THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 3/9: Tony Ferguson upset with earning less than half of his contracted purse due to fight cancellation (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Khabib Nurmagomedov (photo credit Adam Hunger © USA Today Sports)

It turns out Khabib Nurmagomedov’s weight-cut misfire was costly to more than just himself.

After revealing earlier in the week that he turned down a last minute fight against Michael Johnson after learning he would not be paid the same as he would have made in a title fight, Tony Ferguson told MMAJunkie Radio on Wednesday that he was paid “less than half” of his contracted purse after the Nurmagomedov fight was called off.

Despite making weight himself and being ready to take the fight, Ferguson was not offered the $250,000 guarantee he was promised (he would have made even more with a win), and he wasn’t happy about it.

“It was like a slap to the face,” he said. “I did everything in my power that I could to show up on that scale, and that’s what I thought we were going to do. That’s why you call it show money. And to every fan that’s out there in the world, Dana (White), he said they cut me out a check, and I didn’t get a check, and then this morning I got my wire, and I’m looking at it and I’m like, ‘What the frick, man?’ I’m like, ‘Seriously?’”

Nevada law dictates that fighters are to be compensated as outlined in their respective bout agreements. Ferguson has not shared his UFC 209 bout agreement, but UFC bout agreements in the past that have been leaked make no such stipulation that a fighter will be paid their show money if they make weight, even though that has customarily been the case. MMA Fighting’s Luke Thomas tweeted today that UFC bout agreements from 2016 say that fighters are to be compensated upon “completion of the bout.” With that in mind, UFC is within their right to compensate Ferguson at their discretion.

While Tony Ferguson may be upset, based on the lopsided nature of UFC contracts, he’s going to have to hope his opponent shows up to fight if he wants his full paycheck next time. (SOURCE ARTICLE)

Hiscoe’s Analysis: It is cases like this that make the need for a union among UFC fighters so crucial. Tony Ferguson’s livelihood was entirely in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s hands that weekend. Ferguson did everything he was obligated to do in order to be paid according to his contract except fight, and that opportunity was not afforded to him. Even though UFC classifies Ferguson and all other UFC fighters as independent contractors, he would not have been allowed to fight for another promotion that night, next week, or ever, based on his contract. He was given a different opportunity to fight that night, but they were explicit in that they were not going to pay him what they would have for the Nurmagomedov fight. UFC did nothing legally wrong in how they handled the Ferguson situation, but it is a scummy business practice and something a fighters union would rectify rather quickly.


-Joe Rogan appeared on ESPN’s “5ive Rounds” podcast and was critical of the Georges St. Pierre vs. Michael Bisping matchup. He feels that Yoel Romero should be getting the next UFC Middleweight Title shot. “Why have a champion at all?” he said. “Just set up great fights. And if you’re just setting up great fights, well (Bisping vs. GSP is) a great fight.”

-The trial of Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver began this week. His accuser, Christy Mack, took the stand on Wednesday. “He said he would send his Navy SEAL friends or Hells Angels after me and my family if he ever went to jail,” she said of her ex-boyfriend. “He said now I have to take you into the desert and kill you.” Koppenhaver is being tried on 34 felony charges including attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. (SOURCE: BLOODY ELBOW)

-In today’s testimony, Mack admitted that she sent Koppenhaver a topless picture of herself shortly before he arrived at her home where she was with her boyfriend and allegedly brutally beat her. She went on to detail the injuries she sustained a fractured eye, shattered teeth, and shattered ribs. (SOURCE: NY POST)

-The California State Athletic Commission is proposing increasing fines for fighters who miss weight to include 20 percent of their win bonus. Currently, only 20 percent of the fighter’s “show” money is fined. (SOURCE: MMAFIGHTING)


-Joe Lauzon vs. Stevie Ray has been booked for UFC Fight Night Nashville on April 22.

-Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez has been announced for UFC 211 on May 13 from Dallas.


Watch TRT Vitor Belfort welcome Luke Rockhold to UFC back in May 2013: CLICK HERE

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 3/8: Key heavyweight fight called off due to USADA violation flagging of Ben Rothwell (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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