Tony Ferguson was last seen onstage at the UFC Press Conference. He said that he had “Dana White privilege”, after being granted a title shot for his first bout.
Everyone in attendance reacted to the comment, not only Dana White (the UFC president), who couldn’t help but laugh at Ferguson’s play on words. But Ferguson now admits that there wasn’t comedy.
“I don’t think that s*** is very funny,” Ferguson said at UFC 274 media day. “You do maybe. I don’t think it’s very funny. Everyone is staring at it and smiling, laughing. But no one’s saying ***..
” I’m up with Dana Brown privilege, or whatever you like to call it. It’s not funny to me anymore. I don’t think you should think that’s very funny. So I’m taking this weekend very f****** seriously. So I’ll kick this Dana White boy’s ass.”
According to Ferguson, the problems he is having with Chandler aren’t related to him but the UFC in general due to the many issues that he has faced throughout his time working for the promotion.
“Nothing personal against Chandler,” Ferguson said. Ferguson said, “But I will be honest. I am tired of the retaliation strategies from the company .”
Amongst his biggest complaints, Ferguson pointed towards overall pay for the fighters, which has become a central issue for the UFC’s biggest critics.
As the promotion reported record profits during and after the pandemics, the calls for increased fighter pay were echoed louder. This is especially true with Jake Paul, a social media influencer, taking up the cause, while also going after White in the last couple years.
In Ferguson’s instance, he complained to White about boxers being paid too much and then not allowing UFC fighters the opportunity to earn that money in another sport.
“I think we’re underpaid, personally, I’m going to be real,” Ferguson said. “I’m not going to say too much. Dana said something the other day, it’s on my phone, I think it’s from MMA Fighting actually reposted it talking about how boxers being overpaid. Dana said “f***n” when I asked him if he would box. I’m like why? I want to go play baseball, I want to go do other pro sports. I’m an athlete. I grew up doing different pro sports at a very high level. I won a state championship in football, we were 27-1. Grand Valley State University is where I am from. I would love to wrestle. I’ve got uncle Brock [Lesnar] that’s right there watching me.
“I want to go do all these couple things but then I have this guy right here acting like a f****** drug dealer, telling me I can’t go do this s***. I want to go make more money for my family.”
Ferguson mentioned another situation that occurred for him in 2018, when he was to face Khabib Nurmagomedov to be crowned the undisputed lightweight champion. This happened after he won an interim title just a few months before.
Just days before his scheduled fight, Ferguson fell over a wire on a media tour. The freak accident caused Ferguson to lose half of his right knee and required him to have major reconstructive surgery.
Ferguson was removed from the fight, and his interim title was stripped away. Nurmagomedov continued to fight Al Iaquinta for a UFC lightweight championship fight.
“I had a terrible fall at FOX and they took my title away from me,” Ferguson stated. Ferguson said, “I ought to have sued. What I did is that I felt great for my company and wanted to be the man. It was important to let everyone know that I can ****** accomplish this task without any assistance.
” That’s just a bit of chip on my shoulder. Keep coming back in here smiling and for that poster with the high value .”
Much like he said about White, Ferguson can’t help but feel the same for the UFC as an entire organization when it comes to the treatment of the fighters where it feels like everyone is just another cog in the machine.
“The promoters here act like drug dealers sometimes,” Ferguson said. “They just throw down a couple bucks here and there like ‘come here, kid — here, take this, take this, take this’ — and if you don’t have the will to say no to that stupid s*** you’re going to get f*****.”
It seems that this decision has been long coming, with Ferguson admitting to having been thinking about these things for a while during his absence from the sport.
Now with a chance to speak about everything that’s been happening, Ferguson is no longer biting his tongue.
“You guys are listening now,” Ferguson said. “That’s interesting. This is the reason I haven’t done interviews. Because of this, I have kept my mouth closed for so long. A lot of fighters have been keeping their mouth shut for a long time.
” You should also ask other fighters who have been treated like s*** for long periods of time *****, because I am not the only one thinking it, or even f ****** seeing it. Maybe you should ask them, too.”