Luke Rockhold is getting prepared to return to the UFC after some time away. When Rockhold walked away from the UFC back in 2019 it was never an official retirement, but with so many other opportunities going on for Rockhold outside of fighting it was unclear if he would return. Rockhold was been in movies and has a successful modeling career outside of fighting, but throughout this, he continued to train and has now announced that he wants to return. He spoke recently on the Rippin’ It podcast about his relationship with Dana White and what led to the time away.
“Fighting is like a mafia. They have these very mafioso-type tactics in negotiations, they try to f–k with you. I’m not having any of it,” Rockhold said via Brobible. “If you don’t know your worth someone will tell you your worth and it’ll be less than your worth, so know your worth. Once I lost the world title, Dana White came up to me and tried to beat me down mentally and I was like ‘f–k you,’ straight up. I was like I’m going to go do my own thing, if you’re going to try and offer me this and that bull–it, you know who I am and what I did, that’s the only reason I went out and got a modeling contract so I could leverage myself.”
Rockhold has lost two in a row now after trying his hand at light heavyweight. If he walked away due to a lack of reasonable compensation, then outside success may have been the trick to getting what he wants. As a former champion, White had basically written him off and even hinted that Rockhold should officially retire. Now it seems that he changed his mind about welcoming the former middleweight champion back.
“We don’t have the governing body. We’ve got an egotistical guy that’s a bit of a tyrant,” Rockhold said. “No one is going to try and fight you, you’ve got to put your ass on the line, stand your ground, take the risk, otherwise you get treated like a b–ch. It’s unfortunate, a guy like that, he thinks he can fight, he thinks he’s a fighter. I don’t understand why he’s trying to belittle all the fighters when you’ve never fought a day in your life. You’re a promoter. We need a governing body to give people what they deserve, he doesn’t play the game right.”
Rockhold is the only fighter who has been having trouble negotiating with White and the UFC. Most recently Jon Jones has been in a social media battle with the boss about pay and getting his worth. Rockhold thinks that it is White and his need to control that make it difficult for fighters to get what they think they are worth in terms of fight pay. Rockhold believes that going out and building himself as a brand help to up his value in the UFC.
Do you think Dana White’s power in the UFC should be limited by a governing body?