Despite reports in the past few days that UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic could be returning to action this fall, it looks like the Ohio champ could be sitting for a while. That’s per a new report by MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, who cited Miocic’s management as stating that there have been no talks in regards to his next title defense. On top of that, Miocic is not about to discuss another fight until contract issues are sorted out.
The contract issues in question? In Miocic’s first two title defenses (his only two to date), his opponent has earned more than him on each occasion. Those two fights came against Alistair Overeem at UFC 203 and Junior dos Santos at UFC 211. Overeem, for his part, took home $800,000 U.S. for a first round loss to the champ at UFC 203 in September. For winning that same fight, Miocic earned $600,000, per the Ohio Athletic Commission (via MMA Junkie). UFC 211 was hosted in Dallas, Texas, and the state of Texas does not disclose fighter pay, but it’s easy to imagine a similar situation.
In any case, this contract kerfuffle puts talk of a potential fight with Cain Velasquez on hold, at least for now. That fight was further complicated by Velasquez’s injured shoulder, which is still healing after surgery this year.
Miocic (17–2) won the title in May 2016 at UFC 198, shocking local fans in Brazil by knocking out Fabricio Werdum in the first round of their main event fight. This dispute makes him yet another UFC athlete unhappy about fighter pay in the promotion. Numerous fighters have been vocal about the issue over the years, which has driven some to the competition.