UFC Fight Island 4: Germaine de Randamie Calls Fighting a “Hobby,” Not Paid Enough to Make a Living

The number one ranked bantamweight in the UFC considers fighting a hobby, in part because MMA doesn’t pay enough to cover the bills.

Former UFC featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie returns to the octagon this weekend at UFC Fight Island 4. It’s the first fight back for “The Iron Lady” since a failed title bid against Amanda Nunes last December, for bantamweight gold.

de Randamie (9-5) remains the number one ranked fighter in the 135lb weight class. But despite four of the UFC’s top six bantamweights being on the card, despite de Randamie having a chance to jump back into the title picture with a big statement, she’s treating her fight with Julianna Pena “like any other fight,” she told Cageside Press during the UFC Fight Island 4 media day this week.

“I’m here to make a statement for myself, I don’t care what they do. And you know, at the end of the day, it’s up to the UFC, they do whatever they want to do,” said Randamie, in regards to the bigger picture surrounding the women’s bantamweight division. “We can talk about rankings, but rankings don’t mean anything. I mean, with all due respect, I’m the number one ranked fighter in the world. And I’m not even the co-main event in this show.”

Rather than worry about title implications, de Randamie said simply that she just loves to fight. And she’s focused “on my fight solely and not on anybody else. And now, that’s the most important thing. I’m here to have fun. And that’s all I’m gonna do.” With that in mind, “The Iron Lady” would frankly prefer to be on the first fight of the night.

“If I could actually live from this, I would maybe do it. No, I don’t get paid enough to live from this honestly.” – Germaine de Randamie

It’s been ten months since we last saw Germaine de Randamie compete. A number of factors have kept her away. One was the UFC itself, she revealed. She’d asked to return sooner, apparently to no avail. Then the coronavirus pandemic exploded. de Randamie works as a police officer, and her attention was required elsewhere.

Training wasn’t either easy. “At moments it had been very challenging,” de Randamie admitted regarding hitting the gym during COVID. Of course, being a police officer, she also came into contact with parties who might have been exposed to, or carrying, the coronavirus. “I’ve been tested a lot, have been in quarantine sometimes to wait for the test results to come back or to wait for other people, their test results to come back,” she explained.

So why carry on as a police officer then, especially as the number one ranked fighter in the world? The reason is two-fold. One might surprise you.

“If I could actually live from this, I would maybe do it. No, I don’t get paid enough to live from this honestly,” de Randamie said. A stunning admission, given her ranking in the sport. And another indictment of the sorry state of fighter pay. “And second of all, there’s more in life than just fighting. I’m 36 years old, one day, my career will end and I have to have another career because the bills have to be paid. And I love what I do. I love helping people.”

“I believe honestly, that is a part of me being in this world. And that’s a part of of my life. I just love helping people,” de Randamie continued. “I will always continue to do that. There is a life after fighting. Before and after fighting. And I don’t mind my job. For me fighting honestly is truly a hobby. And I love giving back to the community. You know, for me, it’s very important people can live free and in safety. And if I can contribute just a tiny bit to that, I’m blessed. And I will continue to do my job.”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 02: Germaine De Randamie of the Netherlands poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in on October 02, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

She’ll return to her other job, hobby or not, Saturday, on the main card of UFC Fight Island 4 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The event airs on ESPN.

Watch the full UFC Fight Island 4 virtual media day scrum with Germaine de Randamie above.