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UFC 271’s Renato Moicano prioritizing money going forward: ‘If I lose, [it’s] half my salary’

Renato Moicano (left) submitted Jai Herbert in his sole UFC appearance in 2021.
Zuffa LLC

The UFC’s pay structure for the majority of fighters consists of show and win purses, meaning athletes double their paycheck with a victory or come home with only half of their expected earnings after a defeat.

For Renato Moicano, cashing two checks is the top priority now.

Moicano is scheduled to face Texas’ own Alexander Hernandez on the main card of UFC 271 in Houston this Saturday, and said he won’t waste any time imagining what a win will mean for his future in terms of matchmaking and ranking placement.

“I’ll be really honest with you, I don’t know and I don’t care,” Moicano told MMA Fighting. “I’ve changed my mindset related to what’s at stake in fights. Every fight has the same importance in the sense that I go there to win to get two checks. That’s what I’m focused on, going there and winning show and win money. If I lose, [it’s] half my salary, and we know how difficult the situation is globally.

“I’m living in the United States and we’re feeling the inflation. Everything is more expensive, so I’m worried about money, I’m worried about winning this fight. If it’s Hernandez, if it’s a top-15 [opponent] … I won’t be a hypocrite, of course, that I want to fight a top-15 [opponent] because that will give me more notoriety and I’ll make more money. But what matters now is putting on a good fight, putting money in my pocket, and going back to training.”

Moicano has been unable to fight more than twice in a calendar year since joining the UFC in 2014. His most recent bout, a second-round submission over Jai Herbert, was his only octagon appearance of 2021. Choosing to live in Florida and train at American Top Team is Moicano’s way of saying that he’s betting on a brighter future instead of moving back to Brazil to live what could be a more comfortable live as a UFC fighter today.

“I believe in my dream, I believe I have what it takes to get to the top, and that’s why I’m staying in the U.S. and training at the best gym,” Moicano said. “I see this as an investment, to live here and spend more money, but having more quality [training]. I bleed for this hard-earned money.

“I can’t play games,” he added. “It’s hard, and I’m not fighting much. I need to fight more. I’m 32 and I’m about to turn 33. I know the window [of opportunity] only gets smaller, so every fight is important in that sense. It’s important to stay healthy and it’s important that the UFC gives me fights. I’ve been asking for fights this entire time. I hope I’ll win this fight and come back as soon as possible.”

Looking to stay active — and pocked some extra cash too — Moicano agreed to face fellow UFC fighter Chase Hooper in a grappling match in December. The Brazilian won a decision at Fury Pro Grappling 3 and earned $4,500 flat, plus $4,000 in sponsorship money.

“To go there and do an eight-minute match, it’s great money,” he said. “I was talking at the gym the other day and guys talked about this pillow-fighting thing. Looks like people made $5,000 on this. I saw people criticising it, but to hit someone with a pillow three times and make $5,000? Sounds silly, but that can save someone’s entire month. I wouldn’t do it, but you have to jump on the opportunities.”

The UFC lightweight is down for more grappling matches between his actual fights, and he’s completely honest about it: At this point, Moicano is doing everything for the money, as well as a way to “keep me active and the competitive spirit” alive, he adds.

On Saturday, Moicano will aim to get the finish over Hernandez as quickly as possible and maybe pocket an extra $50,000 bonus. The Brazilian fighter has won just two bonuses throughout his 7-4 UFC career, a Performance of the Night check for his submission of Cub Swanson and a Fight of the Night prize following his war with Brian Ortega.

“Houston is his house, but it’s going to be my party,” Moicano said of Hernandez. “It doesn’t matter how [I’m going to win]. I’m ready for whatever happens. The quicker, the better. I’ll get the job done. God willing, this one ends in the first round.”

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