This month is the 14-year anniversary of Gegard Mousasi’s MMA debut. The Iranian-born Dutch-Armenian fighter who debuted in 2 Hot 2 Handle in the Netherlands has carved out a prolific fighting career in his more than a decade’s worth of work. He’s fought for Pride, DREAM, Strikeforce, and just about every other semi-notable long-standing promotion out there. His record of 49-6-2 includes wins over Hector Lombard, Melvin Manhoef, Jacare Souza, Mark Hunt, and many more.
Currently he’s under contract with the UFC, a carryover from their buyout of Strikeforce. He’s had 11 fights with the promotion, since coming over in 2013, winning three performance of the night bonuses and getting 5 stoppages. Mousasi is currently riding a 4-fight win streak and knocking on the door of a potential title shot.
So he should be pretty happy with where his career is standing, right? Maybe not.
Mousasi is coming up on the last fight on his UFC contract and - as he told Damon Martin’s Fight Society Podcast - after taking a look at what other top fighters in the promotion are making, it seems like he feels pretty undervalued (transcript via MMAFighting).
“I just see that Vitor Belfort is making tons more money than me. I defeated Dan Henderson, he’s making tons more money than me. I defeated Mark Hunt. He’s making $800,000 a fight. I can beat Michael Bisping and even before he was champion he was making a lot more than me. Why don’t I deserve to make some money? . . . How is it possible Mark Hunt is making $800,000 with a record of 10-10? He has a record of 10 wins, 10 losses. Look at my record. How the f**k is that possible?”
“It comes all down to this fight. That’s why I trained so hard for this fight. It’s not because I want to beat Chris Weidman. It’s because I need to get paid, and I’m going to get paid. That’s what I’m going to do.”
But, if recent history is anything to go by, Mousasi’s quest for a better contract may take him out of the UFC altogether. Phil Davis, Ryan Bader, Lorenz Larkin, Kyoji Horiguchi, and Rory MacDonald are among the steady stream of high profile fighters who have looked to make bank on MMA free agency and have failed to come to terms with the UFC. Given Mosuasi’s past relationship working with Bellator’s Scott Coker, if the UFC isn’t ready to lay out a serious offer for the ‘Dreamcatcher,’ he could be the latest fighter to cut ties with the promotion.
UFC 210 takes place this Saturday, April 8th, in Buffalo, NY. The card is expected to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson. Gegard Mousasi is scheduled to meet former middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the co-main event.