Tim Elliott on declining UFC on FOX 26 bout: ‘It hurts, I just bought a house’

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When almost all of the UFC on FOX 26 fighters had already weighed in – but his opponent, Pietro Menga, wasn’t one of them – Tim Elliott started to worry.

Elliott was the first fighter to step onto the scale at the official weigh-ins on Friday morning in Winnipeg. He made weight with half a pound to spare.

Menga – who stepped up on short notice for his promotional debut against Elliott – did not have it as easy. He failed to weigh in, and the flyweight bout was scrapped from the event’s preliminary card. Menga told Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA India Show that he reached 131 pounds, but his doctor did not let him continue cutting weight.

When Elliott weighed in, the former title challenger had no indication Menga was not on track to make weight. But soon enough he put two and two together.

“I had no idea that he wasn’t gonna make weight,” Elliott told BloodyElbow.com. “I kind of suspected it when I didn’t see him at all; he was one of the last guys at the weigh-ins. I had an idea that he wasn’t gonna make weight. I know that he’s missed weight before, so it’s not like it’s the first time.”

The bout cancellation is crushing for Elliott, who said he puts “everything on the line” to be able to make a career out of mixed martial arts.

“It hurts,” Elliott said. “I just bought a house in Las Vegas, had a very expensive training camp, brought training guys out, did a lot of work, and paid a lot of money to get the very best training that I could possibly get. And now I’m getting half my paycheck.

“I have a two-year-old daughter — somebody that relies on me to make this a career. I don’t fight because I like to fight; that’s part of it, but this is a job, and I’ve worked very hard to get to where I’m at, and I feel like I should be compensated. I always make weight; I’ve taken fights on short notice, as well. That’s part of the game. If you can’t make the weight, you don’t say that you can. He said that he could make the weight – they asked him several times, they always do – and he couldn’t do it. It’s very frustrating.

“To see him doing interviews talking about how much bigger he is than me and how he is going to smash me, it’s funny that he would talk like that and then come in and miss weight. He’s not a professional. I’m sure he’s going to be cut after this and back in the minor leagues where he belongs.”

Elliott said that he and his team are still trying to convince the UFC to give him his win bonus, but that he’s confident they won’t succeed.

“I’ve been working on it, but I’m positive now (that I won’t get it),” Elliott said. “They told me it’s never happened before, they said that it’s not going to happen this time. But that’s not true – Ian McCall made weight, his opponent missed weight, and he got his show and win money because he has a good manager and his manager fought for it. I’ve had my coaches here begging and pleading. All I want is my fair compensation.”

After referring to Jason House of Iridium Sports Agency as the person who secured McCall his win bonus after his own bout was cancelled in 2016, Elliott added that he does indeed have a manager. But that his manager wasn’t able to help out here due to unrelated circumstances.

“I do have a manager: Joe Wooster. He was in a position where he didn’t have good phone service, so he allotted the duty on James Krause, who is a fellow UFC fighter, my coach, my training partner, one of my best friends,” Elliott said. “He’s been on the horn all day, trying to get my pay.”

Elliott had the chance to still fight Menga, despite the newcomer being overweight. In that situation, he would have received 20 percent of Menga’s fight purse. But Elliott chose to decline the bout, simply because Menga is on a low pay scale — and because five pounds can provide a major advantage.

“If he was closer, I would’ve accepted the fight,” Elliott said. “But to get 20 percent of his measly $10,000, I worked too hard for that. That wouldn’t cover my training camp; not even close. So no, I don’t want 20 percent of his nothing pay.

“The thing is, if he was making the money that I was making, then I would’ve taken the 10 percent. But this was his first fight in the UFC. He fights guys once every two years in England — old, washed up guys with terrible records. He has zero notable wins. He was getting paid exactly what he deserved, which was $10k and $10k, I think. So no, I don’t want $2,000 to fight a fat boy who can’t make weight. It’s not a smart career move. There was a time where I would have; I’d fight anybody, anytime. I was that guy, I was the go-getter, I wanted to make a name for myself. But them days are over. Now it’s time to be wiser and older in the sport, and I think most of the good guys would’ve done the same — but I think they would expect their compensation, as well.”

Elliott believes the UFC should give him his win bonus, since it was out of his control that Menga missed weight, and because he’s had a long history of working with the promotion, and never set a foot wrong.

“I’ve paid my dues in this sport; I’ve made weight every time I’ve ever come out to fight, I fought for a title, I won The Ultimate Fighter,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been a company man; I took fights on short notice, I fought the No. 1 guy in the world (in) my UFC debut, John Dodson, who had just knocked out T.J. Dillashaw. [Dodson’s] first fight at 125 pounds. I took that fight on six days’ notice.”

Elliott said he didn’t just lose out on an opportunity to compete on this one card, but he missed out on his stock going up and him moving up in the 125-pound division’s standings.

“I was really banking on this fight to get a win,” Elliott said. “T.J. Dillashaw is getting ready to fight Demetrious Johnson — I would love to get the winner of that fight, and a win here and one more win, I think, would’ve put me in a position to do that. And now I don’t get put in that position. That’s more money, I feel like, that was taken out of my pocket by an unprofessional European. I’m trying to get over it, and I’m trying not to get upset, but I’ve dedicated myself to the sport. The payout is just not worth it sometimes, and this is one of those times.”

