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Edson Barboza wants win bonus after controversial UFC on ESPN 8 loss to Dan Ige

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Ige vs Barboza
Brazilian veteran Edson Barboza (left) lost his second split decision in a row in the UFC.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, Edson Barboza lost five of his previous six UFC bouts. In his mind, though, he’s on a two-fight winning streak after getting the short end of the stick against Paul Felder and Dan Ige.

This time, Barboza wants to be compensated financially by the UFC for the controversial loss in Florida.

The Brazilian striker made his debut as a featherweight at Saturday night’s UFC on ESPN 8 in Jacksonville, and he is confident he did enough to win the first couple of rounds. In the end, however, Troy Wincapaw was the only judge to score the bout that way.

“There’s no way he won the first two rounds,” Barboza told MMA Fighting after re-watching the fight, which judges Derek Cleary and Sal D’Amato scored 29-28 in Ige’s favor. “No way he won.”

Barboza describes his mood as a “crazy” mix of happiness after performing well in his 145-pound debut, and disappointment of realizing he didn’t actually win the bout. What could be a two-fight winning streak now stands a three-fight skid.

“I’m sure I won both fights,” Barboza said. “I’m upset, but at the same time I’m cool, because I know I’m doing the right thing. I showed everyone I did great in this new weight class, and I’m sure it will be even better next time.”

To make things worse, Barboza’s current UFC contract means he went back home with only half the money he was set to make with a victory. The American Top Team fighter was upset after the Felder loss in Abu Dhabi, but he explains why this one feels different.

“This is almost unanimous, man,” he said of fan reaction on social media and the fact that 16 of 18 media members scored it in his favor (via MMADecisions). “Only [two of] the judges thought that guy won. That’s impossible. Dana White said I won.”

But this time, hearing the UFC president say he felt Barboza deserved to have his hand raised isn’t enough.

“You know why? Brother, I work for the UFC for many years and ... I know the UFC doesn’t have any ties with the athletic commissions, but, man, it’s very, very, very important for me that the UFC comes and says I won this fight and pays me as the winner,” Barboza said.

“Like I said, the entire world knows who won. I worked really hard, did everything right and won the fight, and they didn’t give it to me because of the commission. Screw the commission. I don’t wanna know, man. But if the UFC comes to me and pays me as the winner of this fight, which I am, I’ll feel better, for sure.

“It’s time for the UFC to show… Not love, but respect for myself, my team and my family because I put my heart in this sport, 10 years in the UFC. I have 23 fights and it’s very, very, very important for me for the UFC to do that. It will be very important if the UFC does this, because my next steps depend on this move from the UFC.”

With two fights left in his contract with the organization, Barboza also wants to be treated as the winner in terms of matchmaking. The decision on the weight class in which he competes could also depend on whether or not the UFC will pay him his show money.

“Even though I can make weight, it’s a sacrifice,” Barboza said. “Is this sacrifice worthy? Is it worthy? Like I said, if the UFC doesn’t pay me, if they say they respect the athletic commission’s (decision), it’s not worthy, man. I’m getting screwed here, training like a maniac and wasting time I could spend with my family. I love what I do, of course, but it’s a sacrifice.

“Is it worthy? Maybe. If the UFC says, ‘We respect the athletic commission and you will only make the money you’re supposed to make’ ... maybe it’s not worthy, and maybe I’ll fight 155 again. That’s why I said these next few days are very important for me to decide what my future will be inside the company.”

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