Time and time again, when a high-profile fighter leaves the UFC after several years with the promotion, fans get a glimpse into what it’s like to work for the biggest MMA organization in North America, particularly how little freedom fighters have. Now that Ultimate Fighter season one standout Josh Koscheck is able to speak freely, we’re hearing many of the same stories that past fighters have told.
Koscheck, who played a very important role in getting the TUF reality show off the ground, which ultimately helped save the sport of MMA — and the UFC promotion in particular — is now willing to shed some light on what it’s like for a fighter to be employed by the UFC these days.
The former two-time UFC title contender recently spoke with the folks at Submission Radio about his relationship with the UFC, some of the issues he was forced to deal with while working for the promotion and why he feels fighting for Bellator MMA — his new MMA home — will be different.
Below are some of the highlights from the interview, which you can listen to in full above.
On what prompted him to jump over to Bellator MMA: “The biggest thing was the way that your hands are tied behind your back when dealing with the UFC. It’s like if you just go against the grain one time, then it’s like a slap on the face. You know, they just kind of yell at you and treat you like shit. And it’s a lot of things too. It’s like not only do you have your hands tied behind your back, in my opinion you have an eight-ball stuffed in your mouth and you really can’t say anything. So it’s kind of nice to be done with that pressure where you don’t have somebody breathing down your back, and it just wasn’t fun for me to fight for the UFC, so I figured that I need a change in my life.
“And after signing this last contract that I had with him, I just wanted to get out of my fights as quickly as possible so I could move on with my life and be done. And even if I never fought again after that last contract, this last fight that I had, I wasn’t going to resign with them, because it’s simple; you put 27 fights in, you give them 10 years of your life, you’d think that they would have stepped up to the game or stepped up to the plate and put a job offer in front of me or something to keep me involved with the UFC and the sport, but there was no talk of that. And so I decided that it was best for me to move on to Bellator anyway, because Scott Coker is so cool and I started my career on Spike TV and I would like to end it on Spike as well.”
On if he had a chat with Dana White before he decided to leave UFC: “Nah. It was none of his business what I do with my career. So I knew he wasn’t stepping up to the plate, because he had gotten an offer from Bellator and he didn’t pick up the phone or have the courage to pick up the phone until, you know, his flop of a Reebok deal came out and that was the ‘Josh Koscheck media day’. And my media day was bigger than his flopped Reebok deal, so he should actually be patting me on the back (laughs). ‘Cause the day Reebok launched was a nightmare. Josh Koscheck was all over the news going over as far as signing with Bellator. So I did get a phone call that day actually from him, and needless to say it wasn’t the politest conversation between the both us.”
On what would have happened if the UFC offered to match the deal Bellator gave him: “Nope. I wouldn’t have signed with them. I would have renegotiated back with Bellator and got a better contract that they couldn’t match. So I wouldn’t sign back with them.”
From there, things only got worse — or better — if you enjoy this kind of drama. Read more of the Koscheck interview, where the TUF 1 veteran does not hold back one iota — by clicking ahead to page two. Also on page two, you can listen to the audio of the complete interview, where if you listen to the tone in his voice, you can tell he’s not kidding around at all.