So we were all a little surprised last week when the news broke that Roger Huerta had publicly complained about his UFC compensation in FIGHT! Magazine. Then earlier this week, we were really surprised when we heard what Huerta was asking for—six-figures guaranteed per fight and points on the PPV. Considering that Huerta hasn’t beaten any of the UFC ‘s elite lightweights yet (although that may change tomorrow night), that seemed like a pretty bold request.
Well, Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole caught up with Huerta, and gave him the chance to clarify his statements.
“The misconception is, and the thing that people are getting wrong, is that (I realize) I’m blessed I was part of the UFC and I’m blessed with what they’ve done for me. I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in if it weren’t for them. They’ve done so much for the sport. They’re the guys in the forefront, sanctioning MMA and showing everybody what we’re like as MMA fighters and that we’re professional athletes, too. They’re the ones who were once $40 million in the hole and they’re the ones who are putting up the money to build this sport.
“All I was saying is that from an economic point of view, I have to think of economics. I was a business major. You have to think that way. I think about taxes and my Roth IRA and my retirement plan and, ‘How long can I do this for?’ I know I’m not Randy Couture and I know I can’t be 44 years old and still compete. I gave myself a five-year plan to do what I can and that’s what I was talking about.”
He went on to lavish praise on the UFC. He called the company “amazing” and said he understands that if it weren’t for the UFC, MMA wouldn’t have exploded the way it has. “The only thing is, they’re a business and they want to keep their expenses low and their income high, and in that, they’re no different than me,” Huerta said. “If you work for Dell and you were offered a lot more money to come over to Apple and build Macs, the economics of it and the financial aspects of it would play a part. This is the same thing.”
He said he understands people will interpret his words the way they want. He said he doesn’t regret anything and, when asked if he were quoted accurately, he paused and said, “I’m not sure,” before quickly adding, “I’m not taking anything back.”
So basically, Huerta is trying to get the most out of his fighting career while he’s able to physically compete. If he gets a better offer from another promotion, it doesn’t sound like he would hesitate to take it. It will definitely be very interesting to see how this all works out for Huerta. If he wins tomorrow night, he’ll be in a much better position to negotiate. If not, I don’t see this working out in his favor.
However it turns out, I’m sure there will be quite a few fighters who will be following along with the rest of us.