Heading into UFC 162 Chris Weidman knows he has an uphill battle. Not only does Weidman face perhaps the best fighter to ever compete in MMA, but he's doing so with a rather inexpensive contract for the UFC.
Now viewed as a contender, nobody would blame Weidman for renegotiating his deal. It happens all the time in team sports when young prospects outplay their rookie deals or seek a raise. Speaking to MMA Junkie, Weidman is banking (literally) on a victory at UFC 162.
I think we're just going to keep the contract," Weidman said. I'm definitely OK with making what I was making. I think I was making $24,000 (to show) and $24,000 (as a win bonus). I want to do that because then after I beat Anderson like I plan on doing, then obviously the contract will jump up more than if I was to rip up the contract now. I'm ready to put all my eggs in one basket and put my money where my mouth is.
It's a bold but dangerous move for Weidman. The 28-year-old fighter sports only nine professional MMA bouts and is stepping into the cage against Anderson Silva, a man who's made mincemeat of opponents since gracing the Octagon.
If fans wanted a reason to cheer for Weidman at UFC 162, this is it. The entire sports world has become driven by the almighty dollar rather than the spirit of competition. Just look at how many guys have career years when in the last year of their contract only to drop off after getting their payday for evidence.
MMA is a sport that was founded upon competition and the desire to see who is the best. Yet, the sport has moved away from the spirit of competition, and now fighters are more concerned with their "brand" than going out and facing the toughest guy possible.
Weidman's stance is refreshing in that the time is now for Weidman to take the "safe money" given how everything has fallen in place for the Serra-Longo fighter. Losses by a handful of top contenders combined with some impressive victories have shot the prospect up the rankings much faster than your typical fighter with only nine bouts.
He has every right to ask for a bump in pay raise given how quickly Weidman has gone from prospect to contender, and especially since he'll be headlining a pay-per-view. Nobody could knock the guy for trying to make money given how quickly a fighter's fortune changes in MMA.
There's a ton of money to be lost for Weidman if he can't pull off the victory at UFC 162, but at the very least, fans should praise him for taking a stand for competition rather than financial gain. It's nice to see someone trying to earn "Anderson Silva money" inside the Octagon rather than negotiating for it outside it.