After UFC 161, one of the main topics of conversation was Roy Nelson. Where he stood after the loss, what he wanted to do, and whether the UFC was interested at all in keeping him. For his part, Dana White insists that the promotion isn’t pushing him out the door:
“I want Roy Nelson in the UFC, we never said we don’t want him. If I didn’t want Roy in the UFC, I’d tell ya, he’d know it, everyone would know it. Roy and I don’t have to see eye to eye for him to fight here. Tito fought here for a long time and many other guys.”
“He doesn’t wanna talk about it publicly. So we won’t talk about it publicly. It’s not about making a deal. He had an offer a month and a half ago. Because someone is not telling the truth about something. I said, he said what we need to do, I said lets do it right fucking now, get everyone in a room and we’ll see who’s telling the truth and who’s not. He doesn’t wanna talk about it publicly and I’ve already said too much.”
“It’s not like we’re saying we’re not signing Roy Nelson, we hate him, we don’t want him here. We’re trying to come to a deal with Roy Nelson.”
But what kind of deal exactly? White shares an anecdote on past negotiations:
He was fighting under the Ultimate Fighter contract and he called Joe Silva and he said ‘Listen, I’m fighting tough guys here and I’m winning.” And Joe said “You’re right, we’re going to get rid of the Ultimate Fighter contract and give you another contract.” So Joe Silva offers him another deal for more money and Roy says “That’s not enough.” This was a while ago. And Joe says “Well this is my offer. I’ll rip up the old contract and give you this one.” “No.” Joe says “But it’s more money.” “I don’t care, it’s not what I want.” He fought under the fucking Ultimate Fighter contract instead of taking the new contract which was significantly more money. Because he wanted to stay on the Ultimate Fighter contract instead of taking the new deal.
Well, that’s a slight oversimplification. I doubt he WANTED to stay on that amazing ‘six figure contract’ TUF winners are rewarded with (which works out to 15k/15k). He just felt that the raise he was being offered wasn’t enough considering he was fighting guys like Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir on the PPV portion of UFC events. The post-TUF contract he did end up with had him earning 24k/24k, so you might agree that the UFC’s offers thus far haven’t exactly been generous.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports