When Corey Anderson was released from his UFC contract last year, it came as quite a surprise to the MMA community. After all, it’s not often that a fighter ranked within the top 10 who had won five of his last six fights is suddenly let go. When the story broke last summer, Dana White said that the release was mutual and then made the startling statement that Anderson believed he could be more competitive elsewhere. Anderson disputed this claim and said that the release was more a matter of the two sides being far apart on dollars and cents.
Corey Anderson Details Icy Relationship With UFC Prior to Release
Today, Corey Anderson is fully committed to Bellator MMA, where he will attempt to do what he was unable to do in the UFC: win the light heavyweight championship. Anderson says that it feels good to be appreciated now, especially after coming from a place that he claims all but sabotaged his run in their promotion to a premature exit (transcription via Fightful).
“It’s the same thing, just a different banner. The only thing different about it [is] it’s a little more motivating because you got the promoter and the company actually, you can tell they kind of want you here,” Anderson said on Network Brawl’s The Bo and Glow MMA show. “They like you here. At the end of my road with the UFC, that was part of the reason why I just got up and left. It got to the point like, after that loss, me and my manager both, we knew it was like…
“My manager, he thought maybe there was some hope, but I knew right away. Ever since [UFC] 232 when I voiced my opinion with the Jon Jones stuff moving from Vegas to Cali, it had been a downhill slope for me and the UFC. They were waiting for me to lose so they could kind of make it tough for me. And once that loss happened, you could see it.”
Corey Anderson recalls friction with the UFC brass long before his release, stating that his only meeting with UFC execs in his six years in the promotion was a tense one.
“The only meeting I had with the higher-ups, with Hunter and those guys from the UFC, was that when I wouldn’t take that Johnny Walker fight,” Anderson said. “I was like, ‘You guys promised me three fights before, if I win this I get a title fight.’ Why would I take somebody that’s not even ranked at the moment?
“And they finally had a meeting with me in the office and it was like, ‘I’m going to just tell you, Corey, right now: The needle doesn’t move when we say your name because you’re just, you’re too humble. You don’t talk trash, so people don’t want to see you. You gotta go out there and you gotta do something exciting. We need to get the needle to move before we can give you a title fight.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not here about making the needle move. I’m here to win.’”
Final Moments Of Anderson’s UFC Run
Corey Anderson says everything came to a head when he was in talks to fight Alexander Gustafsson but the scheduling did not line up. According to Anderson, the UFC proposed the Gustafsson fight the day his wife was giving birth, so Anderson and Gustafsson agreed to fight at a later date.
“And I talked to Alex, and Alex was like, ‘That’s fine. ‘We’ll do June 1.’ Then Dana White and them tried to go to the media and said, ‘Nope. Corey says no. He doesn’t want the fight.’
“And I showed them the message, like, ‘Look, me and Gustafsson talked about it. Just move it to June.’ They’re like, ‘Nope. It’s too late. Anthony Smith is covering.’ Then Anthony Smith went in an interview and said, ‘Corey’s ducking Gus so I’m covering for him.’ And that’s when everything really went downhill for me.”
Corey Anderson’s next fight will be against Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov on April 9 in the first round of Bellator’s Grand Prix. Nothing will help Corey Anderson move on from his UFC exit better than having a home paved in gold over at the competition.
What do you think of Corey Anderson’s additional details behind his UFC release last year?