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Brian Ortega wasn’t paid at all after his UFC 226 co-main event with Max Holloway fell through after Holloway showed very worrying signs of brain trauma.
Brian Ortega on interim belts:— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) July 19, 2018
"I'm not fighting for a fake belt. It looks cool but it's not the real belt. There's no real money involved with that one... It just says I'm next in line for the belt. I'm already here."https://t.co/xKjfmrry3C
Brian Ortega says that, for the first time ever, his team were 100% in agreement that he shouldn’t risk his spot on a last-minute replacement fight. Dana, though, wasn’t in the mood for dissent. Transcript via MMAFighting.com:
“All of [my team] were on the same page,” Ortega recently told Brendan Schaub on Below the Belt. “It never happened in the history of our team. It’s always like [one guys says] ‘I think you should take it,’ [another guy says] ‘No, you’re stupid!’ and then it’s this thing and we finally come to an agreement. This time, I walked in the room and everyone was on the same page...
“[So], we talked to Dana and he was pretty pissed off. He was just in a bad mood, a fight fell through, DC just fell, and then he walks in this meeting. So I tell him, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna fight.’ I’m holding my ground. ‘Listen, with all due respect, I stepped in and fought [Thiago] Tavares on two weeks’ notice, I stepped in and I fought Frankie on three weeks’ notice, and I stepped in and tried to fight Khabib [Nurmagomedov] on six days’ notice. It’s not a scared issued, it’s not that I’m not down for the company. I finished everyone you told me to, every single person you put in front of me, I took their heads off and, like Conor [McGregor] says, I put them on your f**king doorstep. That earned me a title shot and now that I’m here, why go anywhere else besides forward?”
Brian Ortega always comes across as an extremely calm, rational guy. Surely Dana White would see reason. But no, that’s not what happened.
“[Dana] put on his promoter hat and is like, ‘Listen man, just fight, we’ll work something out,’ and I was like, ‘We don’t need to work anything out. I want Max Holloway or I want the belt.’ [Dana says] ‘Well, we’ll see if we can do an interim belt.’ I’m not fighting for a fake belt. It looks cool but it’s not the real belt. There’s no real money involved with that one. Nothing really goes on in terms of being a champion. You just get something that says, ‘I’m first place.’ It just says I’m next in line for the belt but I’m already here! You just want to put something shiny around my waist to make me feel better. No, I’m not gonna do it.
As an aside, the UFC stripping Tony Ferguson of his interim title, and now talking about stripping Colby Covington of the interim belt he just won, signal that Ortega was 100% right in his estimation that an interim title means nothing.
“I showed up, I was cutting weight, I did all the media, even the media in Spanish. I had to do double the work and do all that in Spanish. Every fighter left and I’m still stuck there doing everything in Spanish. I showed I was a company man. I was down to promote the hell out of this fight, I took extra hours while I’m hungry, starving, to keep doing media. I showed up. Don’t you think that’s worth something? Even if I didn’t take the fight, I did my end of the deal. Then they came back and said ‘Well our deal is to find you a fight and we found you a fight and you turned it down. I did my job, you didn’t do yours. Your job is to show up and fight.’”
The UFC have been stunningly inconsistent on paying show and/or win money in the case of a cancelled fight, the deciding factor here seemingly being that Dana White was in a pissy mood. Despite record profits for the company last year, Dana White infamously said after several fights fell through at UFC 223 in Brooklyn that “we have that much money” to pay fighters both show and win money.
It is hardly unusual to see Dana White and the UFC play hardball with their labor; estimates for fighter share of revenue are somewhere at or below 17%, after all; that figure will only get lower with the new ESPN deal. This is the impetus behind several different attempts to organize fighters, the most recent, and potentially significant, being Leslie Smith’s attempt with Project Spearhead to get UFC fighters’ employment status reviewed; employee status would allow them to form a fighter union. She seemed to score an initial victory when the NLRB decided she had a case, but that victory was quickly delayed when the NLRB suddenly changed course and sent her complaint to D.C. for further review.
Unless they unionize, the anti-trust lawsuit pays off, or Dana White somehow gets exposed by the #MeToo movement, the fighters remain at the whims of an emotional, vindictive promoter.
In related news, Brian Ortega is a very big featherweight.
Hopefully the doctors can figure out what is going on with Max Holloway’s brain, and hopefully he really is feeling better and not just being positive. It would be an incredible shame to see his career end just as he’s reaching his peak.
Back on the mainland for more exams. Thanks @ufc and docs for following through to try and figure this out. Starting to feel better pic.twitter.com/aaXCGMpIgT— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) July 19, 2018
This is the fight to make next- and it seems Adesanya is down to fight Anderson.
...or you guys want this fight instead?! Yo for real...no bullshit, if not for @spiderandersonsilva I wouldn't have looked at fighting from a different perspective. I was under the impression you gotta look like Paula to be a fighter. The Spider been fucking up muscled up beefcakes since ages ago as an lean aerodynamic man. He is still the g.o.a.t imo... With that being said...I want #alldashmoke . Just cuz I'm a fan don't mean you can't catch these hands...and feets. So yes I am down...will do it fih di culture of fighting! #babygoat #workuntilyouridolsbecomeyourrivals #enterthematrix #iwillattack #notakedownsipromise
Eventually, Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa will be a great middleweight fight. The Style Bender vs. the Eraser. Anderson Silva should come first.
