MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Nijem Speaks About UFC Cut

ramsey_nijem.0Former TUF runner-up Ramsey Nijem was one of many fighters the UFC released recently in their effort to purge a bloated roster. In an interview with MMA Junkie, Nijem stated that he believes his release had less to do with his performances than his unwillingness to agree to put his name next to some of the recent changes the promotion has undergone. While Nijem did lose a split decision in his last fight, most felt he won the bout and it was a poor decision from the judges. Nijem’s first point of contention was pay. Since the Reebok deal has started and sponsorship money subsequently dried up, Nijem claimed he was making the equivalent of a minimum-wage salary. He asked for more money, and when the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, he was allegedly told that his career would be made very difficult if he didn’t accept the UFC’s offer. Nijem is hardly the first fighter to speak out about money issues, as many have expressed displeasure with both the Reebok deal and the general state of compensation in MMA. Other fighters like Phil Davis and Josh Thomson have jumped to Bellator recently after seeing their contracts expire or being released. Prior to that, we saw veterans such as Jon Fitch, Jake Shields, and Yushin Okami make their way over to WSOF. There are organizations out there willing to pay fighters, but it’s unlikely Nijem would command more than he did with the UFC, meaning he would have to rely on sponsors to make the difference for him financially. He also claimed that he was unwilling to sign the new agreement the UFC has in place with USADA. Nijem’s reasoning was that he wasn’t being paid enough to have people keeping tabs on him 24/7 (or perhaps 25/8 in Corey Anderson’s case). The ban on IV’s the UFC has put in place would also force him to move up a weight class. That may be a sign that he should move up a weight class anyways, but fighters have the right to choose what weight they want to fight at. This is hardly the first time a fighter has held out on signing a new contract due to a desire to make more money or fight elsewhere, and it is unlikely to be the last, but it is interesting to hear fighters speaking out more about issues that were formerly dealt with extremely quietly. Ramsey Nijem doesn’t have the stature as a fighter to change the way the UFC operates. However, if the right fighter were to take a similar stance in regards to re-signing a new contract the issue would get a lot more publicity and it would be interesting to see the UFC’s reaction.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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