Khabib Offers to Pay Ferguson $200,000 to Fight Him Telling Him to Shut Up and Fight
By: Oliver Dollimore
Undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has had a rough go when it comes to big opportunities. “The Eagle” sits at no. 1 in the 155-pound division, but he yet to compete for the title.
Khabib Nurmagomedov offered No. 2-ranked Tony Ferguson $200,000 to fight him. The bout, which has been rumored to in the works, hasn’t come to fruition just yet due to Ferguson being in contract disputes with the promotion, although it is a fight that makes quite a bit of sense.
Tony Ferguson has made it abundantly clear that money is an issue standing in the way of a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov.Specifically, the fact Nurmagomedov is being paid more than Ferguson.
Nurmagomedov, for his part, wants to get this highly anticipated No. 1 contender’s fight signed and delivered. So much so that he’s willing to pay in order to make the bout happen at UFC 209 on March 4.
Nurmagomedov (24-0, 8-0 UFC) originally wanted a fight with new lightweight champion Conor McGregor, but since McGregor is on the shelf for a while, Ferguson was the next best choice in his eyes. Meanwhile, Ferguson (22-3, 12-1 UFC) believed that a win over Rafael dos Anjos was going to get him a title a shot. That never materialized either due to McGregor’s layoff and other factors.
While it’s highly unusual for a fighter to offer to pay another fighter to compete against him, Khabib is apparently just doing whatever he can to secure a high-profile bout. Hopefully the UFC can figure the issue out and get these two in the cage together to see who the true number one contender is at 155 pounds.
Nurmagomedov spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to explain the current situation from his perspective:
“This is impossible [speaking about Ferguson wanting equal pay], (the) UFC never does this. Because I’m different, he’s different. He talks about (a) nine (fight) win streak, but I’m talking about (a) 24 (fight) win streak. Eight years (I’ve been) undefeated. Michael Johnson beat him, I beat Michael Johnson. He fought Rafael dos Anjos (in a) close fight. I dominated Rafael dos Anjos. When he fought with Danny Castillo, you guys can watch this fight, he lost for sure. Why does he want to make money like this? He needs to shut up and take this fight.”
As far as the contract dispute goes, Ferguson himself said on today’s edition of The MMA Hour that he isn’t sure why he isn’t being paid as he’d like to be by the UFC. “El Cucuy” has said that he’d like to be compensated in the same way that “The Eagle” is and he added in that there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be:
“I’m not sure, man. You ask them. Ask them why they’re not paying me, and maybe we’ll get some answers,” Ferguson said. “I haven’t had the opportunities that they have (given Nurmagomedov), as far as, over the past five fights, I’ve only been on one pay-per-view. All the rest have been on FOX Sports 1 cards, which limits my mainstream exposure. Khabib has been on three pay-per-views and two UFC on FOXs, which draws much larger audiences than FOX Sports 1 cards.”
“Despite this, there’s nothing that suggests that Khabib draws any larger than me. I haven’t been given the same opportunities or the same push as Khabib. I don’t belong to AKA or a big major sport’s program. I choose to do different things on my own and I’m building my own legacy, my own facilities, but that’s later on. That’s a completely different subject. So, as far as compensation goes, like I said, the UFC has been known to change it (for a particular fight) over their history, and I’m just looking for them to get this thing going, man. Let’s go. Let’s go, UFC.”
Fighter pay has long been a debated topic and Ferguson feels as if Nurmagomedov’s offer illuminates the problems within the system. As for right now, however, the surging contender encourages fans to get ‘anxious’ about the potential bout:
“But for right now, I’m enjoying my time. The fans, you guys need to get anxious, man. Let’s get some chatter going. Let’s get the UFC involved with this. If you’ve got Khabib willing to sacrifice his life and give me $200,000 of his own money, something’s wrong with that sh*t. I’m not going to take that guy’s money. He’s got a family too. So do I, and he’s got bills to pay. So I’m not going after Khabib’s. All I want is my stuff right and to be compensated for what my numbers prove to be, so let’s go kids.”
Ferguson has made a name for himself by winning an incredible nine straight as well as most recently beating former champion Rafael dos Anjos. Would you like to see him take on Nurmagomedov next?