Sean O’Malley’s campaign to only fight to his current UFC pay grade continues. The MMA Lab talent competing out of Glendale, Arizona made major headlines recently when he revealed that he’d rather avoid fighting ranked opponents in the UFC, considering he gets “paid the same” either way.
If fans expected O’Malley to potentially change his tune – perhaps following a hard conversation or two with UFC matchmakers & Dana White – it doesn’t appear the 26-year-old is about to back down. In a recent interview on the MMA Hour, O’Malley spoke about his philosophy on the business of fighting, adding PPV main-events and title shots to the list of things that he didn’t yet feel like he was getting paid to take on (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“I feel like I’m the main draw at 135, I’m the biggest name at 135,” O’Malley admitted. “So there’s a lot of sweet, sweet, interesting fights at 135 that I would love to be a part of. Obviously I want to get paid fairly, but yeah, I think I’m not too far off from fighting for the title, main-eventing pay-per-views. ... It depends. I really want to fight these three fights out and then start talking big names.
“I don’t think I should be main-eventing for the money I’m making right now. I think I should be getting paid more, so we’ll see.”
O’Malley did add, however, that his unwillingness to take the UFC’s offer of a fight with Frankie Edgar on their November 6th PPV card had nothing to do with Edgar’s spot in the rankings. That decision was entirely down to the card’s location, taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. Instead, O’Malley countered with the proposition of fighting Edgar, or possibly Dominick Cruz, at the UFC’s Las Vegas PPV on December 11th.
“At the end of the day, the UFC picks. If they offer me Frankie, like I said, I would love to fight Frankie,” O’Malley revealed. “Frankie is a top-10 guy I think and he’s a big-name guy. I wouldn’t have said no, ‘No, I don’t want to fight him because I want to get paid more to fight him.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight Frankie on Dec. 11th in Vegas.’ I would’ve loved for that fight. That’s the fight I was hoping for and that’s the matchup I wanted. I’ll also fight Dominick Cruz on Dec. 11th.”
Ultimately, it sounds like the Montana-born bantamweight is setting himself up to test free agency in the not too distant future, suggesting that he “could probably renegotiate a contract right now with the UFC,” but wouldn’t get the opportunity to field outside offers as part of the process. That doesn’t mean he’s preparing to leave the Octagon, however, as he noted that he still visualizes himself remaining with the promotion.
“I really do plan on staying with the UFC. I think I belong in the UFC,” O’Malley stated. “But also if I’m going to get offered twice as much money to go do something else—I love boxing. We’ll see where it goes. Like I said, I love the UFC, they’ve been nothing but great to me. And I think after this contract is up, I don’t think they’ll have an issue paying me what I think I deserve. But we might be on a completely different mindset there. They might not think I’m worth half a million or whatever the number is. I’ve been on like five consecutive pay-per-views.”
UFC 269 is set to take place on December 11th in Las Vegas, NV. Currently the card is expected to be headlined by a women’s bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena. Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt is also set to make his flyweight debut against Kai Kara-France. No word yet on whether O’Malley will find an opponent for the event.