Interim UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, the most decorated 145-pounder in the history of the sport, has requested his release from the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion after UFC president Dana White lied to him for the umpteenth time.
White had promised Aldo would get a rematch against featherweight champ Conor McGregor in his next outing after the Brazilian trounced Frankie Edgar in July to capture the vacant interim belt. However, White announced Tuesday that McGregor would challenge lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez for his belt at UFC 205 instead, much to Aldo’s surprise and dismay.
“I heard about everything that happened through my coach,” Aldo told Combate (transcribed by MMAFighting.com). “He had spoken with [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby Saturday and Sean still had no answer about anything, and asked if I could fight on November 12. My coach said that if it would be Conor, yes, and then Sean asked him if I would fight Max Holloway or Anthony Pettis. ‘Dede’ [Pederneiras] said that for those who I’d rather do a full camp and it could be on December 10.
“We waited until Dana publicly said that he wanted this fight with McGregor to happen. And then we expected it to happen: I’d get my rematch to unify the featherweight belts, or I’d have my belt back and fight Holloway or Pettis, since Dana [White] said all the time that Conor couldn’t keep both belts. But, to my surprise, I heard last night about the fight between McGregor and Eddie Alvarez, which was also denied by Dana last week. And to make it worse, he would keep the featherweight belt, and possibly having two belts at the same time.”
Aldo hasn’t had the best relationship with the UFC since becoming their inaugural featherweight king after the WEC collapsed in late 2010. Aldo hasn’t been shy about expressing his displeasure in fighter pay, as well as the UFC’s exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok that took even more money out of fighters’ pockets.
It’s also possible that because Aldo’s pulled out of multiple UFC fights due to injury, forcing White to scramble and salvage cards, played a major role in their icy relationship.
Speaking of Aldo’s injuries, remember when the UFC spent millions of dollars to promote Aldo vs. MCGregor for UFC 189, then Aldo withdrew with a broken rib? White tried to assassinate Aldo’s character by accusing Aldo of posting a picture of an old x-ray that showed a broken rib. White kept insisting Aldo could have fought McGregor because he merely had a bruised rib.
I’m not quite sure how that got swept under the octagon rug publicly, but it’s something that Aldo hasn’t forgotten privately.
White has said that if McGregor beats Alvarez on November 12, he would force his cash cow to vacate one of the belts so he doesn’t create a log jam in two of the UFC’s deepest divisions. Aldo ain’t buying what used car salesman White is selling because it’s McGregor who is calling the shots now.
“I don’t believe in Dana saying that Conor would have to vacate one of the belts after UFC 205 because, based on what we’re seeing, this type of decision is not in his hands anymore, Conor makes the calls now,” Aldo said. “And the biggest proof that who’s in charge in the UFC now is Conor is that when I wanted to move up to fight Pettis, they said I’d have to vacate my belt and try this fight with no title whatsoever. But with him, they let him move up to the division above without losing his belt, and also let him do any fight he wants. I understand that he sells a lot, but it gets to a limit when it’s no longer a sport, it becomes a circus. I don’t want any type of fight with the UFC. The only thing I want is to go on with my life, and they will go on with theirs.”
It is unknown how many fights Aldo has remaining on his current UFC contract. In addition, there’s likely a clause in the fine print that wouldn’t allow him to bounce to another organization if he dons a title.
It is known, however, that there’s now way White would allow Aldo to walk into Bellator’s awaiting arms.
The 30-year-old owns a dominant 26-2 professional record. Aldo had rattled off 18 consecutive victories, a torrid span he ignited in 2006, before getting knocked out cold by McGregor in December that cost him his crown.