Despite the fact Tony Ferguson’s fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209 last weekend was cancelled on extremely short notice, all signs pointed to ‘El Cucuy’ having been paid his ‘show money’ for the event, but he’s now revealed that was not the case.
Ferguson had been contracted to make $250,000 just to show up on Saturday night, and in the aftermath of the cancellation Dana White told reporters, “He got paid. He did get paid. Yeah, he did,” and the official summary of salaries released after the event reflected that amount.
However, Ferguson has now revealed that while he did receive some money, it actually turned out to be less than half his expected fee, and he’s not happy about it.
“It was like a slap to the face,” Ferguson told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour show. “My training expenses were a lot larger than any other fight I’ve ever done because this was supposed to be the biggest fight of my career. So now I’m sitting here, and it’s like, what is my worth to the UFC? Like, do I not fight enough? Do I not bleed enough for them? It’s going through my head right now, because I didn’t lose.
“I did everything in my power that I could to show up on that scale, and that’s what I thought we were going to do. That’s why you call it show money. And to every fan that’s out there in the world, (UFC President) Dana (White), he said they cut me out a check, and I didn’t get a check, and then this morning I got my wire, and I’m looking at it and I’m like, ‘What the frick, man?’ I’m like, ‘Seriously?’”
An unnamed UFC source has also given their side of the story to MMAfighting.com, stating that they weren’t contractually obliged to pay Ferguson anything when the fight fell through due to Nurmagomedov being hospitalized during a bad weight.
They also note that White never specifically stated that Ferguson would be paid his show money and indicated that Ferguson was informed repeatedly what his compensation was on Friday, and the amount was also reaffirmed to his manager.
Nonetheless, Ferguson says he’s been left out of pocket by the fact he won’t be receiving the fee he had anticipated when he first agreed to the bout due to having ramped up the cost of his training camp considerably in preparation for the biggest fight of his career to date.
“Like all fighters, I budgeted my entire camp off my show money,” Ferguson said. “My wife works, I’m saving my money to buy a home, I’m remodeling it, which is for my absolute purpose for the career. This fight was going to have enough to afford this house, my payments for the year, the remodeling job for my home gym so I can raise my son. Yet here I am, looking at my empty space on the wall with no belt and I’m still trying to stay as humble as possible and professional. It’s hard.”