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Jorge Masvidal didn’t get the payday he was looking for, but he has come to terms with the UFC.
With Gilbert Burns sidelined with a positive COVID-19 test, Masvidal will step up on just six days’ notice to face welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the UFC 251 headliner at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 12-6 UFC), who initially was thought to be the No. 1 contender earlier this year, was replaced with Burns due after negotiations with UFC fell through.
Masvidal explained that UFC reached out once again once it was clear that Burns would not be able to compete.
“I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but I got very, very close to it,” Masvidal told ESPN.
“I’m happy more than anything because I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it. But one thing I’m not going to do, which I’ve done a long part of my career, is get underpaid. That’s not going to happen no more – not from here going forward.”
Masvidal has used his spotlight recently to express his displeasure with poor pay for him and other fighters. Masvidal asked the UFC to release him from his contract if he's not worth the pay he asks for.
He was unhappy with the UFC 251 pay offer due to the pay-per-view revenue he'd generate, but not get a cut of.
“The initial deal … was a (expletive) deal on the pay-per-view end and on the guarantee side, so I have two negatives,” Masvidal said. “I could understand you don’t want to give me that much on the guaranteed (money). But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money on that – and they weren’t budging, and that was that. So all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses.”
Masvidal has taken several extra steps in order to be eligible to fight on UFC 251. He flew into Las Vegas for a COVID-19 test and quarantined in his hotel room for 24 hours. He flies to Abu Dhabi Monday, where he'll undergo additional testing.
This fight certainly doesn't put Masvidal in a great position for success. Although he's been working out and training since his last fight, the short notice bars him the opportunity to prepare specifically for Usman. He's also overweight- at 192 pounds as of last Saturday, which means he’ll have 22 pounds to cut to make the welterweight title limit Friday.
It’s no secret Masvidal is not a fan of Usman and the build-up to this fight has been far from cordial. It's safe to say that Masvidal and Usman are ready to hit the octagon with guns blazing.
“(I’m) cold-blooded as can be,” Masvidal said on how he thinks he’ll beat Usman. “His body is grasping for air as I’ve got my hand raised over him. I’m just going to baptize him, man, for the world to see. It’s going to be violent.”
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