Unless your verbal contract is with Dana White and the Fertitta brothers, it seems. In an interview with Steve Austin (everybody has a podcast. Everybody) Sonnen says he hasn’t signed a contract to fight Jon Jones in UFC 159 and no worries, cause he’s used to operating that way:
I never, to this day I don’t have a contract to fight Anderson Silva. I never signed an agreement that said I would fight him, we never picked a dollar amount, we never picked a weight class. Nothing. I told those guys I would show up and I did. They never had a contract with me, they said what they would do and they did [it].
“Never” might have been a poor choice of words. You can’t ever believe Chael is telling the truth about anything, but assuming that he didn’t have a contract for his last bout against Silva in July, he’s famously on record for needling Ed Soares about contracts before their first bout in 2010: “I signed my contract and sent it in six minutes… [Silva’s] been hanging on to his for ten days and hasn’t signed it yet.” Disclosed pay for that fight? 95 large: 35k base pay and a cool 60k for the FOTN bonus. But since Chael has continued to finagle his way on to some big cards and two title fights since 2010, it makes some sense not to be signing any contracts if you’ve got a verbal wink, wink, nudge, nudge agreement with the three kings of Zuffa:
My UFC contract expired about four months ago, I don’t know if they just haven’t realized it because they’re so busy, or if they just know they don’t need one with me. But, I got a world title fight coming up, we’ve got a sold out venue — I don’t have a piece of paper with my name on it or Jon Jones’ or anything else, but I don’t need one either.
Chael delivers on the talk so Dana doesn’t have to work as hard to hype, shows up at weight, and is rewarded with what? A large PPV cut? Gold bullion bars? A Fox commentator contract? Because if one things rings true here, it’s that a lapsed UFC contract looks like retirement for Chael after the Jones fight… not that we’ll see any less of him.
(pic by Laron Zaugg via MMA Weekly)