Jorge Masvidal, dominoes

Jorge Masvidal talks UFC 251 negotiations, says getting underpaid, “Not going to happen no more”

A lot changed for Jorge Masvidal that last few days, including money and a new six-figure contract.

Masvidal came to terms with the UFC, stepping in on six days’ notice to fight welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the UFC 251 main event at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi this Saturday, July 11. It comes after Gilbert Burns was forced to withdraw following a positive COVID-19 test result

The tables turned after Burns replaced Masvidal originally, who could not come to terms with the UFC. Masvidal told Ariel Helwani of ESPN on Monday, July 6, the UFC offered him a better deal that he accepted. 

“I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but I got very, very close to it,” Masvidal said to Helwani.

“I’m happy more than anything because I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it. But one thing I’m not going to do, which I’ve done a long part of my career, is get underpaid. That’s not going to happen no more – not from here going forward.”

The first time

It’s quite the turn of events, especially after Masvidal asked the UFC to release him in June if the promotion didn’t think he was worth the asking price. Masvidal was unhappy with the UFC’s original offer.

The 35-year-old wanted more money than he received for his UFC “BMF” title fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 244 this past November. Masvidal defeated Diaz by third-round TKO [doctor stoppage].

According to Masvidal, the negotiations came down to how much he was making on the UFC 251 pay-per-view.

“The initial deal … was a (expletive) deal on the pay-per-view end and on the guarantee side, so I have two negatives,” Masvidal said. “I could understand you don’t want to give me that much on the guaranteed (money). But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money on that – and they weren’t budging, and that was that.”

Moving fast

Once the deal was made, Masvidal flew to Las Vegas on Sunday to test for COVID-19. Like all of the fighters competing in the four events on “Fight island,” Masvidal was quarantined in his hotel room after the test. 

Masvidal tested negative and is flying to Abu Dhabi today, Monday, June 6. He will undergo another test upon arrival.

The bout is coming together rather quickly. Masvidal told Helwani he weighed 192 pounds on Saturday, leaving him with 22 pounds to lose to make the welterweight title mark on Friday, June 10. 

Masvidal is on a three-fight win streak with wins over Diaz, Ben Askren and Darren Till. During that time, Masvidal earned one of the most talked about knockouts in UFC history, putting Askren out with a flying knee in five seconds at UFC 239 in July 2019. 

After making his UFC debut in 2013, Jorge Masvidal is finally getting his chance at UFC gold.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Masvidal said. “The journey has been so good to me.”

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