What Does The Future Hold For Roy Nelson?


Roy Nelson has had an up and down career, from winning TUF Heavyweights, to compiling a 1-3 record between 2010-12 for the UFC. Since 2012 ‘Big Country’ has compiled a 3-0 record, with all coming by first round T/KO. He has finished Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo on the bounce. So things must be looking up for Nelson, right?

Well, according to a report featured in the Las Vegas Sun, this may not be the case. Nelson’s contract is set to expire after UFC 161 and, according to Nelson, he is unsure of his future in the UFC. Dana White reportedly offered Nelson an extension to his current contract, which Nelson promptly turned down. This caused White to publicly slate Nelson, reffering to him as ‘a (expletive) genius’.

He’s on the last fight of his deal and we owe him a fight,” White said. “He’s not giving us any extensions.

Nelson responded in a manner suitable to his quirky personality: He printed hundreds of T-shirts with the slogan and began selling them on his website. The “smartest guy on Earth” T-shirts are nearly sold out, according to Nelson.

Now as much as I adore Roy Nelson (and I don’t), this seems like a pretty hostile attitude to take with your bosses. Especially seeing as the UFC are pretty keen to shed any dead weight at the minute. It would seem that Nelson’s grievence stems from his sense of under appreciation, basiclly, he thinks the pay sucks.

“You’re working for a business and you’re getting paid $30 an hour, but you’re working for them and you’re an electrician and they’re charging $150 an hour,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t quite make sense.”

“I just thought it was freaking humorous,” Nelson said. “It’s the best compliment Dana has ever said to me. We’ve got these fighter conduct rules about what we’re allowed to say, and I think the president and (CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta) represent the organization so they’re held to a higher standard, and it was the best compliment anyone could ever say.”

Jon Fitch will tell you rankings don’t matter if you ruffle the feathers of your bosses. If Nelson falls short against Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, it could be curtains for him as far as the UFC is concerned. Nelsons base pay of 24k to show and 24k to win may leave a lot to be desired, but a win against Miocic will do Nelson’s title aspirations some good. And title shots mean money.

With his contract negotiiations not going well, and the fact that he is a bit of a thorn in Dana’s side- could this be the end of the road for Nelson? That being said, anyone think Nelson has a point?

  • Nelson's pay seems in line with his talent (relative to other middle tier fighters like himself). If he plays ball he will continue to take beatings at the hands of his betters and give them to other top 50 guys. If he doesn't play ball he will move to a smaller promotion and be top 10… in that smaller promotion.

    • I don't think Nelson will ever have a chance at being champ, and Dana knows that. At the same time he's always exciting alot of fans like him and his fights are always 1 of the best on the card.He stepped in late for this fight to save a card from having little star power doing the UFC a favor. His whole career he's had those riffs with Dana but he still did alot when the company asked of him. I don't think he honestly deserves top money, but 24K to show and win seems a little low to me. 35K to show and 35K to win? plus as a co-main he gets small % of buys right? not to mention the sponsor money and he's been K.O'n people left and right so a K.O of the night once or twice a year and he'd be looking at some hefty yearly earnings.

      • No doubt. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve more money. Every fighter deserves more than they are getting. My point was that what he is getting is in line with what others at his level get paid and shouldn't be a sticking point when he really isn't in a strong bargaining position. He is not a top ten fighter and 24K for three months work isn't bad. I'd take that deal.

    • Ha!

  • Most fighters on the roster are getting peanuts.

    Whether people love Roy nelson or not is irrelevant He is a house hold name in the heavyweight division and deserves to be compensated as a top athlete.

    Roy nelson probably got offered a new contract with a $10,000 raise and went fuk that.

    All fighters should be entitled to an increased base pay plus a % of PPV on main card

    years ago when the Tv series friends was due for renegotiations, all the stars stood firmly and negotiated as a group rather than individually. They held the producers accountable for fair pay and they got it….earning millions an episode….But had they not done it as a group they would have continued to get screwed…

    end result….producers still became rich but so did the actors….

    Dana needs to share the wealth rather than be a greedy fuk…Its about time a union represented these fighters and held the UFC hostage to better pay and conditions.

  • The usual 'Blah Blah' between Dana White and his crew.

    IMO, Nelson has a lot of steam left in him. He is an exiting fighter and most definitely an asset to the UFC. Dana white is a business man to the core and I can guarantee he will not drop Nelson so soon.

    What future holds for nelson? Well, my view is that give him a top 10 guy like Overeem, or Bigfoot and, if he wins, give him a shot at the title. Alternatively, give him a crew cut and make him fight in the LHW division. I am sure there is more weight on his head than his belly.

  • 24k for a co-headliner, GTFO. What kind of check is that, the dude helps you bring in millions and you pay him less than 1% of your earnings.

    • its more like 0.1%

    • RPM

      I wonder any are you so surprised? Have you studied economics?

  • Food.

  • He is a big name in MMA and draws me to watch everytime with excitement so I find it insulting that he gets 24K.

  • Roy Nelson is never ever in a boring fight. He should be making something like 100k per fight for his performances at this point. The UFC is just ignorant.

  • His electrician comparison is clever wording to make a point but quite naive… The UFC takes the lions share as do all promotions but why? Because they market, produce and underwrite the whole event and the overall company.

    They employ huge behind the scenes teams to develop the international/ worldwide brand, recruit new talent, put together great fight cards and much more… all of that work has to be paid for before even factoring in the cost of logistics.

    I'm sure the top few are incredibly well rewarded for their jobs but I also appreciate that a huge amount of the margin is invested and reinvested in creating a UFC brand that has finally established an unrivaled pinnacle of MMA. And that's necessary if we want the world best competing in the same place. Aside from a handful of top MMA fighters we no longer have to imagine what fights could have been because they now happen 9 times out of 10.

    The real 'fighter pay' question is are the vast differences in wages justified? The measurement is surely on how big a draw they are…

    Nelson is on the first 3 fight win streak of his UFC career… He has fallen each time he has got close to a top 5 rank opportunity so far. (I hope he gets there soon). Fitch was under the same scrutiny for a different reason… He was winning fights but he wasn't a big draw…

    The proportion of pay is dependent on the value you add to selling the card… A Silva sells cards, Sonnen (win or lose) sells cards, BJ Penn sold cards… those types of fighters are the ones who generate the big gates and PPV numbers so those are they guys who demand the biggest cheques.

    When Nelson either fights or talks or a combination of both at the same level of some of those guys I'm sure he will reap the financial rewards as deserved.

    • He does. Big Country is an honest man in an honest body!
      he merits more than any steroid-no longer an athlete-muscleboy.

  • Unless he drops down to 205, Roy Nelson's future is Palookaville.