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Jon Jones' manager calls it a ‘tragedy' that UFC cut Daniel Cormier's pay after Jones dropout

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

One of the toughest parts about the roller coaster of UFC 200 was the 48-hour window where it was unclear if Daniel Cormier would even get paid.

Both Cormier and Jon Jones were expected to make easily the biggest paydays of their respective careers on the July 9 card, with their title rematch claiming the main event slot on an event more than a year in the making. But Jones' positive drug test ruined that plan, and instead Cormier ultimately accepted a short-notice non-title fight against UFC legend Anderson Silva that got relegated further down the main card.

Prior to the bout, Yahoo Sports reported that Cormier's fight purse was slashed in half after the last-second switch -- from $1 million down to $500,000 -- and on Monday, Jones' manager Malki Kawa expressed regret that Cormier's wallet had to take a hit for something that was outside of Cormier's control.

"As a team, we congratulate Daniel Cormier. He deserves everything that he gets. I feel horrible that they cut his pay in half," Kawa said on The MMA Hour. "I don't think that was warranted at all. I think the man deserved to get paid no matter what. I think the man deserved to get paid even more money, going through all of that."

Cormier defeated Silva via unanimous decision at UFC 200, ending an emotional and chaotic week on a high note by at least ensuring that he didn't leave Las Vegas without a paycheck to show for months worth of work. But when asked on Monday whether the report of him needing to take a pay cut to remain on the card was true, Cormier confirmed it was.

"I did," Cormier revealed on The MMA Hour. "I wanted to fight, man. This is the thing ... I did it because, honestly man, as long as we're okay, we're good with our money. We make a ton of money, you know, and my contract is different. So it went from being a title fight to a non-title fight, my contract states a lot of different things in it, so I took less money to fight. You know, I wanted to fight.

"I didn't lose my pay-per-view and everything, so I still get my points and everything and I'll be fine. I don't waste money. I just keep my money, man, so it's fine. I don't like to say stuff like, ‘well what's a million dollars here, $500,000 dollars here?' That sounds silly. But it's like, we're fine. I could make the money that I made last weekend and it would last 10 years if I needed to."

At age 37, Cormier knows he does not have many years left in the fight game. He admitted after the Silva win that he may have reconcile that he could never get his second shot at Jones, especially if Jones receives the two-year suspension from USADA that is on the table for his positive June 16 drug test for two banned substances.

For now, Cormier expects to wait for the winner of UFC 202's light heavyweight battle between Anthony Johnson and Glover Teixeira. As for Kawa, he offered his congratulations to Cormier on behalf of the entire Jones team, and expressed sympathy for what Cormier had to go through.

"I think now Daniel Cormier can understand, and so can fans around the world, what Jon went through that whole situation with UFC 151," Kawa said. "OSP came around, right, and everybody called it the worst performance and all of this other stuff, although I thought it was a good performance and so did a lot of other people who really understand MMA. But when you get an opponent switched on you last minute, and for DC it was really last minute, it's a tough adjustment to make. There's emotions that go into this and mentally it can really throw you off.

"Like I said, I'm happy for Daniel Cormier," Kawa added. "I congratulate him. I think that he showed what a true champion is and that he continues to fight, and I think that's something he should be commended for. I don't think people should boo Daniel Cormier like that, the way they do. But I also think that cutting that man's pay like that, I think was just a tragedy. He didn't deserve that at all."