Renowned MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz has a simple message for UFC fighters who complain about pay: ‘Don’t like it? Then leave’.
The fighter pay debate continues to make headlines and maintain a place in mainstream mixed martial arts discussion, something that those calling for improved contractual conditions for UFC athletes will be thankful for.
But while the push for increased remuneration has the support of Francis Ngannou, Israel Adesanya, Tony Ferguson, Aljamain Sterling, Jake Paul, and many more big names, not everyone is riding the same wave.
Joining the likes of Michael Chandler and Valentina Shevchenko on the other side is Abdelaziz. The Dominance MMA Management CEO has a host of top UFC names on his books, including Kamaru Usman, Islam Makhachev, Beneil Dariush, and Gilbert Burns.
Given his prominent place in the teams of many on the UFC roster, Abdelaziz often interacts and negotiates with the promotion’s brass.
Whether for the benefit of his fighters’ negotiations or a genuinely good relationship, the Egyptian manager often praises UFC President Dana White and has been seen alongside him with stars like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Usman on social media.
And during a recent interview with Sherdog, Abdelaziz spoke out in support of White and the UFC in regards to fighter pay. After claiming that the organization’s chief goes above and beyond to support its fighters, the manager reminded those who complain that there are plenty of other promotions for them to compete in.
“Dana’s a man of his word… He’s a good man. He does so much stuff for fighters without even people knowing. He spends probably millions of dollars a year helping people out, and he doesn’t really have to,” said Abdelaziz. “And everybody want to criticize fighter pay. Okay, if you don’t like the UFC, don’t sign with the UFC. You have Bellator, you have PFL, you have ONE (Championship). Go sign there.”
Those with the opposite belief will perhaps respond to Abdelaziz by suggesting that elite fighters shouldn’t need to depart the sport’s premier promotion in order to receive the appropriate level of pay.
To that, Abdelaziz said he doesn’t think they need to. Instead, the 44-year-old suggested that fighters simply need to maintain good relationships with the UFC higher-ups and negotiate behind closed doors like “real men.”
“If you want more money, okay, no problem, go set up a meeting and sit with Mick (Maynard), Sit with whoever you’re gonna sit with, Hunter (Campbell)… And make a deal. Real men do deals behind closed doors. It’s all about relationships,” suggested Abdelaziz.
Claiming that the answer is as simple as negotiation will likely receive some backlash from those involved in disputes with the UFC, such as heavyweight kingpin Francis Ngannou, who has gone back and forth with the organization since before his January title defense.
Elsewhere, bantamweight champ Sterling recently took to social media to reveal that, despite reports, his next defense is yet to be finalized owing to ongoing contractual discourse with the UFC. “Funk Master” is looking get paid closer to his perceived worth following his successful championship retention against Petr Yan in April.
Opposite to Abdelaziz’s latest remarks. Sterling went public with his pursuit of increased fight purses, speaking about the topic on his YouTube channel.
Do you agree with Ali Abdelaziz’s stance on the fighter pay debate?