Reining UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and ‘BMF’ champ Jorge Masvidal have been sniping at each other for the better part of a year, but ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ says things only turned personal after ‘Gamebred’ turned down a short notice fight at UFC 249.
Speaking to MMA Fighting in a recent interview, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ gave his account of what happened behind the scenes.
“I don’t know exactly what was said from their end, but I know when the UFC says something like that, it pretty much means they probably came out and said ‘we want $10 million’ or something crazy like that where you know you’re not going to get [it] but that’s just easier way of turning down the fight than you actually saying ‘no, I don’t want to fight right now,” Usman explained.
“I was ready to go. I was training. I got in the gym. Obviously, I wasn’t training as regularly as before that opportunity came about. So after that I started training, I started dieting. That was maybe going to be a 25-pound weight cut for me in two weeks to get down to weight and fight the fight and I was willing to do it to save the event but I guess he wasn’t.”
From then on, things only got worse. Usman has accused Masvidal of hiring his manager, Abraham Kawa, to send out derogatory tweets on his behalf.
“The one thing that’s hard for people to understand right now and people don’t really know is it’s not necessarily Masvidal that’s doing all this, that’s orchestrating all of this and tweeting these tweets and saying the things that he’s saying,” Usman said. “Yes, when he gets in front of an interview camera or something of that nature, yeah, that’s him, which goes hand in hand but the majority of what’s being tweeted and what’s being put in video clips that they’re making, that’s all from his management.
“That’s all from Abe [Kawa] that’s doing all that and I understand it, I get it. It’s marketing for them. They see this as an opportunity to really grow his brand. He’s had 18 years to be in this position and it hasn’t happened. Now they’re seeing this as an opportunity and they’re running with it big time. But really it’s his management that’s causing all this, that’s saying all these things and tweeting all these things.”
“Yeah, it’s getting personal because when you allow your management to tweet certain things for you, to say certain things or certain words to people, you’re condoning that as well,” Usman said. “So yeah, it’s turned into more of a personal situation.”
UFC 249 was eventually scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Usman is still willing to fight Masvidal on short notice, teasing of a possible fight with Jorge at the much-talked about, upcoming UFC event on May 9.
“I’m ready whenever,” Usman stated. “Like I said, as long as I’m compensated and you can quote me on this — I’m ready to rumble at any moment as long as I’m compensated. I am ready to rumble.
“So May 9 if something falls out, they need me to go, I’m ready to rumble. Just make sure I’m compensated.”
Usman last fought at UFC 245, where he TKO’d Colby Covington at T-Mobile Arena to retain his welterweight title. The 32-year-old is currently ranked No. 7 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.