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Why don’t fighters argue for a bout cancellation clause that guarantees payment if the fight falls through? Why are people ignoring the neo-Nazi ties of an undefeated Bellator fighter? And how would Dr. Frankenstein build the perfect MMA fighter?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.


Thoughts on fighter cancellation pay when Bradley Scott only got a portion of it and zero reebok pay when he full filled all commitments and it was not his fault but Nasrat Haqparast got his full show money when he was the one pulled from the fight!

— Lord Gavin Springett (@gavinspringett) March 21, 2018

Recently I talked to a few managers (none of whom would go on record) to ask why it is that no one ever gets language put into their contracts to specify exactly what happens if their bouts are cancelled at the last minute. The response? Some of them have tried, and for the most part the UFC simply refuses to do it.

Maybe UFC officials are worried that cancellation clauses would encourage fighters to look for reasons not to fight. Maybe they worry it’ll mean the end of the era when someone could miss weight, forfeit a portion of their purse, and still go through with the bout.

Or maybe the UFC just doesn’t want to cede ground in the standard contract battle out of concern that it’ll lead to all sorts of other demands.

Mostly it seems to come down to this: The UFC is in the business of promoting fights, which means it is in the company’s interests to ensure that all bouts happen as scheduled. For the UFC, there’s no upside in a cancellation. You want the UFC to pay you? Then you’ve got to fight. That’s the message here.

But you’re right, sometimes it’s not a decision the fighter gets to make. Sometimes his opponent gets pulled at the last minute and there’s no replacement offered. And when that happens, it’s basically impossible for the fighter to know with any certainty what will happen next.

Will he get his show money? Will he have to beg for it on social media first? Will he end up with just a portion of what he was owed and a promise to rebook soon? If he gets a little too aggressive about demanding to be paid, or if he turns down a potential replacement, no matter how unsuitable, will he come home with nothing?

This doubt persists, and at this point we can only assume the UFC wants it that way. The only explanation that makes sense is that the UFC wants fighters to feel like there’s only one way to get paid. Even when that way isn’t an option.


@benfowlkesMMA If the story is true and your a UFC fighter how would you take this report? Is there always going to be more money in boxing?https://t.co/koWHo9s0Oz

— Michael Clifton (@mclifton808) March 22, 2018

For those unaware, the original report from The Telegraph claims that the UFC is offering heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua a $500 million “multi-fight deal,” which UFC President Dana White will supposedly discuss with him after his fight next weekend.

If you’re a UFC fighter, here’s where you might ask yourself what you’d have to do to get the UFC to pay you that kind of money. Win all your fights? Nope, that won’t do it. Ask Khabib Nurmagomedov. Become UFC heavyweight champion and break the record for title defenses? Stipe Miocic did that, and his gripes about pay suggest he’s clocking in somewhere below the $500 million mark.

How about Conor McGregor? He made a monster payday, but he had to cross over into boxing (and give the UFC a cut) in order to do it. Now the UFC is trying to engineer the same thing in reverse, and it’s willing to open the wallet much wider than it has for any MMA fighter in order to make it happen.

One takeaway here is that the UFC has money to spend – if you’re already a star. But becoming a star under the UFC banner has only gotten harder in recent years, and even if you achieve it you might still find that it’s useful mostly as a way of making money outside the octagon.


You're Frankenstein and Dana White calls you to build an ultimate fighter. To build it you have to take one thing from a few different fighters (ex: Askren's wrestling, Ngannou's power, Ishihara's sexual prowess, etc). What would you take and who would you take it from?

— Brandon..not the lead singer of Incubus (@oldcrowMMA) March 21, 2018

First off, don’t think I didn’t notice that you actually remembered that Frankenstein was the name of the dude who created the monster, not the name of the monster itself. It’s the little things that bring me joy, and for that I thank you.

Second, after giving this question way too much thought, here’s my list:

Georges St-Pierre’s in-fight discipline and fight IQ

Jon Jones’ creativity

Mark Hunt’s chin

Cris Cyborg’s power of intimidation

Daniel Cormier’s takedowns

Francis Ngannou’s knockout power

Conor McGregor’s self-belief

Nick Diaz’s ability to see through the BS

Robbie Lawler’s toughness

Demian Maia’s submissions

Anderson Silva’s timing

Michael Bisping’s stubbornness

Frankie Edgar’s work ethic

Yoel Romero’s longevity

Derrick Lewis’ social media game

Demetrious Johnson’s everything

Man, I feel like there’s a lot I’m leaving out. But I’m sure you fine people will be all too happy to tell me what I missed …

Does anyone really think Floyd is going to get in the octagon with Conor?

— vinny p (@vincepreamble) March 21, 2018


Why is everyone ignoring Anastasia Yankova's neo Nazi background?

— Walter Lemieux (@walterlemieux) March 21, 2018

Good question. I admit I wasn’t too familiar with Anastasia Yankova, who is 3-0 in Bellator (5-0 overall) and set to fight again at Bellator 200 in May. But a quick Google search confirms, yep, she’s got some troubling associations in her past.

