Junior dos Santos parted ways with the UFC back in March following a four-fight losing streak. Despite ultimately being let go of the roster, dos Santos is now speaking out about the UFC and how his end could have come a lot earlier had he not been compliant. Dos Santos is stating that the UFC threatened to release him much sooner if he had turned down the fight contracts he was offered. He spoke to MMAFighting.com about this and more.
“They were really unprofessional, let’s put it this way, with the way they treated [me] like they [treat] everybody else,” dos Santos said. “I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. The last two fights I got were on those terms, ‘You take it or you’re out.’”
Dos Santos’ last two outings in the UFC were losses against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane. Gane is now matched up with champion Francis Ngannou and holding the interim title. His last four fights were all against top five guys and all TKO losses. Dos Santo is a former champion and has been an important part of the UFC heavyweight division since 2008. He still had five fights left on his contract at the time of his release.
“That’s what happens in the UFC and these promotions,” dos Santos said. “That locks up the athletes, [losing] great possibilities to negotiate, and they do what they want. The UFC has the safety to keep you locked for eight fights. Now, you lose the first one and they can let you go if they want, there’s no safety [for the athlete]. It’s different in boxing, you negotiate fight after fight, contracts, and pay. My case in the UFC, for example, I fought seven times before [fighting for] the belt. I was making the same amount of money stated in my contract.”
Since his release, Junior dos Santos had made his way over to professional wrestling. He made his debut on All Elite Wrestling (AEW) where he teamed up with Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky in a tag team match against Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, and Sammy Guevara. He might be putting MMA behind him after 14 years as a professional. If he has found a permanent home in wrestling, he can put the animosity with the UFC in the past.
“That’s in the past and it can’t leave the past,” dos Santos explained. “I’ve done a lot of therapy and learned to deal with that in a better way.”