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It took some time, but Jorge Masvidal and the Ultimate Fighting Championship finally saw eye-to-eye long enough to get a deal done.
After weeks of sharing his discontent with the UFC on social media, Masvidal received a new contract from the Las Vegas-based promotion to step in and face Kamaru Usman on less than a week’s notice at UFC 251 this Saturday.
“I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but I got very, very close to it,” Masvidal told ESPN.
“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.”
Masvidal emerged as one of the organization’s biggest stars following a 2019 that saw him author finishes of Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. However, “Gamebred” initially claimed that he was offered less to face Usman in a championship fight than he received to defeat Diaz at UFC 244.
“The initial deal … was a s—t 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. So all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses.”
The nature of the offer changed, Masvidal said, when Gilbert Burns was forced to withdraw from UFC 251 after testing positive for COVID-19. The 48-fight veteran claims he will continue to be outspoken about fair compensation in order to get what he believes he deserves.
"We're not there yet, but we're headed in that direction," Masvidal said. "Moving forward after this fight, they're gonna treat me accordingly. Or I'll just step in last minute six days to go and get paid then, I guess. That's the new scheme I have to do, whatever. But I'm gonna get paid every time out.”
Now comes the matter of performing on fight night. Masvidal revealed that he weighed 192 pounds as of Sunday evening. After testing negative for COVID-19, the Miami native is expected to fly to Abu Dhabi via private jet on Monday, and he is confident he’ll be able to do what he needs to do to become UFC welteweight champion.
"I never stopped training," Masvidal said. "I'm always training. But I'm not always in the gym doing the specifics.
"If you're asking me, are you in shape?" Masvidal said. "... Maybe not to fight Ben Askren. I'm not in Ben Askren shape, because he's a hell of a wrestler. Or even to fight a guy like Darren Till. But am I in shape for this bum I'm about to decapitate and baptize? Hell yeah."
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