UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes says there are three reasons UFC president Dana White doesn’t like him, and has pushed for UFC fighters to unionize.
Blaydes was heavily criticized by White after winning a unanimous decision over Alexander Volkov at UFC on ESPN 11. Although Blaydes got his hand raised, the fight was mostly a wrestling match with Blaydes taking his opponent to the mat, which led to some fans calling it a boring fight and White wasn’t impressed. Not only that, but Blaydes was vocal about fighter pay issues during fight week, and White wasn’t a fan of some of his comments, going so far as to say that Blaydes “looked stupid.”
Speaking to “The Luke Thomas Show,” Blaydes gave three reasons why he thinks White doesn’t like him.
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“He doesn’t like me for two, actually, three reasons. A, I speak my mind, he doesn’t like that. B, my style, what I bring to the Octagon. I’m 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,” Blaydes said.
Blaydes also mentioned the problems the UFC fighters have with the Reebok deal, and said that unionization among the fighters may be the only way to solve that problem.
“(Dana) knows we aren’t being paid enough and then he takes away our option to get big-money sponsors because we have the Reebok deal. Let’s just do away with the Reebok deal. Bring back banners,” Blaydes said.
“I got into the UFC a year after the Reebok deal so I never got to reap the benefits. But some guys were sometimes getting $100,000 from outside sponsors. That money dried up when the Reebok deal hit. So give us the option to get outside sponsors to pay us big money again. That’s a start.”
“I know this is the taboo word and we aren’t supposed to speak of it, but a union. Every other major sports league has a union, so that’s probably the only way we can get what we want, but I don’t know how that’s going to happen,” Blaydes concluded.
It will be interesting to see if other UFC fighters hear Blaydes’ comments about a union and if that leads to a changing of the guard in the way the sport operates.
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