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Dana White claims ‘f—ing lunatic’ Paulo Costa’s UFC pay claims are ‘the furthest thing from the truth’

UFC’s president is once again pushing back against accusations that he doesn’t pay his fighters fairly.

UFC 253 Adesanya v Costa Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Dana White is once again speaking out against vicious rumors that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) underpays its fighters.

During an appearance on Barstool Sports’ Bussin’ With The Boys, White pushed back against Paulo Costa’s claims that they were lowballing him leading into an announced bout against Robert Whittaker in Australia. According to Costa, he was still stuck on a contract from 2017 that payed him $70,000 to show and $70,000 to win.

“Borrachinha” allegedly declined the fight after UFC offered a four-fight deal worth $500,000.

“I just had a situation recently, and I’ll tell you who it was, it was Paulo Costa,” White said. “He is a f— lunatic. He acts like a lunatic. And he came out publicly and ... kind of said what we offered him. It was the furthest f— thing from the truth. It wasn’t true. And this was a while ago, and this is the first time I’ve even talked about it. But, it’s just an example.

“See, these guys will say stuff like that because they know I won’t talk about it publicly because I really don’t give a s—t,” White continued. “All these people who come out and say ‘The UFC doesn’t pay their fighters, they only pay this percentage of this that and everything else. We got an awful lot of people who sit out and he recently came out about an offer we made and it was the furthest thing from the truth.

“I’ve been in the business for 23 years,” White added. “How many guys have left? I just did a new eight-fight deal with Jon Jones, who was sitting out over money issues. I just did a new eight fight deal with ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley. The list goes on and on. The guys that leave are the guys that, we’re okay with them leaving. The guys who leave are the guys we’re okay with.”

Using Jones as an example isn’t exactly proving what White wants to prove. Jones was effectively benched for years because UFC refused to renegotiate his lengthy contract for a move up to Heavyweight. That contract was so iron-clad that Jones had two options: take what UFC offered or retire. He certainly wasn’t leaving, because UFC was not okay with him leaving.

Even “Sugar” Sean O’Malley admitted he was somewhat uncomfortable signing an eight-fight deal with UFC because of what happened to Jones.

“I signed for eight fights, which is kind of a lot,” O’Malley said about his new contract. “That’s typical, six to eight fight, five, eight, fights, they always do that to kind of lock you in. But they’re also fair. In my situation, I’ve never fought out a contract. I’ve always been able to re-negotiate before that time was over. So, kinda planning on being able to do that.

“It’s tricky because that’s what happened with Jon Jones, he was on his sixth fight or whatever and wanted a new contract,” he added. “‘We still got you for two.’ So it is tricky.”

It certainly is tricky because UFC holds all the power in these situations where fighters are locked up in lengthy contracts. Are they compensated fairly? That probably depends on your opinion of what’s fair. White and Paulo Costa seem to disagree on that, which is the reason Paulo’s days in UFC are probably at an end.

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