Dana defends champ Renan Barao’s current pay, says ‘he is not the big star yet’

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

UFC President Dana White responded to Barao’s contract grievances at the pre-fight media scrum, where he stated that the bantamweight champ is not a “big star” for the organization.

After initially presenting the argument that Renan Barao was potentially the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, Dana White has now reverted back to describing him as "not a big star yet."  This comes on the tail-end of a discussion between White and media members regarding the champ's current contract.

The UFC bantamweight champion had recently stated that he would like to renegotiate his contract after UFC 173 so that his purse resembles that of the UFC's top stars.  The champ even compared himself to Urijah Faber, whom Barao has already defeated on two separate occasions but continues to earn less than.

"I'm very happy being an UFC champion. But I would like to improve my contract. Actually, an example: I know that Faber is a much older guy on the UFC, but he's not even a champion and has a much better purse than mine."

The UFC President responded to Barao's grievance at the UFC 172 pre-fight press conference, where he claimed that no fighter is ever truly satisfied with their contract.

"Show me the guy who is thrilled with his contract. I want to meet that [expletive] guy. Even Manny Pacquiao wasn't happy with his money to fight Floyd "Money" Mayweather and that number was $40 million. It is always going to be tough."

White would add that even though he is a fan of Barao, and had recently made the argument that the Brazilian should be considered for the top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings, he ultimately does not see him as a star at this stage of his career.

"Barao is in this spot - listen, who has been beating the Barao drum more than me. I think this kid is not there yet. He is the champion but he is not the big star yet."

Dana appeared less than pleased with the comment that Barao "saved" the UFC 173 fight card, and added that he hopes that is not the "direction" the promotion is taking with their bantamweight champ.

"He is a fighter and he gets paid to fight. That is the deal. He saved the event? It is when guys start talking like that...I hope that is not the direction we are going in with Barao."

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