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UFC 266 title challenger Brian Ortega jokes that he’d take a dive for $1 million

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TJ Dillashaw, Brian Ortega, Josh Thomson, and Brendan Schaub got to discussing some of the UFC’s more generous locker room bonuses and whether or not it’d be worth losing a fight to get one.

Brian Ortega celebrates after his win of Chan Sung Jung.
Brian Ortega celebrates after his win of Chan Sung Jung.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former and current UFC fighters gathered together last Saturday to watch the UFC’s latest PPV offering. Brendan Schaub brought Josh Thomson, TJ Dillashaw, and Brian Ortega on for his Fight Companion podcast to watch UFC 265, where Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane faced off for a piece of the UFC heavyweight championship.

While watching along as their fellow athletes competed inside the Octagon, the discussion turned to UFC locker room bonuses. TJ Dillashaw talked about how the UFC promised to “take care of” him for taking his bout with Joe Soto on 24 hours notice—for which Dillashaw says he got “zero dollars” bonus. And how the UFC made and failed to deliver on similar promises to Chris Weidman for his short notice fight with Demian Maia. When talk turned to a reported million dollar payout to Daniel Cormier for one of his losses to Jon Jones, however, the discussion got a little more interesting.

“If that’s the case, I f-ckin’ might lose for a million dollars,” upcoming UFC title challenger Brian Ortega joked in reaction to the Cormier story.

“You wouldn’t though,” Dillashaw chided. “You say that now, but you wouldn’t though.”

“Bro, I’d get my ass beat for a million dollars,” Ortega stated.

“You wouldn’t though, you wouldn’t.” Dillashaw continued, adding that Ortega is “too prideful” to take a dive. “You say that now, ‘Oh, a million dollars!’ But, the fight is worth more than a million dollars. If they’re willing to pay you a million dollars to lose, then if you win it’s worth more than a million dollars.”

“No, not my next one. I mean, like, a fight, ever,” Ortega conceded.

“That’s any fight, ever. Ever,” Dillashaw said, adamantly. “If they’re willing to pay you a million dollars to lose, it’s worth five times that to win.”

“I dunno dude, I’ve been fighting for a while and I have yet to get a million dollar paycheck,” Ortega mused.

“No, no, but I’m just saying,” Ortega added, when Schaub tried to argue that he’ll likely get a million dollars if he beats Volkanovski. “Of course I won’t lose the next one. I’m not saying [makes dive motion].

“But, if they were, like, ‘Hey bro, [makes dive motion again].’ For a million? And then I can still keep staying at the top?” Ortega responded as Dillashaw dismissed the idea with a “F-ck that.”

“I’ll just go practice my acting, you know?” Ortega concluded. “‘Yeah you gotta go get your ass kicked in a movie.’ Alright, lemme do it for real. There’s a real method actor.”

Whatever his feelings on taking a potential dive, it doesn’t sound like fans need to worry about anything untoward in Ortega’s upcoming title fight against the featherweight champ. But it’s fascinating to hear a fighter talk about the kind of circumstances that might make him consider abandoning his pride in the ring.

UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega is set to take place on September 25th in Las Vegas, NV. Alongside the featherweight main event, the card is expected to feature a women’s flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Lauren Murphy. The long awaited welterweight rematch between Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawer is also set for the PPV portion of the card.