ANAHEIM, Calif. -- While all the recent news headlines regarding the Ultimate Fighting Championship and contracts has revolved around the recent cuts of 16 fighters, at least one high-profile competitor has seen his fortune take a turn for the better: Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
UFC president Dana White was on the defensive in talking with reporters following Thursday's UFC 157 press conference at the Honda Center when he mentioned the company tore up Velasquez's old contract, which had three fights remaining, and signed him to an eight-fight deal.
"Obviously we're passionate about this sport, obviously we're passionate about the UFC brand, we f--- own it, OK?" White said. "We always try to do the right thing. We always try to do the right thing. We pay guys more that what their contract says we have to pay them.
"We just did, I have three fights left with Cain Velasquez. We just signed a new eight-fight deal with Cain Velasquez. We re-signed him. I didn't have do that. He deserved it, and we did it."
The 30-year old Velsaquez, an American Kickboxing Academy fighter with an 11-1 record, has been with the UFC since 2008. He made his company debut at UFC 83 with a quick TKO of Brad Morris at UFC 83. He most recent victory, a unanimous decision over Junior dos Santos, started his second heavyweight title reign.
With White under heavy criticism over the recent roster cuts, which included veteran Jon Fitch, White framed the re-signing of Velasquez as the sort of the thing the public usually doesn't hear about.
"Health insurance, the list goes on and on," White said. "The thing that drives me crazy is when people say we're money hungry. If we were money hungry, we wouldn't have bought this company in a million f--- years. With the money the Fertitta brothers have, they could have invested in a zillion other things that were safer, smarter and probably would have worked out for them. This was the biggest longshot thing for them, but it was about the fact we loved this sport."
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