It’s safe to say Tony Ferguson’s UFC 274 media day was an airing of grievances and then some.
The former interim lightweight champion did not hold back on his displeasure with not just the way he’s been treated throughout his time in the promotion, but also other fighters who have graced the UFC roster over the years.
“Oh you guys are listening now, that’s interesting,” Ferguson said. “That’s cool. This is why I haven’t done any interviews. This is why I just kept my mouth shut for a long time. A lot of fighters have been keeping their mouths shut for a long time.
“You should ask some of the other fighters that have been f-cking treated like sh-t for a long time too,” Ferguson continued. “I’m not the only one thinking it or f-cking saying it or seeing it. So maybe you should ask them too.”
As part of the same lengthy rant, prompted off a question about his one-year layoff between fights, he took aim at the perpetual hot-button topic of UFC fighter pay.
“I think we’re underpaid personally,” Ferguson said. “I’m gonna be real. I’m not gonna say it too much. Dana said something the other day talking about how boxers are overpaid. I asked Dana to box, he said ‘f-ck no.’ I’m like ‘Why?’ I want to go play baseball — I wanna go do other pro sports, I’m an athlete. I grew up playing different sports at a very high level. I won a state championship football ring right here, we were 27-1.
“I come from Grand Valley State University as a wrestler. I wanna go do pro wrestling, I got Uncle Brock that’s right there watching me. I wanna go do all these things but then I have this guy right here acting like a f-cking drug dealer telling me I can’t go and do this sh-t. I wanna go make more money for my family.”
Ferguson (25-6) has been with the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter since 2011, and despite a memorable 12-fight winning streak he never competed for the lightweight title. The most famous instance of him losing a title shot was the freak accident that occurred prior to UFC 223 fight week, which injured Ferguson and eventually led to Khabib Nurmagomedov winning the vacant belt against Al Iaquinta.
“I’m waiting for insurance,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been competing in this sport for a long time. I took a bad fall at FOX. They took my title from me. I don’t even have to go into the Miller-Ayala Act, where an agent is not supposed to be competing in the same sport as you. But you guys know what I’m talking about, right?
“Then I’m gonna get stripped of my title, because I f-cking took a bad fall on accident? I should’ve sued. But what I did was I felt good for my company. I wanted to be the man, I wanted to make sure that everybody knew that I f-cking could do this stuff without anybody else’s help. So that’s a little bit of a chip on my shoulder, you know what I mean?”
If it wasn’t obvious by the quotes, the full video (via MMA Fighting) makes it clear that Ferguson was not in a jovial or joking mood. He unleashed everything that was on his mind and one year after saying Michael Chandler had ‘Dana White privilege,’ Ferguson doesn’t consider it a laughing matter.
Ferguson vs. Michael Chandler serves as the featured non-title bout on the main card of UFC 274, which airs on Saturday, May 7th from the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.