Jim Miller teaches self defense with a fishing pole. Crucial stuff.
With the @FoundationIke tournament right around the corner, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about self defense from my fellow anglers. The simple answer folks, is that you’ve been training to whoop ass since your days of a bobber and worm. @mike_Iaconelli #crossfucked pic.twitter.com/7jHQH5fBcP— Jim Miller (@JimMiller_155) July 19, 2018
This raccoon was not dissuaded by this woman’s paddle. Maybe she should sign up for Jim Miller’s class.
Courtney Casey replaces Alexa Grasso, facing Angela Hill next month in Nebraska.
Cortney Casey vs. Angela Hill has been added to UFC Lincoln on 8/25, according to sources. Casey replaces Alexa Grasso, who recently withdrew from the card. Update coming shortly to ESPN.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 19, 2018
Cat Zingano’s fan art is good.
Don’t forget steroids, Jonny Bones- I mean, dick pills, and cocaine. Also, happy birthday.
You have to love this- a cashier gave Paul Felder advice on his spinning back fist.
Thanks wawa store cashier for the mma/spinning back fist advice. You look like u clearly have tons of mma experience #thankscoach— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) July 19, 2018
Ronda Rousey facing a basketball player for some reason
Yes, this fight was good before but it is better with lightsabers.
I wonder what advice George St. Pierre got from Sugar Ray Leonard
Volkan Oezdemir being out of his fight with Gustafsson could end up being a huge favor to Gustafsson, who may face an easier opponent now. Or a more difficult one, who knows.
Breaking: Volkan Oezdemir is out of UFC 227 due to injury. He was scheduled to face Alexander Gustafsson on Aug. 4. UFC currently seeking a replacement for Gustafsson but no guarantee he’ll remain on the card. More coming to ESPN shortly.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 19, 2018
Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting
Mitt work flow from a Muay Thai expert
A little Boxing Mitt work with the #SilkE One himself @the_eddie_abasolo_show Eddie has been labeled many things in his career; bad boy, prodigy, the matrix, the future, you name it. The only thing I know for sure is you will all know his name and Remember his art when we are done. He’s been an amateur World Champion, he’s a WBC Champion and he will be a Professional World Champion. He is the glue that holds my team together. Love you buddy ❤️ #CSAVSTheWorld
Fan art from Mike Perry’s fight with Paul Felder.
Slips, Rips, KO Clips
A dominant angle
Zoltsetseg Shinechagtga (Mongolia) KO's Akuri Ronda (Japan) #ONEWarriorSeries pic.twitter.com/qmrjI8zIYI— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) July 19, 2018
This slam is almost balletic in it’s effortless grace
July 19, 2018
Arm-triangle choke from PFL
Is the world ready for Francimar Barroso as a #1 seed? The much-maligned UFC vet (21-7, 1 NC) scores his second consecutive first-round finish, tapping Jack May with an arm triangle choke. The 38-year-old has finished 16 of his 21 victories, 13 in the first round. #PFL4 pic.twitter.com/7msZEQ9Rz9— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) July 20, 2018
I would hate to be the guy who wasn’t out when they thought I was out, but congrats to Steven Siler
Once again, we've got controversy involving a PFL guillotine. Steven Siler (31-17) seemingly clubbed and choked out Alexandre Almeida, though questions remain as to whether or not he was asleep. Nevertheless, Siler clinches the top seed with his 17th submission victory. #PFL4 pic.twitter.com/QIimtjWDnm— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) July 20, 2018
Firstly, amazing nickname. “The Mama’s Boy” is perfect. Secondly, I can’t believe this setup to the guillotine worked- Kelvin Tiller must have some serious squeeze
Kelvin "The Mama's Boy" Tiller locks up the guillotine in R2 and taps human wet blanket Jared Rosholt. #PFL4 pic.twitter.com/snHeGyak0H— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) July 20, 2018
Fantastic technique. Immortal, almost.
Beautiful sweep by Valiev #PFL4 pic.twitter.com/eVnOWFNakw— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) July 20, 2018
- Luke Rockhold’s after the fact “I would totally have gone HAM on Brock Lesnar” when in real life he couldn’t be bothered to do anything besides stand there in his white pants was my chuckle of the day.
- The real heavyweight contender who is being overlooked, Curtis Blaydes, shouldn’t be so hard on himself. His fighting style is plenty exciting. He slams and elbows his way to wins. The problem is solely that more people will pay to see Brock Lesnar and his screwed-up teeth fight than even know who Curtis Blaydes is.
Podcasts and Video
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Top three fights to watch in Hamburg this weekend:
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I have a personal project I’ve been working on for the better part of a year in between writing Midnight Mania for you, and my day job. It will be live on Kickstarter this coming Monday- it has nothing to do with combat sports, but feel free to consider sharing and donating if it’s something you’re into. Here’s me explaining what its about- you can learn more at SwitchKick.org.