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Comparing the fight game to 'mafia', UFC star Luke Rockhold explains why he diverted focus to modeling instead

Luke Rockhold lashed out at Dana White for underpaying UFC fighters.
Luke Rockhold lashed out at Dana White for underpaying UFC fighters.
Tarun Bhatt
Modified 31 Mar 2021

Luke Rockhold rounded on Dana White and the UFC recently for pursuing mafia-esque tactics against fighters. The former middleweight champion accused White of tyrannically underpaying fighters who aren't aware of their actual worth.

In a recent appearance on Rippin' It Podcast, Luke Rockhold claimed that he ventured into modeling after Dana White tried to strong-arm him. Rockhold immediately landed deals with big brands such as Ralph Lauren, and refused to cave to the UFC president's underpaying contract.

"Fighting is like a mafia," said Luke Rockhold. "There is very mafia [like] tactics in negotiations, they just try to f**k with you. And, I'm not having any of it. If you don't know your worth, someone will tell you your worth and it will be less than your worth. So know your worth and leverage it."

Luke Rockhold also stated that Dana White tried to nag him into signing a contract that offered much less compensation than what the former champion was worth. Rockhold, who came off a defeat to Michael Bisping at UFC 199, leveraged his modeling career to bring his fighting occupation to a halt.

"So, once I lost the title, Dana White came up to me and tried to beat down mentally and I was like, 'Fu*k you!', straight up. I'm gonna do my own thing if you try to offer me this bullsh*t. You know who I am, you know what I did. And that was the only reason I went out and got the modeling contract so I could leverage myself."

Luke Rockhold suggests a governing body for the UFC

Going to the extent of calling his former boss a tyrant, Luke Rockhold added that the UFC needs a governing body that can administer fighter payouts. Rockhold revealed that there have been talks with WME regarding the issue but no further progress has been made yet.

"We don't have a governing body, that's another problem too. And we have an egotistical kind of a guy that is a bit of a tyrant... I don't know why you're trying to belittle all the fighters when you've not fought a day in your life. That's why we need a governing body to really give the people what they deserve... there have always been talks until we got quieted by WME and William Morris. The political power that they have and everything else, I don't think it's go anywhere for a little while," said Luke Rockhold.
Published 31 Mar 2021, 14:26 IST
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