At Saturday’s event, “The Dominator” snapped a two-fight skid—the first losing streak of his 16-year career—with a unanimous nod over Casey Kenney. Rather than use his post-fight interview time to name his next UFC opponent though, Cruz instead challenged Hans Molenkamp to a charity fight.
This left a lot of fans watching at home scratching their heads, wondering who Molenkamp is and why Cruz appeared to have such a major beef with him.
Cruz suggested that Molenkamp, an employee of UFC sponsor Monster Energy, was making unreasonable demands and potentially withholding sponsorship money if those demands were not met. At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Cruz elaborated on his beef with Molenkamp, explaining that while they have a working relationship, he feels that Molenkamp is misrepresenting his connection with fighters to boost his reputation.
“He’ll probably love that he’s getting plugged like this, to be honest, so it’s actually a benefit for him, so he should thank me,” Cruz said. “It was just that we’re in a day and age where you can—If I take a picture with Conor McGregor like this, now I’m Conor McGregor’s friend, right? If I take a picture with Dominick Cruz and have him commenting on my page, we’re in a day and age where that looks like we’re friends. Well, I may be your friend, but you can’t use me in order to get clout as they put it. I’m not here to be used.
“Look at my face, look at my body, I get beat to death for a living. So when you try to force me and you text me if I don’t comment on your page, if I don’t give you an interview, that you’re going to take what pays my bills? What are we doing? Monster sponsors me, not you. This was a callout because he calls himself a pro fighter. He’s got a hundred pounds weight on me and I’m like, we can make this a win-win situation. Let’s do a charity event, Monster picks the charity, and then we scrap it out. He says he’s got three pro fights, let’s prove it, put your money where your mouth is. You’ve got a little, tiny guy calling you out for charity, not for anything else. Why not?”
Cruz added that the issue with Molenkamp isn’t personal and his priority is helping a charity to make some money. The contract talk that raised eyebrows was also addressed by Cruz and he made it sound as though he isn’t the only one in the UFC who has had issues with Molenkamp.
“It’s not trapped in a contract, it’s forced to give him clout, forced to hype him up if I want to make money,” Cruz said. “Monster pays me, so the equivalent would be does the UFC pay me? Yes. Does Dana White own the UFC? Yes. So if Dana White says, ‘Hey, go on my page, and like my page’—Dana White has gone on this man’s page and said something. They ignored it like it didn’t happen. So I’m not the first one to say something, Dana’s also said something, maybe ask him about it.”
Multiple attempts to reach Molenkamp for comment were unsuccessful. The industry vet has been deluged with negative social media comments since Cruz’s interview.
Indeed, when it was Dana White’s turn later to step to the podium after Saturday’s event, the UFC president shared his opinion on the Cruz-Molenkamp situation.
“It’s all weird,” White said. “Is Hans a goofy dude? Yeah, he’s a very goofy dude. But they’re a sponsor. These guys are a sponsor, they’re great sponsors, they pay these guys a lot of money. Monster is one of these companies that really, really takes care of people and it’s their company. They can sponsor whoever they want, they can run their business however they want. This isn’t like a work situation where you’re working for somebody and you’re not happy about the way you’re being treated. This is a sponsorship deal. These guys can spend their money and run their company however they want to and nobody’s guaranteed money from a sponsor. It’s a privilege to get money from a sponsor. So if you don’t like the way they do business, don’t do business with them.
“They’ve been good to us. They’ve been good to the sport and they’ve definitely been good to the fighters. I get it, he doesn’t like him and some guys have a problem with him. It’s easy to figure that one out, but Monster as a company, they’ve been solid, they couldn’t be any better.”
Though White wasn’t asked if he’d be interested in a potential charity bout between Cruz and Molenkamp being affiliated with the UFC, Cruz had already put out the idea that White could help set up the fight.
“Dana, maybe you’ll do it,” Cruz said. “Maybe you can set up this charity event. He calls himself a pro fighter, Hans, let’s go.”