After six months of waiting for his check, DREAM featherweight champion Bibiano Fernandes has finally been paid for his fight against Joachim Hansen at DREAM.13 back in March. Funny enough, the money also came with a request to fight at DREAM.16 later this month. Understandably, Fernandes wasn’t about to do them any favors on such short notice.
First of all, I’d like to thank TATAME for publishing that article… It ran all though Canada, United States, until it got to the ears of the guys from Dream. It got there and they called me about a week ago saying that my money was there, that they have sent it to my manager, so it’s cool… They had made a proposal for me to fight on the next edition of the event, but you turned it down because they owed you your money.
They called me and said they wanted me to fight on the 25th event. Are you nuts? I said: “You just paid me, you didn’t even talk to me before and now you want me to fight? I’m a professional. This is my life, this is what I do for a living, it’s not like that”. It’s not about the money, I want to make a good fight, I’m not training… Ok, I’m training, but I’m not on the level to fight. I told they it doesn’t work like that, I’m not conditioned, I’m not on the right rhythm, I won’t fight. I’ll go to Brazil and see my father, my family, so maybe next time”. They started saying thing and claiming they’d give me things and I said: “I won’t fight. You said you’d pay me in 20 days and only six months later you actually paid me. You want me to fight, but no. I appreciate it, but maybe next time”. Let’s see how things get.
Fernandes isn’t ruling out a return to DREAM in the future (if there’s a DREAM to return to), but interestingly, he’s not willing to fight in the US because of the low pay rates in the featherweight division.
I fight for the sport, for my students, my friends… I don’t know if I’d fight on the United States because look at my division there… The guys don’t pay us decently. I do my classes, I don’t think it’s worth it to go there and fight for US$ 10 thousand and change all my life to train and fight. I like fighting, I love fighting, but if my money is enough, I’ll keep fighting Jiu-Jitsu, giving lessons of Jiu-Jitsu, that’s what I want. In life everything had its exact time and I’ll enjoy it all long as it lasts and when it’s over, it’s over. I’ll fight until God allows me to.
It’s unfortunate, Fernandes could be an interesting contender in the WEC’s featherweight division, but until Zuffa decides to fold the WEC into the UFC there’s no reason to believe the going rate for featherweights is going to see any substantial increases in the foreseeable future. Of course, if PUJI doesn’t pull through and save DREAM, lower-paying organizations like the WEC might be the only option for top-tier featherweights like Fernandes. It’s not ideal, but at least they pay on time.