Luke Rockhold was not happy with how UFC president Dana White treated him following his middleweight title loss to Michael Bisping in 2016.
Following his loss to Bisping, Rockhold took a year hiatus from the sport and sought other opportunities. The former champion said on the Rippin’ It podcast that White’s tone suddenly changed once he landed a modeling contract with Ralph Lauren.
“Once I lost the world title, Dana White came up to me and tried to beat me down mentally and I was like ‘F—k you,’ straight up,” Rockhold said (h/t MMA Fighting). “I was like I’m going to go do my own thing, if you’re going to try and offer me this bullsh-t. You know who I am and what I did. So that was the only reason I went out and got a modeling contract, so I could leverage myself.
“I went back and within a year I got the fragrance with Ralph Lauren and then you’ve got Dana and them crawling back to me like ‘Hey Luke, what do you want to do? Can you fight here? Do you want this amount of money? Do you want that?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, that’s right motherf—ker.’”
In a week that has seen Jon Jones clash with White over financial terms for a fight with Francis Ngannou, Rockhold has compared the UFC’s negotiation tactics to that of the mafia. The UFC middleweight also cited the sport not having a governing body and White being a “tyrant” as issues too.
“Fighting is like a mafia,” Rockhold said. “It’s very mafioso tactics in negotiations. They try to f—k with you. I’m not having any of it. If you don’t know your worth someone will tell you your worth and it’ll be less than your worth. So know your worth and leverage yourself too.
“We don’t have a governing body, that’s another problem too,” Rockhold said. “They have governing bodies everywhere else but we’ve got an egotistical guy that’s a bit of a tyrant. No one - he is going to try to fight you and you’ve got to put your f—king ass on the line. Stand your ground and you’ve gotta take risks, otherwise you get treated like a b-tch”.