Sunday MMA Quick Hits: Khabib Wants Covington Blackballed, Paddy Makes Peanuts

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov at the Eagle FC 48 press conference. Photo: Courtesy of Eagle FC, download the FLXcast app and watch for free, available for Apple and Android.

What does a budding star make in the world’s leading MMA promotion? Should fighters be settling their differences in the street? That and more in this week’s edition of the Sunday MMA Quick Hits.

Crowd Riots at GLORY 80, leading to cancellation of main event

It’s not MMA, but it’s worth noting that the recent GLORY 80 show in Hasselt, Belgium had to be ended early when a riot broke out in the crowd.

Sporadic brawls, chairs being thrown, and other bad behaviour resulted in Badr Hari’s fight with Arkadiusz Wrzosek being ruled a No Contest, while the main event of Jamal Ben Saddik vs. Levi Rigters was cancelled outright.

Promotion officials later released the following statement:

For the past 10 years, GLORY has successfully been organizing safe, world-class events in dozens of cities and countries around the world. In preparation of and during the GLORY 80 event at the Trixxo Arena in Hasselt, Belgium, GLORY worked with the local authorities and took all steps necessary to ensure the on-site safety precautions and procedures.

Unfortunately, a group of individuals with bad intentions attended the event last night. They exhibited unsafe behavior during the event. With absolute regard to the safety of the audience and upon the request of the local authorities, GLORY stopped the event. It was the first time that such an incident has ever taken place at a GLORY event, and we would like to report that with today’s knowledge all event attendees are safe and no one was seriously injured. Safety of all participants and attendees has always and will always be GLORY’s utmost priority.

We are deeply saddened that these irresponsible actions have ruined everyone’s night: from fighters, to viewers, to the 7,000 fans, and GLORY staff and partners who participated into the sold-out Trixxo Arena which was supposed to be part of a special night. These individuals tried to tarnish the image of the sport that we and millions of fans around the world love and care about. This type of behavior has no place in our sport or at our events.

Over the next days, GLORY will be conducting a full investigation on this incident together with the local authorities. We will take all necessary measures and apply the strictest sanctions, including legal actions, to anyone who took part, directly or indirectly, in any misconduct.

Lastly, GLORY will communicate actions that will be implemented for GLORY’s pay-per-view customers by email next week.

Just How Much Does a Budding Star Make in the UFC?

For years, media and fans have banged the drum for the fighter pay issue in the UFC, while the promotion has steadfastly refused to address it head on. Instead, it has either ignored the subject, or issued ludicrous claims like Ari Emanuel on the latest Endeavor earnings call, where he stated that the average UFC salary was up “six hundred percent since 2005.”

Since Endeavor only purchased the UFC about a decade later, that’s not really something the company can claim as a win, nor does it take into account that the starting salary in the UFC has barely budged in recent years. You can make more in the fast food industry than what some rookie UFC fighters make.

So what does a budding star in the UFC make? Over the weekend, Paddy Pimblett stole the show at UFC London in just his second UFC fight. Pimblett was already selling out arenas with Cage Warriors in the UK when he signed with the UFC — but in his second UFC fight, Pimblett confirmed he made just 12/12. That’s $12,000 to show, and another $12,000 to win. Had he lost, he’d have made just $12,000 total, and from that, you can subtract gym fees, taxes, and other expenses.

In Pimblett’s case, he shed light on the situation when he replied to an inaccurate claim that he’d made over $100,000 for the bout, confirming the correct number in an interview with Barstool Sports. He did pick up a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus, which brings his total to $74,000 for the fight. And added on top of that there is outfitting pay, which is another $4,000. So $78,000 total, but performance bonuses are not guaranteed. For one of the most popular fighters on the card.

Let’s look at this another way: fight twice in the UFC as a new fighter, and lose both bouts, and you’ll make $22,000 in show money (10/10 first fight, 12/12 second fight). Outfitting pay for the first three fights in the promotion is $4,000 per fight, so you can add another $8,000 for that 0-2 fighter — $30,000 should you go 0-2 in your first two UFC fights. In comparison, the minimum wage in the Canadian Football League is $54,000 (for international players) or $65,000 (for North American players) — even adjusted to U.S. dollars, that 54K is about $43,000 at the moment. For a league with nowhere near the profile of the UFC.

Is big money possible? Yes. But as with so many other industries, if your starting wage is that low, are you really attracting the best talent out there? There’s a reason why Gable Steveson saw the WWE as a better option than the UFC.

Gable Steveson Leaves Door Open for Fighting

Speaking of Olympic wrestler Steveson, while he’s currently working his way towards becoming a WWE “Superstar,” he hasn’t closed the door on MMA entirely.

Speaking on The MMA Hour recently, the gold medal winner tackled the MMA question. “There’s a chance for a lot of things. There’s a chance I do step into the MMA ring. I like to challenge myself in all aspects and the Brock [Lesnar] route is what I plan to take right now,” Steveson said.

Well, unless he fights for RIZIN, it won’t be a ring, but you get the idea. Lesnar, an NCAA wrestling champ, first went the WWE route, before transitioning to MMA, becoming UFC heavyweight champion, then moving back to pro wrestling. Whether Steveson has Brock’s “it” factor remains to be seen however.

Iron Mike Stays Cool Under Pressure

There’s grace under fire, then there’s Mike Tyson barely blinking when a man pulls a gun in front of him. That was the scene this past week when an unnamed individual began brandishing a weapon at a comedy club where Tyson was taking in a show.

Tyson actually hugs it out with the gunman, possibly preventing a much more dire outcome. The incident took place on Tuesday in Hollywood, California, per TMZ, who posted footage of what transpired.

Tyson last competed in November 2020 in a draw against Roy Jones Jr., a fight that many had Tyson winning. While a return to the ring was mulled, of late, he appears ready to stay retired.

Khabib Says UFC Fighters Should Blackball Colby Covington

Khabib Nurmagomedov has weighed in on the Jorge Masvidal-Colby Covington situation. And he thinks UFC welterweights should, in essence, blackball the fighter.

Masvidal was arrested early last week after allegedly sucker-punching Covington outside a Miami restaurant. Charges were filed, with Covington apparently suffering a cracked tooth and a damaged designer watch.

Taking to social media to share his thoughts, the retired UFC lightweight champ wrote that “You were attacked by professional fighter, the same as you are, your own size, and you go press charges against him to the police? I think all welterweights should refuse to fight Colby, just don’t accept fights with him, let him sit without a fight, it will probably significantly affect him and all fighters who even think of insulting families, who is provoking the fighters to look for someone in restaurants to deal with him.”

Masvidal accused Covington of bringing his kids into the promotion of UFC 272 when “Chaos” called his rival a “deadbeat dad.” Covington would go on to win a lopsided unanimous decision over “Gamebred,” who admittedly could not handle the former interim champ’s wrestling. After the fight, Covington declared himself “King of Miami,” something that did not sit well with Masvidal.

As for Nurmagomedov, he had his own brush with the law after sparking a near-riot following UFC 229, when he chose to jump out of the octagon and attack Conor McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis. Nurmagomedov later said he chose Danis mainly because McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh was too old.

Someone needs to remind these guys that fighting should stay inside the cage.

Masvidal has a court date set for next month.