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Luke Rockhold holds nothing back in F-bomb-filled fighter pay rant: ‘Our lives are on the f—king line’

2016 UFC199 Weigh-in At The Forum Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Luke Rockhold is simply letting it all out ahead of his return this weekend (Sat., Aug. 20, 2022) at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tasked with the assignment of Paulo Costa in the evening’s co-main event, the former UFC Middleweight titleholder is also letting his feelings be known on the reoccurring issue of fighter pay. Rockhold, 37, believes a lot has changed since the promotion sold to WME-IMG in 2016 ... but not necessarily for the better.

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BLOCKBUSTER WELTERWEIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Sept. 10, 2022, with a must-watch updated Welterweight thriller that will see perennial fan favorite, Nate Diaz now battles former top-ranked Lightweight contender, Tony Ferguson, who will return to the 170-pound weight class for this last minute, upgraded assignment. Meanwhile, In UFC 279’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, we now get the undefeated No. 3-ranked contender, Khamzat Chimaev, opposite Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland.

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“Root against me for what? What’re they gonna do?” Rockhold asked at UFC 278 media day. “Root against me, do your thing, dude. I’m here to fight. I’m not saying anything that’s not real. Everything I’m saying is justified and truthful. Just because I should be in a position of power before I say this s—t, f—k off, I got nothing to lose. I don’t need this business. I love fighting and I’m here to fight the best motherf—kers and this happens to be the place where it’s done.

“The company is f—king growing and they’re implementing other little stupidass bonuses,” he continued. “$5,000 here, $5,000 there ... $50,000, man. We’ve been stuck in this motherf—ker for f—king 20 f—king years. I mean, back when ‘GSP’ (Georges St-Pierre) fought Jake [Shields], what was it, $100,000? F—king there was growing. When Lorenzo and Frank [Fertitta] were running the show, there was real grounding wires. These guys don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just letting Dana [White] run the show and suppress the sport. They need to grow, this whole f—king thing needs to grow together. Our lives are on the f—king line. Health care needs to be taken care of, our f—king health needs to be taken care of. Mine has not been taken care of.”

Rockhold’s run in mixed martial arts (MMA) took a turn for the worse in that same year UFC was sold by Zuffa, losing his title in a short-notice rematch against Michael Bisping at UFC 199. Since then, Rockhold has gone 1-2, having lost his last two bouts with the most recent coming in his Light Heavyweight debut against Jan Blachowicz in March 2019.

Surely, with Dana White’s recent comments highlighting the unlikeliness of such impending change as long as he’s around, it surely only added fuel to the fire for Rockhold.

“There’s a lot of things that need to f—king change,” Rockhold said. “I’m just not gonna be scared to say it. Everyone wants to [keep quiet] because they want to get that f—king title shot and move up and this ... I’ve f—king done it all. It’s like, yeah, this is business. Every business is like this. It’s about leverage. It’s a game of leverage in life and it’s about always keeping the upper hand. It’s not just here, it’s everywhere. And if you let these motherf—kers think that they have that leverage, it’s only gonna grow above you. So, it’s just people understanding their worth.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 278 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 278: “Usman vs. Edwards 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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