Misha Cirkunov is widely regarded as the hottest prospect in the UFC light heavyweight division. So, when it sounded like a contract dispute would drive him away from the organization, there was widespread disappointment.
Luckily, Cirkunov and the UFC were able to iron out their differences and agree to the terms of a new contract. The Latvian-Canadian destroyer is now scheduled for a fight with the dangerous Volkan Oezdemir, which will occur in Stockholm, Sweden on May 28.
As he begins his preparations for this anticipated showdown with Oezdemir, Cirkunov took time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance on BJ Penn Radio. During his interview with host Kinch, the light heavyweight talent gave a quick rundown of his contract dispute with the UFC, and how it was ultimately resolved.
Apparently, Cirkunov isn’t exactly sure where it all went wrong, but admitted that he may have been asking for a bit too much money.
“I just wanted a little bit more money, and I just asked for maybe a little bit too much,” he explained. “Maybe it was something like that. So I’m not sure. It was my first time negotiating and I’m just happy that it’s all past us and we can all forget about it. It’s all behind us. I can’t wait to see [UFC President] Dana [White] and put on great fights.”
Cirkunov then explained that the fruition of his new deal had a lot to do with the efforts of UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard.
“I don’t have a manager, so I was just dealing with everything myself,” Cirkunov said. “I found it was a little bit easier to talk with Mick Maynard, since I heard Dana say, ‘oh he flaked out.’ I wasn’t really sure what was happening, so I just thought it was easier to talk to Mick a little bit.”
“I’m sure everything is fine with Dana,” he clarified. “There’s no bad blood or anything. I don’t know, it just ended up being easier [talking to Maynard].”
Finally, Cirkunov touched on his current choice to manage himself, rather than employ an MMA manager with experience in areas like contract negotiation.
“It’s a tough sport to begin with. At the end of the day, you’re fighting at a high, high professional level against high level professional fighters. In the beginning, you don’t really get paid that much, so every dollar counts. In my opinion, I look at it like this. If I’m investing money in something, I want something in return. I just had experiences [with managers] where I wasn’t really getting much in return. I was paying, and it didn’t end up working out.”
Are you glad to see Misha Cirkunov back in the UFC? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/16/2017.