There are two sides to every story, and when it comes to UFC fighter contract negotiations, there’s always the UFC, and a side pretty upset they’ve been cut from the roster.
Such is the case with Yair Rodriguez, who was the UFC’s golden boy and future star until he ran into the brick wall known as “real versus perceived worth”.
Rodriguez was unceremoniously fired last week. This week, he appeared on “The MMA Hour” to give his side of things.
“I got to talk to (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby and I told him I was able to fight Josh Emmett in February in Orlando, Florida, to headline that event (UFC on FOX 28),” Rodriguez explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “And I accepted. I stepped up, and I learned that Josh Emmett wouldn’t accept the fight, or I don’t know if the UFC didn’t want to give it to me or whatever, then I was replaced with Jeremy Stephens. Jeremy Stephens took that fight.
“Then, after that, we sat again with the UFC and talked about a few other opponents. I talked to Sean Shelby and he told me, ‘What do you have in your mind?’ I told him I think I at least deserve a top 10 [opponent]. No matter what happens, I think I deserve a top 10 [opponent] just because of what I already showed in the UFC. I’m 6-1 in the UFC. Not all the fighters in the UFC have the same record as me. I know I’m still a rising star for the sport or whatever, but I know I have done a lot already. I know [how many] fans I have inside the sport and I don’t think I have to show anybody that I’m not afraid.”
Rodriguez claimed that during the time of these conversations, he personally reached out to White to offer his services to rematch Edgar on short notice at UFC 222 after featherweight champion Max Holloway withdrew from the event due to injury. “El Pantera” said that once the offer didn’t pan out — Edgar ended up losing to Brian Ortega at UFC 222 — he returned to the drawing board to resume discussing potential opponents with UFC officials.
I guess the lesson here is that the UFC giveth, and they can taketh it all the heck away in a flash.