For starters, Yankova made her pro debut in Moscow at an event called “Birth of a Nation,” promoted by a neo-Nazi clothing company called White Rex. According to an article from Mother Jones, the canvas in the cage at this event “was emblazoned with a giant White Rex logo, a hybrid symbol of the swastika, the Nazi esoteric ‘black sun,’ and the Russian Kolovrat, a swastika-like symbol popular with Russian white nationalists.”

It’s not just a love of iconography, either. On White Rex’s Tumblr site they openly call themselves Nazis, and advocate for a violent fascism with MMA forming the foundation of their training for street battles against their chosen targets, including gays and minorities.

Yankova didn’t just fight for them once, either. She’s done modeling campaigns for their clothing (including wearing a shirt “bearing the words ‘Royal Blood’ and ‘Since 14.08.08’—a reference to the 14-word white supremacist mantra and the code for Heil Hitler), appeared in videos for them, and even once posted a cartoon to Instagram with an image of a sad Adolf Hitler, commenting that it “matches my mood.”

She also appeared in a Nike Russia commercial, but Nike said it stopped working with her immediately after it learned of her ties to White Rex.

You know who hasn’t stopped working with her? Bellator. The Mother Jones story includes a quote from Bellator senior director of communications Ryan Grab saying that while Bellator is now aware of Yankova’s past associations, company representatives have talked to her about and as a result “we are confident she does not share these same beliefs and moreover, stands firmly against these types of nationalistic views.”

Bellator’s not the only promotion to hire fighters with troubling links to racist groups in the past. The difference is, while the UFC’s parent company didn’t always check backgrounds as well as it could have, especially when it ran Strikeforce, it did a pretty decent job cutting ties with fighters as soon as the facts came to light. Bellator, on the other hand, seems content to stick with Yankova, even if a neo-Nazi group describes her as “a friend.”

But you’re right, this isn’t a story we should ignore. People, especially when they’re young, can make mistakes – even obvious, awful ones, like buddying up to fascist hate groups – and it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be forever branded as vile untouchables. But they also don’t get to ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen.


Should Frankie Edgar be lining up for the Early Bird Special at Cubby Sampson's? Or should he take his time, and catch up with his newspaper in his lazy-boy?

— Chap (@Chapperton) March 21, 2018

Edgar suffered the first knockout loss of his nearly 13-year career earlier this month. Now we find out he’s going to return just 49 days later to rematch Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 128. Win or lose, that doesn’t strike me as a great idea.

Remember when Dana White used to praise post-fight injury suspensions when claiming that MMA was safer than football? This is White in 2013:

“Here’s the difference between the UFC and the NFL as far as concussions are concerned. First of all, if you get a concussion, if you get knocked out or you get hurt whatsoever in the UFC, three months suspension. You are on suspension for three months and you cannot come back until you are cleared by a doctor. You can’t have any contact whatsoever.”

Fast-forward a few years, and suddenly you’ve got Michael Bisping coming back to fight three weeks after getting dropped by GSP, and now Edgar fighting less than two months after getting literally knocked off his feet by Brian Ortega.

I understand what Edgar may be thinking. He wants to get that bad taste out of his mouth, get back in the win column as soon as possible, plus it’s a fight against someone he already beat handily once.

Still, this is a quick turnaround for a 36-year-old man who just got his brain rattled. He shouldn’t even be taking hits to the head in the gym right now. But I guess the era of pretending to be concerned about that stuff is long gone in MMA.


Do you believe the idea that certain fighters would "duck" a fight? It drives me crazy when "fans," say that Nunes is ducking Cyborg. As if a professional warrior would be afraid to enhance their legacy. Every time a fan says it, it drives me crazy. Thoughts, Mr. Fowlkes?

— Johann Castro (@thejohanncastro) March 21, 2018

It’s not fear in the sense that most of us understand it, but “ducking” certain fights is a real thing. Sometimes it’s also the result of some honest calculations about what’s best for your career, which is not something we should be too quick to shame fighters for.

Recently I saw George Foreman on Twitter, answering a question about whether he would have fought Lennox Lewis if he had beaten Shannon Briggs in the final fight of his career. His response?

Lewis was a fight I didn’t want. Mama didn’t raise no Fool https://t.co/I6rZ9pwqLp

— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) March 8, 2018

Amanda Nunes could be perfectly willing to fight Cyborg … for the right money, and at the right time. But that doesn’t mean she’s obligated to sprint face-first into what she obviously knows would be a tough fight against the dominant champion in the division above hers. That’s a risk, and she’s smart to want to manage that risk as best she can.

If we insist on asking fighters to act like they don’t take any of this stuff into account, we’re basically asking them to lie to us – or to be actively, amazingly dumb about the tiny window of opportunity they have.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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Source : http://mmajunkie.com/2018/03/twitter-mailbag-ufc-contracts-anastasia-yankova-conor-mcgregor-floyd-mayweather-bellator-mma

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