MMA Root

Israel Adesanya: UFC should increase pay for newcomers, touts ‘trickle-down’ effect of his new deal – MMA Root

Israel Adesanya: UFC should increase pay for newcomers, touts ‘trickle-down’ effect of his new deal

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is optimistic that the UFC will agree a new deal with heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. But he believes that in general there is a lot of work to be done to pay the fighters.

Adesanya denied what he said was a narrative that his new contract was a result of Ngannou’s UFC status, which could see the heavyweight champion become a free agent by the end of this year. Adesanya touted his team’s work to close the deal, but he used his situation to illustrate a situation that is changing for the better for his colleague.

“Like I said, this is the first step,” Adesanya said at the UFC 271 post-fight press conference following his rematch victory over former champion Robert Whittaker. “[UFC President] Dana [White] already said they had lunch with him before he returned to Cameroon, they are going to have lunch when they get back.

“So yes, people make mistakes. The UFC is full of people, people make mistakes. Human error. But we can always correct these mistakes, and frankly, the tide lifts all ships. And with that, I feel like this is the first step in this effect of seeping through to the rest of the fighters and lifting everyone up.”

Adesanya did not name the amount of his new contract; his management team only said the deal would make the champion one of the highest paid fighters in the sport. Adesanya said his talks “shouldn’t take place because each case is different.” But he applauded Ngannou for being candid about the minimum contract amount paid to enter the octagon, reportedly a $600,000 “show purse” to fight Cyril Gein at UFC 270.

“In the case of Francis, he needed to talk about it because it was terrible and I respect him for that,” Adesanya said.

If any situation calls for more attention, the middleweight champion said these are the fighters at the bottom of the UFC totem pole. UFC 271 was a showcase event not only for Adesanya, but for several of his teammates from New Zealand’s City Kickboxing gym, including Mike Mateta (aka Blood Diamond) and Carlos Ullberg. The hall boasts no less than eight UFC fighters and, thanks to the success of Adesanya and others, has become famous in the MMA world.

Adesanya promoted his teammates at every opportunity before the fight and said promising fighters should be promoted.

“I’m not saying, for example, to pay [debuting fighters] crazy money,” he said. “No, just pay them enough to train, feed their families and not actually have a second or third job. Because we are UFC fighters. I love this company; I’ve wanted to be a part of this company for a long time – you saw my post when I was here in the same damn arena seven years ago at UFC 192 training on the weights until I got yelled at.

“I have wanted to be here for so long and now that I am here I am lucky to be in the position that I am in to sign this new contract, but the UFC will do the right thing. I feel like this is the first step. Francis started it and I get my dues too. But believe me, it was not just handed to me. … It’s just not brought to the media, so you guys can make headlines about it. We fight for what we have and I feel like it will reach the rest of the fighters because, yes, the time has come. “