Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans can add reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, among the growing list of fighters unhappy with their compensation. However, Miocic is more irked that Alistair Overeem, the challenger, earned $800,000 to his $600,000 payout during their UFC 203 title fight last year, which Miocic won via knockout (replay here).
During a recent appearance on "The MMA Hour," Miocic talked about the disrespect he felt from the promotion after learning of the $200, 000 gap between challenger and champion, who just so happened to be defending his title for the first time in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
"[It’s] terrible," Miocic said. "Things definitely need to be changed. Something’s gotta change. It’s not really fair," he added via MMA Fighting.
Admittedly, Micoc didn’t know of the huge gap until after the event, which sparked a fire inside him when he realized that he could’ve earned a lot more after he was told by UFC it was the best deal he was going to get.
"I just felt like I was kinda crapped on a little bit," Miocic said. "I try to do things right and work with them, and they just didn’t give me a great deal. That’s my own fault, but also they knew what they were doing. They took my kindness for weakness.
"They told me it was the best deal they could do, and I said, 'Oh okay, great," he added. "And then come to find out, it wasn’t."
Miocic does have a point, as he is the current champion while Overeem has never held a title for the promotion. While one can make the case "Demolition Man" has a bit more fanfare and popularity behind him, it won’t do anything to ease Miocic’s anger. Indeed, after discussing his pay issues with the promotion, Miocic was still unsatisfied with the promotion’s response.
"Blah, blah, blah, blah -- they just made up some excuse, like that’s the contract you signed," Miocic said. "You’re making money off me in my hometown, and you’re giving the man that’s a challenger who’s never won the title in the UFC, you’re giving him more money," he added. "It definitely should change. But, the fact that my challenger made more money than me in my last fight was just kind of a slap in the face."
Miocic revealed he is currently trying to renegotiate his deal, but admitted things "were a mess" at the moment with the ongoing talks, leaving his anticipated return date of May in question.
"We’re definitely not being unfair," he added. "We’re not looking for a couple million or anything like that, but definitely getting compensated for winning the belt, defending the belt in my hometown, and also the guy making more money than me is just unheard of. That’s terrible."
As we’ve seen in the past, company president Dana White is a stickler for having fighters honor their current deals.
Miocic has a legitimate beef, but by the same token, White and Co. want him to stop worrying about better deals other fighters and their managements were able to negotiate. It’s definitely a sticky situation, especially when the promotion is willing to dish out $25 million to a certain someone.