Elliott wants to get in the Octagon as soon as possible. He’s eyeing the UFC Fight Night 124 card in St. Louis on Jan. 14, alongside teammates Krause and Zak Cummings.

“I need to fight,” he said. “This is a job, and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid — or if your opponent doesn’t make weight, you don’t get paid. It’s not a guaranteed paycheck. If they wouldn’t have found a replacement, I wouldn’t have gotten any money — no show money, no money to pay for camp. I’d like to fight as soon as possible and get the money I deserve.”

Comments

"I have a two-year-old daughter — somebody that relies on me to make this a career. I don’t fight because I like to fight; that’s part of it, but this is a job"

I don’t know why fighters continue to think that way. A fight career is unpredictable. One punch can end your life. One injury can sideline your "career" for a year or two. Fighting is not a job. Fighting is profession that carries a lot of risks. No one should consider a career in combat sports as career that will support a family.

There are many professional fighters that support themselves with a day job with good medical benefits.

Yeah I'm sorry, you choose to have a kid, that doesn't make you more or less deserving than a fighter who doesnt have a kid

Deserving of what?

getting your win money even though the fight is not happening

Is it in his contract?

If it is, then he doesn’t deserve it . . .he’s due his "win" money. Other than that, I imagine that he will get his show money.

No, its clearly not in his contract, that's why he's lobbying for his win money in this article

My point is that he uses the fact that he has a kid as his reasoning why he should get his win money and that insufficient justification in my opinion

Exactly, be an umber driver by day, ufc train by night. No pain no gain and definitely no sympathy

Uber is so disruptive it's difficult to spell

I sort of agree...

I mean with the bulk of it. It’s one of those jobs like being a musician. Don’t do it if you wouldn’t do it for fun anyway. They still deserve to get paid. But it’s not exactly the best way to support a family.

Believe it or not some fighters fight to make money and not for the love of it.

No shit.

But from a purely profit driven angle, there are better things to do. Only a handful of MMA fighters could call themselves rich. Shit, probably only the top 5 or 10 of each weightclass in the UFC would even be considered middle class in terms of income. Given the expenditure of training camps and travel etc. fighting 3 times a year and earning maybe 60k? Isn’t average income in the US like 50k? Without spending thousands of bucks on camps etc.

People need to get paid, but if it’s about the money for someone like Elliott, who’s never going to be a superstar, he’d probably be better off just being a trainer, or being a high school wrestling coach.

Then go tell him that. Give him career advice

If a fighters not going to be a superstar. Which most will never be. Then they better be careful with their money. Them being fighters shouldn’t be used against them when they want to earn money to make a living.

I agree with you, honestly

I believe they should all be getting paid the big bucks. But for as long as that’s not the case, there’s no sense sacrificing your health for little reward. That’s the only point I’m trying to make.

On one hand

He’s right. Fighters should get paid their win bonus in these situations. It’s only fair.

On th other hand, if his opponent is as bad as he seems to think, why not just smash the guy?

To not fight at a possible disadvantage.

Indeed, I don't know why people find this hard to understand

It’s like an NBA team giving their opponent a 5-point lead to start the game. Sure, you might think you have the best team in and the league, and maybe you can make up the 5 points no problem, but why would we ever allow the game to be played on those terms in the first place?

Tim takes the fight, turns in a boring fight and or loses that's used against him by the very promotion who put him in that position

It’s also on the promotion for getting an unprofessional opponent.
Tim like most mma fighters need to realize it’s on them to get the right management that would be able to get him covered in these situations.

Oh I get it.

It’s just funny to hear the guy turn down the fight, and bash the abilities of his opponent at the sane time.

I don’t really blame him though- frustrating situation for sure.

Isnt the Ian Mcall getting the win bonus different because he didnt have the option of fighting his overweight opponent (because opponent was sick?).

The UFC must have thought that since Elliot had the option to take the fight that he didnt qualify for the win bonus because he could have still taken the fight.

Still hope he gets the win bonus.

Here's a perfect illustration of what's wrong with the ufc pay structure and fighters representation

Looks like they are trying to book him for 219 which is a better deal than just getting paid show/win today and not fighting again for months.

I'm sorry, this makes me sick

Dude should absolutely get his win bonus. In fact there shouldn’t be win bonuses. This is the highest level of the sport. Wtf are you all talking about "drive uber"? This man almost beat arguably the greatest fighter of all time and now he can barely afford a professional camp. You want to see great fights, an evolving sport, inspiring performance, pay the people at the top of the sport what they deserves (and anyone in the major orgs). I’ve never fought, but it’s obviously a very difficult life unless you’re the .1 %. Even then you have injuries and brain damage. The least they can do is pay them decently. Fuck anyone who say otherwise.

I'm glad he turned down a catchweight fight

because that kinda shit gets forgotten when people talk about fight records.

If the UFC was smart

They would have promised him 20% of the other fighters purse plus a guaranteed win bonus to save the damn fight

I don't feel bad for Tim Elliot at all

The UFC has made a lot of mistakes in the past but in this case I don’t hold them accountable at all. First off the paid Tim his show $ which they are not contractually obligated to do and 2nd they offered him a quick turn around fight & last I heard he turned it down.

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