Recently, two UFC stars were fortunately granted what appears to be a massive pay bump for their new contracts. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya received his right before his UFC 271 title rematch with Robert Whittaker, while Jorge Masvidal got the same treatment right before his UFC 272 headliner with Colby Covington.
Normally, this would be refreshing, welcoming news about a company that’s often been criticized about fighter pay. But of course, not everyone will be happy, especially those who aren’t getting the same piece of the pie. One of them is retired ex-double champion Henry Cejudo, who’s been vocal about his dissatisfaction with his compensation.
“Triple C” recently spoke more about it with veteran journalist John Morgan in The Underground. Here, he also criticized the pay increases of both Masvidal and Adesanya.
“Money talks, bullshit walks, and I’m not walking. I’m not signing up to USADA until I really get what I deserve,” Cejudo said.
“They’re gonna give Israel Adesanya who doesn’t know how to do a damn moonwalk, can’t win a second belt, can’t defend a takedown to save his life? Or Jorge Masvidal, they’re gonna give money? He’s got 17 losses in his career, dude? And they can’t give the Triple C some of that cash?
“If you really think about it, it’s almost like, ‘Why do I do this, then?’ If the UFC’s just gonna handpick people to decide to pay… ‘Cause notice what they’re doing now. A week before the fight, they’re starting to give this big payday to those guys ‘cause they want to keep the one-percenters happy. So nobody else talks shit.
“I am those one-percenters. How come they ain’t paying me? I will beat up Petr Yan, I will beat up Alexander The Average, I will beat all these dudes up. And I’ve proven it. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”
The 35-year-old Cejudo remains ardent in his stance about being paid what he feels he deserves. But if he doesn’t get it, he says he won’t lose sleep over it.
“If they’re willing to pay me, I’ll let go of coaching. I’ll let go of a lot of this stuff to come back and make that money and strap on that second belt. Plain and simple,” he said.
“Yes, of course, they know (how much I deserve). But that’s what they do best, man. Lowball. It is what it is. And the cool thing about it, though, is I’m not mad at Dana. If he doesn’t feel like I’m worth that, then it’s all good.
“I have an incredible career, nobody will ever touch. Jones’ record will be shattered, Demetrious Johnson’s record will be shattered, Khabib’s 29-0 will be shattered. We may never see an Olympic champion, a two-division champion, probably in history.
“I put myself in a whole ’nother category, a whole ‘nother level with Manny Pacquiao, eight-division world champion. Usain Bolt, fastest man on the planet. Michael Phelps, 23 Olympic gold medals. That’s kind of where I’m at.”
Cejudo continued to push for fights against Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski for his potential return. He last saw action at UFC 249 in 2020, when he TKOd Dominick Cruz in the second round to defend the undisputed 135-pound title.