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Morning Report: Dominick Cruz says he’s spoken with Monster Energy, still interested in charity bout against Hans Molenkamp

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Dominick Cruz
Dominick Cruz looks to get his title back at UFC Fight Night 81 on Sunday night.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 259 this past Saturday, Dominick Cruz had one of the more memorable post-fight interviews in some time, calling for a charity fight with Hans Molenkamp, a business development rep with Cruz’s longtime sponsor Monster Energy. The callout caught most entirely off guard prompting Cruz to clarify his comments at the post-fight press conference, explaining that he felt Molenkamp made unreasonable demands and threatened to withhold sponsorship money if they weren’t followed. In response, Monster Energy said they were taking Cruz’s accusations seriously and investigating the matter, and now Cruz says he’s spoken with leadership regarding the situation.

“The company has reached out to me and they were very open-minded with me at the top,” Cruz told James Lynch. “...They reached out and they were very open-minded and they were hearing my side. I couldn’t really do that before. If you think about it, I’ve been with Monster seven-plus years and because of the person that I spoke about, if I was to talk to that person the way I did yesterday, I would have gotten a flood of text, a flood of calls like ‘What are you doing? Why are you talking to the bosses? You can’t be doing that, man, because then they start asking me questions.’ Like, why can’t I do that? So it was nice to get that call and it was nice to have that talk without hearing from that person.”

Monster Energy leadership is not the only person who has contacted Cruz regarding the situation. The former bantamweight champion says that Molenkamp also reached out to him after his post-fight interview, in a manner of speaking.

“That person has reached out to me but all he did was take a screenshot of our text message conversation before I did the post-fight interview,” Cruz said. “There was no words. It was just a screenshot of our conversation. So it was very passive aggressive, very his way of doing things. No communication just what does that even mean? He always pretends to be my friend to my face and then does shady things.”

It’s still unclear if there is a specific incident that prompted Cruz’s callout and thus far, Molenkamp has yet to comment on the situation, leaving us with only Cruz’s comments. And those comments, Cruz said, ended up making far more waves than he anticipated. For the former bantamweight champion, all of this was primarily supposed to be about turning something negative into something positive.

“I’m not angry at this person,” Cruz said. “To be angry would give him a lot of power over me. There’s none of that. It’s just like, this is wrong dealings man and it’s unprofessional and it’s actually illegal in some ways, how you’re treating us, so I’m here to stand for that because if it’s happening to me, I’m positive it’s happening to other fighters...

“I didn’t expect it to blow up like this. I just wanted to get - to me it’s a win-win. He’s gonna have a problem with me so let him get it out on me if he wants and charity wins. Like, legitimately. I fight people for a living. This isn’t new to me. When I fight somebody, I’m not mad at Casey Kenney, I don’t hate him. We’re fighting, this is what it is. He brags a lot about being that so he’s in the same boat now. Let’s give you the opportunity.”

It seems unlikely that an actual fight will come out of this situation but at least Cruz’s issues are being heard, and he’ll have no shortage of other opponents to choose from. At UFC 259, Cruz won a split decision over Casey Kenney, his first victory since 2016, reestablishing his position in the top-10 of the rankings.


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FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.


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