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Lance Palmer explains his decision to return to PFL while refusing to take a ‘pay cut’ to fight elsewhere

Ryan Loco

Lance Palmer knows he can compete with the best fighters in the UFC and Bellator, but he’s not going to sacrifice his bank account to prove it.

The two-time PFL champion, who has banked over $2 million as a result of those winning seasons, re-upped with the promotion just before his last fight against Alex Gilpin at the close of 2018.

Prior to that fight, Palmer had come dangerously close to the end of his deal with the PFL but ultimately the two sides came to an agreement to keep him on the roster for 2020 and beyond.

“I know there’s a lot of different things in the contract that are there to help me and also help the PFL. So I mean it’s good to have this next season with PFL,” Palmer told MMA Fighting. “I know going into the playoffs there are some different things that we have in there, some different things that PFL has in there but at least I know the next year or two years, I’ll be with PFL and I’m happy with the agreement we came up with.

“It took a long time. I was basically a free agent when the playoffs started and I fought through that and we didn’t get a deal done. At midnight before my [finals fight] is when we got the deal done so it was one of those things that my manager Ali [Abdelaziz] put a lot of time into and he definitely made it so I’m getting what I’m worth.”

As a former World Series of Fighting champion, Palmer already accomplished a lot before the PFL even existed and many of the former title holders from that organization have now moved onto have successful careers in the UFC.

Palmer is confident he could hang with the best 145-pound fighters on the UFC roster, but he never forgets that at the end of the day, this is still a job.

“I’d love to fight those guys [in the UFC],” Palmer said. “I’ve trained with half of the guys that were or are in the top 10 in the UFC and I know where I stack up. But I’m also not going to take a pay cut to go to a different job and fight guys that are in the top five or top 10.

“That’s something I always have to explain to people when they ask me ‘do you think you’ll get the call?’. Yeah, I’ve had the call plenty of times but is it worth taking a pay cut to go to a different job that you’re already doing and everybody says no. Well then quick asking me.”

After earning the grand prize for two straight seasons in the PFL, Palmer already sits in rarified air as one of the few millionaires currently competing in mixed martial arts.

He appreciates the calls for him to face off against competition in the UFC or Bellator, but Palmer can’t see how it would ever benefit him while the PFL is treating him so well.

“I want the competition of fighting the best guys in the world but I’m not going to go chase them for peanuts payment wise,” Palmer said. “I’d rather them come get me.

“So if those think that can beat me, they can come over here and try.”

Palmer’s competition for the 2020 season hasn’t been announced just yet but former Dana White Contender Series veteran Brendan Loughnane is expected to be part of the field vying for his title this year.

While his only focus remains on the PFL for this year, Palmer won’t predict what the future holds for him but as long as he’s happy and feels appreciated by the promotion, he doesn’t see any reason to seek out a new home.

“Obviously [the UFC title is] something I’d like to strive for before my career is over with but also I’m not going to just go and take a beating and basically fight for a quarter or a half of what I’m making right now,” Palmer said.

“That’s not even counting the million dollars that’s possible every year. It just doesn’t make any sense at all.”

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