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Gegard Mousasi lifts the lid on his ‘brutal’ dealings with the UFC and Dana White

The Bellator champ talked about getting low-ball offers from the UFC.

Gegard Mousasi before he fought Thiago Santos at UFC 200.
Gegard Mousasi before he fought Thiago Santos at UFC 200.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Last month Gegard Mousasi continued to show that he is one of the better fighters on the planet, when he delivered a short, and clinical, smackdown of Austin Vanderford to defend the Bellator middleweight title. The win extended the 36-year-old’s current winning streak to four and improved his pro record to 49-7-2.

Mousasi recently spoke to Shakiel Mahjouri of CBS Sports about what comes next and what has come before, specifically his tenure in the UFC.

Before talking about his experiences with the UFC, Mousasi revealed that he has five fights left on his Bellator contract and that he doesn’t see himself competing in MMA once those are done.

The former Strikeforce champ added that he does want to try his hand at boxing, though.

“I think I deserve it after all these years of fighting,” he said. “That I can demand something. I want to do a boxing fight because I know I can win. I’m not just talking shit. Anderson Silva, I would eat him alive in boxing. I’m not challenging him in an MMA fight because he’s lost, his age is up, but boxing is more entertainment.”

Mousasi seemed to suggest that he felt he would be able to come to an agreement with Bellator on allowing him to take a boxing fight. Such an arrangement has become a hot button issue as of late. Famously, UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and the UFC are at loggerheads over Ngannou’s desire to operate more independently and take a boxing match versus Tyson Fury.

Mousasi knows the UFC ecosystem better than most. He plied his trade inside the Octagon from 2013 to 2017 before signing for Bellator, Mousasi left the UFC on the heels of a five fight winning streak, which included TKOs of Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall and Chris Weidman.

With Mahjouri he revealed that, before he left for Scott Coker’s organization, the UFC had suggested he fight Luke Rockhold. However, Mousasi said he had some intel that soured that proposal.

“I think that was the fight that they wanted to make, but I knew what Jacare [Souza] was offered because he was offered at the same night,” Mousasi revealed. “They offered me much, much lower than Jacare. I said, ‘I’m not going to sign that shit.’ They low-balled me. On my first contract also, because I was coming off Strikeforce, okay I wasn’t doing very well in UFC, they said, ‘You sign it or you leave.’ No negotiations. You sign or you leave. UFC can be hard in negotiations. People think it’s all kisses and hugs. Believe me, they can be brutal. If they need you, Dana White will call you... If they don’t need you, you’re going to find out on Sherdog that you’ve been released.”

Mousasi is 7-1 since joining Bellator with his lone loss being to Rafael Lovato Jr. in 2019. That loss cost Mousasi the middleweight title, which he regained with a win over Douglas Lima in 2020. Before defending the title against Vanderford, he defended it versus John Salter—winning that match by third round TKO.

If you go by the rankings, the next challenger for Mousasi is the 7-0 prospect Johnny Elben. However, Mousasi is wandering whether a bigger fight might be available to him.

“Who is Johnny Elben... I’ve never heard of him,” said Mousasi. “I had the same problem when I was coming up. I didn’t have any names [on my record] so they didn’t give me the fights I wanted. That’s the problem because, of course, the promotion wants to make signs that read me vs. Yoel Romero. That’s interesting; although, what’s that guy’s name, Johnny Elben? Maybe he’s a tougher opponent. But the promotion is going to do big-name vs. big name because fans want to see that. I have nothing against anybody. Maybe they have to sell some crack or hit somebody in the streets. Maybe that will make a name for them.”