch because I was like, do these people believe what they’re saying, and they just don’t know? Or are they aware, and it’s a show? I want to say that every single one of us at least, I don’t know how many times that weekend, were looking at each other rolling our eyes. But also all of us in the fear of, we don’t even get to do anything about this. Part of me felt like there was a highlight video being created, Ultimate Fighter style, where they’re saying the stuff they’re saying on stage and then they edit in us laughing and smiling.”
In regards to the fact that the UFC spent quite a bit of money paying celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Strahan to make private appearances, Cat Zingano shared a similar sentiment to her fellow fighters:
“If this retreat was meant to tell us about all the newness that is happening, not only the millions of dollars that they probably spent on this event, and the carpets at the event that will be used once, and wall fixture that will be used once, and how much money went into bringing Snoop in and Michael Strahan in, and Kobe Bryant — what did these guys get paid to come do this?” she said. “When we’re sitting here broke, or struggling. Or the people that are still on top in the world are wondering what they’re going to do next in their career.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/27/2017.