Stipe Miocic’s issues with the UFC have been well-documented.
Three days out from his awaited heavyweight title fight with Daniel Cormier in the main event of Saturday night’s (July 7, 2018) UFC 226 from Las Vegas, the UFC heavyweight champion has long been at odds with his employers over his contract to the point that the midsummer mega-event will be the first time he’s actually satisfied with his pay.
Part of that has to do with money, but a big portion of his publicly-stated discontent also has to do with the fact he’s felt slighted by their handling of him on more than one occasion. With three title defenses, Miocic ranks as the most decorated heavyweight in UFC history, yet he hasn’t always felt like he was treated as such.
He detailed one such situation at a media lunch promoting UFC 226 earlier this week (via MMA Fighting), proclaiming that the UFC actually called him about meeting Cormier two days before he was scheduled to fight previously surging bulldozer Francis Ngannou in the main event of January’s UFC 220. When they did, Miocic told them what to do with the suggestion:
“I told them, ‘shut up,’” Miocic said. “I got more things to worry about.”
Indeed he did, and he stopped ‘The Predator’s’ hype train in its tracks by handing Ngannou his first UFC loss via dominant five-round decision. Still, the champion was baffled at how the UFC could ask him to focus on another top-ranked challenge when he was tasked with the hardest-punching heavyweight in MMA history only days later:
“It had nothing to do with Cormier,” Miocic said. “Dude, leave me alone — I’m fighting in two days. You’re talking about how I’m gonna get hit by the Ford Escort power and you’re gonna come at me with this?”
He toppled that mountain, however, and the UFC was once again knocking at his door to discuss the Cormier fight the Monday after UFC 220, this time with an opportunity to coach The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27 opposite the light heavyweight ruler. He let the first phone call that Monday ring, but talked with the UFC a day later to discuss business.
With his wife expecting their first child, he wasn’t thrilled about leaving to coach TUF, so he wanted to make sure everything was good with his spouse first and foremost:
“No, I didn’t want to do it,” Miocic said. “My wife is pregnant, I want to make sure it’s OK with her. She’s the boss. She’s carrying our child. I’m not carrying a child. She’s put a lot into it. I just wanted to make sure it was good with her, make sure it was OK for me to leave. Make sure it was right.”
Miocic closed by offering his hope that his wife didn’t go into labor during UFC 226, adding that it was difficult for him to consider that possibility while asking reporters present not to “jinx it”:
“I’m not gonna worry about it,” Miocic said. “My wife is a tough cookie. She’s the captain, as they say. She leads the ship. It’s gonna be hard for me. It’s gonna take a while for me to get over it, not being there. I’m doing it for my family, though. It’s not just I’m fighting. It’s also making sure things are taken care of.”