Famed MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz has a simple message for UFC fighters complaining about pay: “You don’t like it?” So leave.
The debate over fighter compensation continues to dominate the headlines and retain a place in mainstream mixed martial arts discussions, which those calling for better contract terms for UFC athletes will be grateful for.
But while the push for a pay rise is backed by Francis Ngannou, Israel Adesanya, Tony Ferguson, Aljamain Sterling, Jake Paul and many other big names, not everyone is riding the same wave.
Abdelaziz joins Michael Chandler and Valentina Shevchenko on the other side. The Dominance MMA Management CEO has a host of UFC big names on his books, including Kamaru Usman, Islam Makhachev, Beneil Dariush and Gilbert Burns.
Given his prominent place on the teams of many on the UFC roster, Abdelaziz often interacts and negotiates with the heads of the promotion.
Whether it’s for the benefit of his fighters’ negotiations or a genuinely good relationship, the Egyptian manager often praises UFC President Dana White and has been seen alongside him with stars like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Usman on social networks.
And during a recent interview with Sherdog, Abdelaziz came out in favor of White and the UFC when it comes to fighter compensation. After claiming that the head of the organization goes above and beyond to support his fighters, the manager reminded those complaining that there are plenty of other promotions they can take part in.
“Dana is a man of his word… He’s a good man. He does so much for the fighters without people even knowing about it. He probably spends millions of dollars a year helping people, and he doesn’t really need to,” Abdelaziz said. “And everyone wants to criticize fighter pay. Alright, if you don’t like the UFC, don’t sign with the UFC. You have Bellator, you have PFL, you have UN (Championship). Go sign there.
Those who think otherwise may respond to Abdelaziz by suggesting that elite fighters shouldn’t need to leave the sport’s premier class to receive the appropriate level of pay.
To that, Abdelaziz said he doesn’t think they need it. Instead, the 44-year-old suggested fighters just need to have a good relationship with UFC superiors and negotiate behind closed doors like “real men.”
“If you want more money, okay, no problem, go set up a meeting and sit down with Mick (Maynard), sit down who you’re going to sit down with, Hunter (Campbell)… And make a deal . Real men do business behind closed doors. It’s a matter of relationships,” Abdelaziz suggested.
Claiming the answer is as simple as negotiating is likely to receive backlash from those involved in disputes with the UFC, such as heavyweight kingpin Francis Ngannou, who has been back and forth with the organization since then. ahead of his title defense in January.
Elsewhere, bantamweight champion Sterling recently took to social media to reveal that, despite reports, his next defense has yet to be finalized due to ongoing contract talk with the UFC. ‘Funk Master’ is looking to be paid closer to his perceived value following his successful retention of the championship against Petr Yan in April.
Contrary to the last words of Abdelaziz. Sterling has gone public with his quest for a fight scholarship increase, speaking about the subject on his YouTube channel.
Do you agree with Ali Abdelaziz’s position on the debate on the remuneration of fighters?