When Gilbert Burns was offered the opportunity to face Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title at UFC 251, he didn’t hesitate to say yes. But he also made sure to get paid what he was worth.
According to the No. 1 contender at 170 pounds, the UFC made him a financial offer worthy of a title shot after the promotion failed to come to terms with Jorge Masvidal.
“They offered me a great amount of money,” Burns said about his deal to fight at UFC 251 when speaking to MMA Fighting. “More money than a lot of guys get fighting for the title. I’m happy for my situation. But I’m putting myself in that position to get those fights.
“I understand Masvidal’s side, he wants more money. But I think it all comes down to management. If you just signed a deal, how come you going to ask for a new deal? It just doesn’t make sense. I think it’s all in the negotiations.”
Masvidal initially said the UFC offered him less money to face Usman than he made to take on Nate Diaz this past November. UFC president Dana White responded by pointing out that Masvidal had inked a new eight-fight deal before facing Diaz.
The clash went on with Masvidal saying the multi-fight deal was presented to him as a “take it or leave it” situation, which is why he ultimately signed on the dotted line.
While Burns won’t fault Masvidal for seeking to make more money, he believes the popular welterweight went about it the wrong way.
“I don’t think that helped,” Burns said about Masvidal’s pay complaints. “I don’t think that’s helping Masvidal’s side. I think my case is a strong case. He was fighter of the year in 2019. I’m already two fights [in this year], two great performances, I believe I earned the title shot, but I understand those guys want more money and everything. I think there’s a better way to get those deals done than just complain.
“Like we saw a couple guys, Khabib [Nurmagomedov] never complained about money. D.C. [Daniel Cormier] never complained about money. [Georges St-Pierre], a lot of guys, I know these guys make a great amount of money, and they don’t need to go against the UFC, throw everything in the media. I just think there’s a better way than going on social media [and saying], ‘Oh let me go, give me more money or let me go.’ I think you’ve got a better way to do business than this way.”
On Wednesday, Masvidal detailed his failed negotiations for the Usman fight and how Burns ultimately accepted the matchup on July 11.
“They offered me considerably less money then what I should be getting and it doesn’t work,” Masvidal said via his personal YouTube channel. ”Then they offer the guy the least amount of money that would take it, so that’s what they do.
“They offered me [the fight] and then after I said no, they offered a couple other people [until] they got to Gilbert. Gilbert wasn’t their first thing. Nobody on a worldwide scale knows him. I’m not dissing his skill set, but just he’s not a known guy.
“Of course, he took the lowest money possible to fight for a title. He can do whatever he wants with his time and his skill set, and so can I. I want to get paid for mine. I don’t have nothing negative or positive to say about the fight that’s coming up. I don’t care. I’m just worried about me.”
While Masvidal was unable to come to terms with the UFC, Burns says he was completely satisfied with the contract he was offered, and he’ll be even happier after becoming champion.
“For sure I’m happy,” Burns added. “They pay me good money. Now it’s all in public. We can see how much guys are making for a title shot. I’m making fair money for a title shot.
“I have a new contract, more money and being the champion I’m going to have everything the champion has and I’m happy with my contract right now.”
As for Masvidal, he remains sidelined with no word on when he might return to action.