Stipe Miocic is a man of few words. So when he says he is irritated with something, people tend to take notice.
The UFC heavyweight champion on Monday revealed that he was deeply frustrated with the UFC after discovering that he earned a smaller payday than his challenger at UFC 203, Alistair Overeem, despite the entire event being built around Miocic defending his title in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
“[It’s] terrible,” Miocic said on The MMA Hour. “Things definitely need to be changed. Something’s gotta change. It’s not really fair.”
Miocic defeated Overeem via first-round knockout in a remarkable performance last September after being received as a star by his native Clevelanders all throughout fight week.
As the reigning and defending UFC heavyweight champion, Miocic earned a $600,000 payout for the fight, while Overeem pocketed $800,000 in defeat, according to figures released by the Ohio Athletic Commission after the event. And Miocic said he only learned about the 25 percent pay gap once the numbers were made public.
“I just felt like I was kinda crapped on a little bit,” Miocic said. “I try to do things right and work with them, and they just didn’t give me a great deal. That’s my own fault, but also they knew what they were doing. They took my kindness for weakness.
“They told me it was the best deal they could do, and I said, oh okay, great. And then come to find out, it wasn’t.”
When asked if he was frustrated by the revelation, Miocic responded that “of course” he was. He repeated the same answer when asked if he would’ve requested to renegotiate his deal had he known Overeem’s salary beforehand.
Miocic said that he spoke to the UFC in the aftermath of UFC 203 and expressed his anger over being out-earned by his challenger, however he was not satisfied with the promotion’s response.
“Blah, blah, blah, blah. They just made up some excuse, like that’s the contract you signed,” Miocic said.
“You’re making money off me in my hometown, and you’re giving the man that’s a challenger who’s never won the title in the UFC, you’re giving him more money?
“It definitely should change. But the fact that my challenger made more money than me in my last fight was just kind of a slap in the face.”
Miocic, 34, is one fight away from tying the record for most consecutive title defenses made by a UFC heavyweight champion. His 2016 campaign, which saw him score a trio of first-round knockouts over legendary names Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, and Overeem, ranks among the greatest heavyweight campaigns in the promotion’s history.
Miocic said the UFC is currently targeting his next title defense to take place in May somewhere other than Cleveland. But when asked whether the UFC was being receptive to his requests to renegotiate, Miocic explained cryptically, “it’s just a mess right now, so we’ll leave it at that.
“We’re definitely not being unfair,” he added. “We’re not looking for a couple million or anything like that, but definitely getting compensated for winning the belt, defending the belt in my hometown, and also the guy making more money than me is just unheard of. That’s terrible.”