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Morning Report: Sean O’Malley criticizes the UFC: ‘Why do they have a problem paying someone what they’re worth?’

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Sean O’Malley Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Sean O’Malley is none too pleased with the UFC.

At UFC 264 last month, O’Malley turned in a Fight of the Night winning performance, finally stopping Kris Moutinho in the third round, after battering the short-notice replacement for the better part of 15 minutes. But despite his impressive performance and rising popularity with the fans, O’Malley says he feels disrespected by the UFC, specifically, by matchmaker Sean Shelby.

“I don’t even know if I’m supposed to say this. I was talking to my manager and he was talking to Sean Shelby and Sean Shelby was mad at me,” O’Malley said on his podcast recently. “Dude, I don’t wanna fight in New York. It’s far, the taxes are ridiculous, and Tim (Welch) has no-Gi ADCC trials that weekend. He told me that before I even potentially had a fight. So, that’s his thing and I’m not gonna say, ‘No. I have a fight, we’re doing it.’ Especially when I could fight like a month later in Vegas. And Sean Shelby was just like, mad and like, ‘Fine. Go hang out with 6ix9ine’. Just acting like a f*cking tool, dude. I don’t know if I should’ve said that or not. But it’s like, dude, come on. What are you doing?”

Calling a high-ranking official of your employer a “f*cking tool” is probably not the best way to engender good will with the promotion, especially when O’Malley himself admits that the UFC does not need him.

“They don’t need me,” O’Malley said. “The UFC would be 100 percent fine without me. If they want another huge, giant star, I could fill that role for sure, but they don’t need me. But don’t treat me like that. Like, act like I’m not training or nothing. ‘Go, you’re hanging out with 6ix9ine, dude’. Like, I’m hung out with him once. Well, three days. But yeah, so, it’s like, cool, dude. Treat me like a piece of sh*t. No, it’s like, dude, I would rather not deal with him at all and just deal with Dana.”

This is not the first time O’Malley has voiced his problems with the UFC. Earlier this year, O’Malley was vocal about the UFC’s former contract with Reebok which he claims was massively exploitative of him, and it seems that similar issues underlie his beef with Shelby. Concluding his thoughts on the matter, O’Malley criticized the UFC’s unwillingness to pay him what he feels he’s worth as one of the rising stars in the sport.

“‘I know you’re gonna be asking for a lot of money.’ No sh*t! I’m pulling f*cking numbers, you can’t deny that,” O’Malley said. “Why do they have a problem paying someone what they’re worth? That shouldn’t be an issue. That should be, like - especially when I’m blowing up like that. Those last two fights, third-round finishes, handing out brain damage. You should be like, ‘Hell yeah, I’m gonna pay you a lot. You earned it.’ Dude, I was UFC 264.”

O’Malley is far from the only fighter to publicly criticize the alligator arms of the UFC. Over the past year, high-profile fighters like Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, and Francis Ngannou have all aired their grievances about fighter pay, and of course, Jake Paul has made the UFC’s fighter pay issues a personal battle cry in his public vendetta with UFC President Dana White. And with the spotlight continuing to grow on MMA and the UFC, and with the UFC recently signing a $175 million deal with that pays the fighters nothing, these sorts of issues are sure to continue.


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There is a small part of me that thinks O’Malley’s entire issue with Shelby and vice versa is that they are both named Sean.

Also, Jose Aldo is the best.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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