Shortly after his first win in almost five years, Dominick Cruz surprisingly used his time in the spotlight at UFC 259 for a seemingly random callout relating to his sponsorship rep. He put Hans Molenkamp on blast and called for a charity fight, claiming that the business development representative of Monster Energy was using his position for personal gain.
Monster has been a blue chip sponsor of the UFC, and also has had separate deals with many other prominent fighters such as Conor McGregor and Jon Jones. The former bantamweight champion alleged that Molenkamp forces fighters to give him “clout” by posing for photos, and keep commenting and liking posts on his personal social media accounts.
“He’ll probably love that he’s getting plugged like this, to be honest, so it’s actually a benefit for him, so he should thank me,” Cruz said. “It was just that we’re in a day and age where you can...if I take a picture with Conor McGregor like this, now I’m Conor McGregor’s friend, right? If I take a picture with Dominick Cruz and have him commenting on my page, we’re in a day and age where that looks like we’re friends. Well, I may be your friend, but you can’t use me in order to get clout as they put it. I’m not here to be used.
“Look at my face, look at my body, I get beat to death for a living. So when you try to force me and you text me if I don’t comment on your page, if I don’t give you an interview, that you’re going to take what pays my bills? What are we doing? Monster sponsors me, not you.”
Cruz noted how Monster Energy has previously “ignored” other people’s complaints. Now that he brought it up in a bigger, public stage, the company has since issued a response.
“We take any such allegations seriously and are looking into it at this time,” a Monster spokesperson told MMA Fighting. The report also stated how Molenkamp’s longterm phone number had been disconnected as of Monday.
In his post-fight scrum, Cruz also referenced Dana White’s previous complaint about Molenkamp. The exchange he was alluding to happened in 2019, when the Monster Energy rep claimed he was the reason White “became best friends” with pro skater Rob Dyrdek. This was White’s response to Molenkamp on Instagram (HT: BJPenn.com):
Biggest crock of sh*t ever. When I see everyone of your posts I think is this guy joking right now or is he actually serious? I met you through Tiki, when Tiki asked me to take a picture with the T-Shirt he asked me to wear. I’m assuming you met most of the fighters through Tiki. You walk up to people and have someone secretly taking pics and then posting pics like you are in some meeting and post corny sh*t like ‘soaring with the eagles’. I usually just laugh and say is he f*cking serious right now??? I don’t know exactly what you do for @monsterenergy but it seems like you decide which fighter gets a sponsorship and which doesn’t so I’m sure that’s why they let you post the crazy sh*t like you attempting to spar with them and other goofy sh*t. I didn’t become ‘best friends’ with Rob through you and you are FAR from being the guy who ‘influences the influencers’ stop blowing smoke up everyone’s ass! #realtalk
White also addressed the issue at the UFC 259 post-fight press conference, conceding that it’s Monster Energy’s business and saying that it’s a “privilege” to get sponsorship money from them.
“It’s all weird. Is Hans a goofy dude? Yeah, he’s a very goofy dude,” White said. “But they’re a sponsor. These guys are a sponsor, they’re great sponsors, they pay these guys a lot of money. Monster is one of these companies that really, really takes care of people and it’s their company. They can sponsor whoever they want, they can run their business however they want.”
Molenkamp currently has over 221,000 followers on Instragram.