Much controversy has surrounded UFC lightweight Roger Huerta after last week’s Fight! Magazine hit the news stands. The magazine did an article on Huerta where he went on record, speaking out about his disdain for how the UFC treats and compensates their athletes. UFC President Dana White was not too pleased.
In the piece, Huerta said that he quit doing public relations (PR) for the UFC because he missed out on valuable training time, and was rewarded with only a $50/day stipend for his troubles. Also, some promotional days extended beyond 12 hours.
“Boohoo,” White said Thursday on TAGG radio. “Guys have been doing it the eight years we’ve been running the company. Oscar De La Hoya weighs in on Friday, then jumps on a plane to California and does Jay Leno and all these other talk shows because that’s how you build your name up and become famous, and that’s how you make your money. You know what else we have? We have guys in the UFC bitching that guys like Roger Huerta get all the PR and that they don’t get any.”
Huerta also complained about the compensation that he and most other fighters in the largest MMA organization in the world receive. He joins Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture as the only fighters to ever speak out publicly about their disappointment in their UFC salaies. Ortiz and Couture are no longer with the company.
“Somebody asked me yesterday in an interview, ‘Roger Huerta said he’s having contract problems.’ He’s not having contract problems,” White added. “He’s got two more fights left on his contract. If he beats Kenny Florian, it obviously puts him in a real nice position, then he can re-negotiate a new contract.”
Winning his fight against Florian this Saturday at UFC 87 certainly puts him in a better position to negotiate. However, a win with only one fight remaining on his contract could backfire as well. UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight fighter, Brandon Vera, found himself in a similar situation as Huerta a couple of years ago.
Vera had two fights remaining on his UFC contract, then won his next bout positioning himself to contend for the heavyweight title, however the UFC would not allow Vera to fight for the belt with only one fight remaining on his deal. Vera was placed on the sidelines for the better part of a year in a bitter contract dispute with the organization before he finally came back to the UFC earlier this year.
“Some of these guys start saying stupid stuff like Roger,” White mused. “I don’t get what he’s talking about. You signed a contract. You’ve got two fights left on it. You’ve got a tough fight with Kenny Florian. You win it? We’ll talk.”
Sounds like Huerta better let his fists do the talking for him on Saturday.