The UFC’s rumored practice of leaking fight announcements prior to contracts being signed has been confirmed by Curtis Blaydes.
The dubious tactic has long been suspected by some in the industry, most notably Ariel Helwani, who last month wrote about the subject to his Substack followers.
“I’m happy that some of y’all are finally starting to figure out that the UFC “leaks” news to reporters before fighters agree to bouts. This is not cool. Why do they do this? Well, sometimes it’s to put pressure on fighters. Sometimes it’s just careless. Sometimes it’s because they are afraid another outlet or reporter is going to get it first, so they jump the gun. Either way, it’s not right and we all need to be better when it comes to reporting this stuff,” Helwani wrote.
In an interview with MMANews this week, Blaydes spoke of his personal experience with the long-rumored practice. When asked if any of his fights have leaked prior to signing the contract, Blaydes revealed that’s exactly what happened with his most recent bout against Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 266.
“Yeah, I didn’t get the contract for this last fight until a month out,” said Blaydes. “We knew about this since June. So yeah, that happens a lot, actually. I hear guys in the gym all the time, ‘Yeah, I didn’t get the contract yet.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, well, don’t worry. It’s on the way’ Sometimes they just drag a little ass. I don’t know why. But yeah, that does happen.”
Curtis Blaydes Speaks to MMANews About UFC 266 Win And Possible Next Opponent
Blaydes is now very much back in the heavyweight title contention picture after defeating Rozenstruik last month. The unanimous decision victory came after a devastating KO loss to Derek Lewis in February, which ended Blaydes’ four-fight win streak.
Had “Razor” won that fight, he would have surely gone on to face Ciryl Gane for the interim title. But as the youngest of the top five heavyweights at 30 years old, Blaydes has plenty of time to mount another run at the title, and he seems to have all the tools to one day become champ.
Watch our full interview with Curtis below to hear his thoughts on that UFC 266 victory, the Jon Jones arrest, teammate Cory Sandhagen’s interim title shot, and his plans for a return to the Octagon in 2022.
What do you think about the UFC’s practice of prematurely leaking fight news?