Tony Ferguson Says UFC Stiffed Him On UFC 209 Show Money


Tony Ferguson was all ready to go last Friday as he made weight for his interim title fight with fellow lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. It was to be UFC 209’s co-main event on paper, but many fans saw it as the “people’s main event.”

After the debacle that occurred following Khabib’s untimely withdrawal from the card after being hospitalized due to a bad weight cut, Ferguson was left without a dance partner, and ultimately out of a decent pay day.

Ferguson addressed his compensation for making weight on Tuesday, when he says he received with wire transfer from the UFC into his bank account.

“It was like a slap to the face,” Ferguson told “and it’s like, what is my worth to the UFC? Like, do I not fight enough? Do I not bleed enough for them?

UFC President Dana White had previously told reporters at a recent press conference that although the UFC “has never (paid a fighter their show money in the event of a cancelled fight)”, however White did confirm that “(Ferguson) got paid. He did get paid. Yeah, he did.”

But Ferguson says he received less than half of his contracted $250,000 show money for UFC 209.

“I did everything in my power that I could to show up on that scale, and that’s what I thought we were going to do… (THEN) this morning I got my wire, and I’m looking at it and I’m like, ‘What the frick, man?’ I’m like, ‘Seriously?’”

Ferguson (22-3) said he was speechless upon seeing the wire deposit. The 33-year-old lightweight contender stood to make $500,000 if he had competed and won at UFC 209.

A UFC official who requested anonymity stressed the fact that the promotion had no obligation to pay Ferguson anything, and that “El Cucuy” knew ahead of time what he was going to be paid even after the bout with Khabib had been cancelled.

“(Dana) was telling me he was taking a loss from this” Ferguson said, “and I’ll bet you he’s somewhere out on his boat, or doing something on his jet, laying $250,000 down on a craps table.”

  • anz

    Ferguson had the option to show up and fight but he didn’t. Why should he get any show money?

    • Bulgarian Squat

      Bc he showed up, made weight and his opponent didn’t.

      • anz

        It’s the fight business not the making weight business and he had plenty of opponents who would have showed up to fight him

        • Murderous1

          Yep that’s a lesson to other fighters

        • Bulgarian Squat

          Making weight is part of the fight business and they were going to pay him less to fight someone else.

          • Bill Wolf

            That’s right. And these “camps” fighters go through to be ready to fight don’t come free.

          • anz

            Right I agree that it’s messed up that they were gonna cut his pay but fans went flew out to Vegas and paid for tickets and he contributed nothing to the event. Ultimately, he has no obligation to anyone but himself but I don’t think he should be paid for choosing not to fight. Making weight is pointless if there’s no fight.

          • Bill Wolf

            The UFC tried to save some money by offering the disappointed fighter a different opponent for half the money or less than half the money and no title to win.

            That was not the way to save the show. It should have been easy for the UFC to understand that the disappointed fighter would not be mentally ready to start a new round of negotiations, immediately pre-fight, for much less money.

            If the UFC’s top priority had been not disappointing the fans, rather than saving money at the expense of a surprised and disappointed fighter, they would have offered to stick to the money that had been agreed to, provided the fighter accepted a substitute opponent.

            I blame the UFC for thinking, here’s where we save money at the fighter’s expense, when they should have been thinking, we’ve budgeted to spend this money anyway; let’s use that money to save the show.

    • McGraw

      They were going to pay him less if he took a fight. Either way it turned out to be a lose-lose situation for Ferguson.

      • Bill Wolf

        It was lose / lose for Tony Ferguson, but he hadn’t done anything wrong.

        This sort of situation is why fighters need a union.

  • ernesto chavez

    As a UFC “employee” Mr. Ferguson complied with his obligations as a fighter: he prepared and spent lots of his money to pay these training expenses; he presented to the venue and made weight as contracted; he had no control over his opponent’s not making weight.

    In addition, the bully, Girly-man Mr. White publically stated that Ferguson would be paid his show money. I know, we can’t trust anything the Girly-man says but it’s still on the record.

    This is still another strong reason for a fighters union or association. Like ALL CORPORATIONS, the UFC is in the business of making as much money as possible. A corporation is NOT concerned about employee rights and or problems. We are all replaceable.

    You’d think that fighters would be more aware of the business world.

    • deltrone

      is the girly-man thing supposed to be insult or something….

  • Bill Wolf

    One word: union.

  • aFriendlyAgenda

    That Dana picture is funny, but everybody likes to blame these things on Dana
    He doesn’t own the UFC or control their pocket book

    That might have had a little bit more weight when his friends the Ferittas were trusting him to run a show that they were never personally interested in, but I suspect thats not the case under IMG