Jared Cannonier is exactly where he wants to be.
After a knockout of Derek Brunson at UFC 271, Cannonier is likely primed to face Israel Adesanya for the middleweight championship, and he has become a fighter that the promotion is invested in. It’s a stark contrast to the optics concerning Cannonier six months ago, when he followed up a win over Kelvin Gastelum by declaring, “I’m broke so I need to fight.”
Asked if he received any backlash for his comments during an appearance on The MMA Hour, Cannonier revealed that not only did his words generate little drama, he has already signed a new deal with the UFC.
“Not from nobody who mattered,” Cannonier said. “If anything, I got a new contract. So this is my first fight on my new contract. The fight with Gastelum, I believe that was the last fight on my contract, or it was the second-to-last fight, but it was close to the time for a renewal. I had already talked to my manager about that before the Gastelum fight, we could be potentially able to renew a contract and stuff like that, so this was the first fight on that contract.
“Everybody goes back to that and says that I was complaining to the UFC about my pay. I’m like, no, I would never complain to the UFC because I’m the one who voluntarily signed the contract. They didn’t make me sign those contracts or anything like that. The only thing I said was that I feel us being a major organization on ESPN, UFC athletes should definitely get paid the same that NFL, NBA athletes should, or compensated to a certain degree because injuries, families, all that kind of stuff.”
Cannonier described his increase in pay as “significant,” though he couldn’t provide a percentage for how much more he’s making on his new contract compared to his previous one.
He explained that he never had a major issue with how the UFC was compensating him, only that he wanted it to be enough so that he can continue to fight and train full-time. He also mentioned that his pay is in the six-figure range.
“I’ve always been comfortable,” Cannonier said. “Again, the thing is we only get paid when we fight. So you’ve got other guys out there doing all kinds of things, they’re a part of the rat race scrambling for money. They call it hustling, but I call it you’re on a hamster wheel. So it’s about perspective. I look at things differently than most other people. The only thing I’m doing is training and fighting. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I could do other things and I have plans for my future, but at this point in time all I’m doing is training to fight. That’s all I want to do and I’m able to take care of my family through that alone.
“This is the whole reason why I quit my six-figure job in Alaska, because I’m getting six figures here in the UFC. I don’t want people thinking, ‘He’s not getting paid.’ People hear that six-figure number and they start seeing dollar signs and Louis [Vuitton] bags and dumb sh*t like that, but that’s not what it’s about for me. It’s all about being able to take care of myself, take care of my family. I’m trying to attain sovereignty, independence, and all that kind of good stuff. I’m in a good place as far as my contract and my standing with the UFC. I would like to be rich. I’m more famous than I am rich. I would like to be more rich than I am famous. So that’s where I want to get to.”