At least Shinya Aoki is honest.
A while back, the "Tobikan Judan" made headlines when he turned down an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract offer, citing there were "favorable economics" in ONE FC.
That statement alone could raise a few eyebrows when it comes to the salary of certain fighters who live off this sport; however, Aoki explained his reasoning a little more clearer.
Aoki (via Cagewriter) talked about how his current promotion values him, and the opportunities that he has in Asia, being one of the continent's most popular fighters.
"ONE FC has taken care of me. They've treated me well. I know the fighters there and I'm comfortable in ONE FC. I think I have more to gain from fighting there."
Based on Aoki's previous comments, it is no surprise that he is hinting at a money issue. Aoki is a household name overseas and while many stateside fans should know who he is, there is no guarantee that the former Dream and Shooto champion would be at the top of the pecking order.
His stardom could be somewhat affected if he jumped ship to UFC.
"I'm happy that any fans from anywhere would watch me fight. I'm honored that they are watching but it isn't my goal to appeal to everybody."
Another reason could be that on American soil, Aoki has memories that he would like to forget.
Apart from a submission win over Lyle Beerbohm at Strikeforce: "Diaz vs. Daley" in 2011, Aoki challenged both Gilbert Melendez and Eddie Alvarez in Strikeforce and Bellator, respectively, and those were two big opportunities to make an impact with newer fans who may have not been familiar with him.
He was outclassed in the Melendez fight over the course of five rounds, and then two years later (with the Beerbohm win in between), Alvarez made quick work of him at Bellator 66 with a stoppage victory due to strikes in just over two minutes.
Aoki's last win was over Cody Stevens at ONE FC 11: "Total Domination," in which he successfully made his featherweight debut. Aoki moves back to lightweight to face Toshikatsu Harada at Inoki Boom-Ba-Ye 2013, which takes place December 31, 2013.
Whether it is money, co-promotion opportunities or competition, Aoki is happy with where he is at for the moment.
How about you?