Jorge Masvidal knew his worth.
The UFC’s only “BMF” champion had done his research to understand the kind of money he was generating and he wasn’t going to budge until the promotion came to him with an offer worth his time. When that didn’t happen, Masvidal walked away from the negotiating table and the UFC opted to book Gilbert Burns against Kamaru Usman instead.
On Friday night, Masvidal and his team got a call from the UFC asking if he’d like to revisit that discussion because Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and they wanted him to face Usman on short notice.
Twenty-four hours later, the UFC and Masvidal agreed to terms on a new deal and now the new UFC 251 main event is official.
“We had to break them down,” Masvidal told ESPN when asked how his deal with the UFC came together on short notice. “That’s why some people don’t seem too happy that we’re announcing it, they didn’t want to talk about it too much. You can see it in their faces over their anger and anguish. I’m going to do my job always, which is to provide for me and my family, I’m not going to give a f**k what anybody says, this guy says, that guy says.
“I’ve been in this business a while. I know what I generate. We know what we generate. It’s a numbers game. The numbers are there. It’s not ‘I think I deserve this.’ No, I see on paper what I bring in. Me and my team know what I deserve.”
According to Masvidal, there were a lot of problems with the initial offer to fight Usman on July 11. Not only was the UFC not catering to his demands for back end on the pay-per-view profits but the guaranteed money up front was unacceptable as well.
“I’m not asking for them to pay me something outrageous,” Masvidal explained. “No. I’m asking to give me more money of what I do bring in off the pay-per-view side and that’s what we were fighting for. We came to a pretty good deal so I’m happy right now.
“The initial deal with [Kamaru Usman] was a sh*t deal on the pay-per-view end and on the guarantee side, so I have two negatives. I could understand you don’t want to give me that much on the guaranteed [money]. But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money than that and they weren’t budging, and that was that. So all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses.”
With the new deal in place, Masvidal admits he didn’t get everything he wanted in the negotiations but the terms were much more acceptable than what had previously been offered.
He’s not discussing particulars but Masvidal appears satisfied with his new contract as he prepares to fight for the welterweight title on Saturday night.
“Now I didn’t get exactly what I wanted but I got very, very close to it,” Masvidal said. “So I’m taking the fight. I’m happy more than anything cause I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it. But one thing I’m not going to do, which I’ve done for a long part of my career is get underpaid. That’s not going to happen no more. Not from here going forward.
“Since I came back from Mexico after the [Darren] Till fight, me and my management sat down, we discussed the numbers where I needed to be at and we needed to hit those very quick. We’re not there yet but we’re headed in that direction. So moving forward after this fight, they’re going to treat me accordingly or I’ll just step in last minute, six days to go and get paid then I guess. I’m going to get paid every time out.”
While he did have to ink a new contract extension because “you want to get paid, you gotta sign a 10 fight contract every time,” Masvidal is a much happier fighter today than he was a week ago.
And apparently the UFC feels the same way.
“They love me,” Masvidal said about the promotion. “I just saved their f**king asses. I’m literally their favorite person in the whole f**king world right now.”
With contract negotiations settled and fight official, the biggest concern surrounding Masvidal now is how well prepared could he be after accepting a fight against the best welterweight in the sport on six days’ notice?
Well, Masvidal’s head coach Mike Brown told MMA Fighting previously that he had been working with top wrestlers including three-time NCAA champion Bo Nickal as well as helping Dustin Poirier prepare for his recent fight against Dan Hooker.
Add to that after 48 professional bouts, Masvidal already knows how to fight and he doesn’t see Usman as the kind of threat that requires three months of training.
Despite the late notice and a less than perfect training camp, Masvidal isn’t any less confident in the results coming his way on Saturday night.
In fact, he promises another highlight reel ending except this time he’ll become a UFC champion afterwards.
“Me baptizing his ass in front of the whole world,” Masvidal predicted. “Cold blooded as can be. His body’s [gasping] for air as I got my hand raised over him.
“I’m going to baptize him for the world to see. It’s going to be violent. It’s going to start violent. It’s going to end violent.”