Gilbert Burns has responded to a recent claim from Jorge Masvidal surrounding his payment for his UFC 251 title fight with Kamaru Usman.
Masvidal was widely expected to be the next man in line for a shot at Usman, but ultimately entered into a heated contract dispute with the UFC. When negotiations stalled, Burns was awarded the next shot at Usman in Masvidal’s place.
“They offered me considerably less money than what I should be getting, and it didn’t work” Masvidal said, explaining how Burns got a title shot before him. “Then they offer [Burns] the least amount of money that they would take. That’s what they did. They offered me, then when I said no, they offered a couple of other people until they got to Gilbert. Gilbert wasn’t their first thing. Nobody on a worldwide scale knows him. I’m not dissing his skillset, but he’s not a known guy, so of course he took the lowest money possible to fight a title.
“He can do whatever he wants with his time and his skillset,” Masvidal added. “So can I. I want to get paid. I don’t have nothing negative or positive to say about the fight that’s coming up. I’m just worried about me.”
Speaking to MMA Fighting this week, Burns responded to questions surrounding his remuneration. Contrary to Masvidal’s claims, he says he’s been well compensated for the fight. He also says he’s looking forward to greater paydays once he becomes the champion.
“They offered me a great amount of money,” Burns said about his deal to fight at UFC 251 when speaking to MMA Fighting. “More money than a lot of guys get fighting for the title. I’m happy for my situation. But I’m putting myself in that position to get those fights.
“I understand Masvidal’s side, he wants more money. But I think it all comes down to management. If you just signed a deal, how come you going to ask for a new deal? It just doesn’t make sense. I think it’s all in the negotiations.”
Masvidal asserted himself as the next man in line for a welterweight title shot with a fantastic run in 2019. He began the year by knocking out Darren Till, followed up with a record-breaking, knockout of the formerly undefeated Ben Askren, and concluded the year by defeating Nate Diaz in the first and only “BMF” title fight.
Gilbert Burns, meanwhile, earned his welterweight title shot by going 4-0 in the division after a long run at lightweight. Since moving to welterweight, Burns has defeated Alexey Kunchenko, Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia, and most recently, the former champion Tyron Woodley, who he walloped to a clear-cut unanimous decision win.
UFC 251, the setting of the anticipated Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns fight, goes down on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on July 11.