chimaev-dismisses-fighter-pay-complaints:-‘just-fight,-the-money’s-coming’

Khamzat Chimaev is a rising star in the UFC, and he’s making the kind of money many other fighters would love to make. In his mind, that’s because he trusts in the UFC to take care of him, and they haven’t disappointed him yet.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Chimaev criticized fighters that were complaining about fighter pay. He specifically singled out UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who is looking to leave the promotion in early 2023 when his contract expires.

“If Dana calls me, ‘Let’s do these things,’ I do it,” Chimaev said. “I appreciate it, what Dana and UFC did for me, you know? A lot of guys talking about ‘UFC don’t give us good money’ and those things. Go back, and where they’ve been, one, two, three years ago? They don’t remember that, you know? I was homeless almost, you know? Lot of guys as well.”

“And big guy, what his name? [Francis] Ngannou,” he added. “He talking about they don’t give him good money and all these things. And he was speaking about living outside before. Why don’t he do it right now? He has to appreciate everything that’s happened with him. He has to fight, fight, the money coming.”

Francis Ngannou made a lot of headlines when he revealed he was made just $600,000 for his heavyweight title defense against Ciryl Gane, which was the last on his contract. That doesn’t tell the full story, though. The UFC has been trying to re-sign Ngannou and pay him more for over two years, but “The Predator” refuses to sign a ‘lowball’ contract that strips him of all power in his career. That means he’s been competing on a contract from January 2018 with the same locked in pay for five years.

Ngannou probably could have negotiated a new contract that would be making him $2 to $4 million per fight as a champion. But he’s decided to wait out the old one, which is about to sunset and make him a free agent. It’s expected that he’ll be able to make $10 to $30 million off boxing superfights … although few believe he’ll actually win against Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, or any other prominent boxing heavyweight.

Chimaev is in the honeymoon stage of his relationship with the UFC and has thus far only enjoyed the positives of being one of the promotion’s big names. Ngannou has gone through a gauntlet of poor treatment familiar to many other UFC fighters. Examples: White calling Ngannou’s ego ‘out of control,’ the UFC benching “The Predator” and only fighting him once a year, creating an unnecessary interim title because Ngannou couldn’t fight a month earlier than hoped.

As with Nate Diaz, the UFC talks a big game about wanting to re-sign Ngannou, but all their actual behavior towards him certainly doesn’t make re-signing an appealing choice. The heavyweight has a long list of complaints and they’re all pretty valid. We’ll see what Khamzat Chimaev is saying once he’s spent seven years with the UFC like Ngannou has.