In his post-fight, in-cage interview following his UFC 234 victory over Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya said the he should be cut in on a percentage of the pay-per-view buys from the evening’s card in Melbourne, Australia.
Given some time to think about it, Adesanya still strongly believes he should get a cut of the revenue. The bout boosted into the main event slot on less than a day’s notice after the original headliner of UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker vs. challenger Kelvin Gastelum fell out.
And as such, Adesanya, who next will meet Gastelum in an interim middleweight title bout at UFC 236, believes both he and the legendary Silva should be compensated for their work in saving the show.
“Look, the numbers don’t f*cking lie, even, I know the UFC has their ways of looking at the system, the backlog or whatever seeing what people are really watching,” Adesanya said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “But, just going on the Countdown show itself, the Countdown show which everyone watches just to get hyped for these fights ... The official one did a couple hundreded thousand. Robert and Kelvin did a couple hundred thousands. I crossed a million [views], me and Silva. It’s not just me alone. If it was me alone, I don’t know if it would have done a million, maybe like 800,000, but I know with me and Silva together, this matchup, it’s done over a million. So I don’t feel like I should get it, I don’t feel like Silva should get it, I feel like we should both get it.”
Those numbers put a metric to something intangible: There was simply more buzz to the matchup between the greatest striker in the sport’s history against the man many believe will take the mantle as the next one during the run-up to the card than any other fight on the show, including the original main event. And Adesanya knows it.
“I sold this fight,” Adesanya said. “I did my job. I hyped this fight up, and, I don’t want to say ‘hype it up’ like it’s some bullsh*t way but I did my job. I showed up, I fought, and before that, the fight was already sold with just the magnitude of this fight and the story, the value behind this fight, so, yeah, I sold this fight. I did my job, and I feel like I was already the main event anyway, he just happened to be champion fighting the number one contender. We were the fight people wanted to see the most.”
Adesanya acknowledges that he doesn’t have pay-per-view points in his contract, and he doesn’t want to pick a fight with the UFC. But after running his UFC record to 5-0 and putting on a main event that had fans buzzing the next day about the quality of the main event rather than the lack of depth on the card itself and the middleweight title fight fallout, Adesanya hopes the company will recognize his efforts.
“I feel like definitely the UFC has every right not to give us those points because it wasn’t in the contract,” Adesanya said. “But fair is fair and it’s not always, we’ve always had a good working relationship and I want to keep it that way, so, eventually we will sit down with Dana and say okay what can we do because that’s a lot of money being left on the table and for the hard work that me and Anderson Silva put in and so yeah. I don’t want to leave that money on the table when I feel it belongs in my pocket.”