After Israel Adesanya’s impressive win over the legendary Anderson Silva at UFC 234 earlier this month, he said in his post-fight interview that he should receive a percentage of the pay-per-view sales. After some time to think about it, he's standing by that assertion.
UFC 234 was originally meant to be headlined by Australian middleweight champion Robert Whittaker who was scheduled to defend his 185-pound belt against Kelvin Gastelum, but Whittaker was forced to withdraw just a day before the fight to undergo surgery on a hernia. The last-minute withdrawal left the Nigerian-born New Zealander Adesanya as half of the main event, opposite Silva, the greatest middleweight of all time.
Adesanya has had time to reflect on the comments he made about the pay-per-view cut and doubled down on them during Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting):
“Look, the numbers don’t f*cking lie, even, I know the UFC has their ways of looking at the system, the backlog or whatever seeing what people are really watching,” Adesanya said. “But, just going on the Countdown show itself, the Countdown show which everyone watches just to get hyped for these fights... The official one did a couple hundred thousand. Robert and Kelvin did a couple hundred thousands. I crossed a million [views], me and Silva. It’s not just me alone. If it was me alone, I don’t know if it would have done a million, maybe like 800,000, but I know with me and Silva together, this matchup, it’s done over a million. So I don’t feel like I should get it, I don’t feel like Silva should get it, I feel like we should both get it.”
Adesanya says he did his job to build interest in the fight and said the only reason Silva and himself was not the main event is because there was a belt on the line regarding Whittaker and Gastelum.
“I sold this fight,” Adesanya said. “I did my job. I hyped this fight up, and, I don’t want to say ‘hype it up’ like it’s some bullsh*t way but I did my job. I showed up, I fought, and before that, the fight was already sold with just the magnitude of this fight and the story, the value behind this fight, so, yeah, I sold this fight. I did my job, and I feel like I was already the main event anyway, he just happened to be champion fighting the number one contender. We were the fight people wanted to see the most.”
Adesanya’s contract with the UFC doesn’t currently contain a cut on any pay-per-view points, which are generally awarded only to champions and a few former champions, but he believes his performances have warranted some good faith from the UFC to give him something back for his efforts.
“I feel like definitely the UFC has every right not to give us those points because it wasn’t in the contract,” Adesanya said. “But fair is fair and it’s not always, we’ve always had a good working relationship and I want to keep it that way, so, eventually we will sit down with Dana and say okay what can we do because that’s a lot of money being left on the table and for the hard work that me and Anderson Silva put in and so yeah. I don’t want to leave that money on the table when I feel it belongs in my pocket.”