Norma Dumont will be fighting for more than just a win later tonight (Sat., Oct. 16, 2021) at UFC Vegas 40 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, as the Brazilian contender tries to make ends meet outside of the cage.
This will be Dumont’s first main event bid after a collection of cancelations left the UFC Vegas 40 card in shambles. The 31-year-old fighter will be matched up against Aspen Ladd in a five-round women’s featherweight main event. The winner could get a shot at current UFC women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes seeing as the 145-pound division is practically non-existent.
Even being one win away from a potential title shot Dumont is fighting to survive at UFC Vegas 40. That’s because the Brazilian contender isn’t making enough money as a member of the UFC roster to lived comfortably outside of the cage. Like many fighters who have experienced financial struggles before her Dumont needs a win to pay for the most basic things in life.
“I’m fighting to survive, to live, to pay the rent, my bills,” Dumont recently told Combate. “That’s what some people don’t understand. I’ve never had a good financial situation. I’ve always been hustling. People who are close to me know it. People think that because I’m in the UFC, in Vegas, I must be swimming in money. Ever since we’ve moved here, we’ve been doing food deliveries, now Johnny (Vieira, Norma’s coach) is working at the gym, but he doesn’t earn a lot, it’s enough to pay the rent. I have some support to cover food and and supplements, but that’s the minimum. If I show you what I have in the bank, I don’t have 50 dollars to spare. No lie, it’s the truth. My manager helps me a lot, otherwise I would have returned to Brazil already. This is not a problem for me though, it’s fuel. I have to do my job.”
Dumont only has three UFC bouts under her belt so she’s still fighting out her initial contract with the promotion. A win on Saturday would certainly give Dumont some negotiating power when it comes time to re-up with UFC, but her current rate of pay is simply not enough. In fact, Dumont believes UFC should think about offering up a minimum monthly salary for all fighters so they can comfortably afford food, bills, rent, and so on.
“When I lived in Brazil, I didn’t think that UFC fighters were paid badly. I thought it was good because I would convert it (to reais). But it’s hard for those who live in the U.S., because our expenses are also in dollars. It’s not a monthly thing, too. We get paid every four months or so, if you’re an active fighter. If you get injured, you’re f—ked. You don’t know when you’re coming back to the cage. I think it would be nice if the UFC would pay a minimum monthly wage of three or five thousand dollars. Then when a person fights, they would make what they already make today. Then you can survive for a few months and when you get the fight money, you can actually earn some money. Maybe it can get better when I renew my contract. The amount is really low in your first UFC contract. If you’re in Brazil saying we have no reason to complain, come to the U.S. and see you would not last three months here with your first UFC check. It’s the reality.”
Dumont may end up signing a more lucrative UFC contract in the future but she must first get past Ladd later tonight in Las Vegas to make that a possibility. While Dumont originally trained for a matchup with former UFC champion Holly Holm she will now have to deal with the pressure and takedowns of Ladd.
“Patience, always. It’s not my style to get in and out of range when striking, I’m a counter-striker. Our styles match up well. Aspen’s style is to come out swinging and it matches up well with counter-strikers. I don’t mind being within striking range the whole time. It’s difficult against Holly, because she runs all over the place and when you try get closer, she hits you. You have to know how to corner Holly.”
“You have to know how to control the fight for five rounds.” Norma continued. “If you empty your tank in the first two rounds, the next three will be all about heart. Holly has it. Aspen does not. After my loss I learned that being patient in the cage is something sacred, necessary. I’m going to be cool, countering, waiting for Aspen to come at me. Because she is going to, it’s what she does. So it’s an interesting pairing.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 40 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” bouts at 4:30 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.