The 35-year-old explained the situation in an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani (5:21 mark):
"You know how it is," he said. "You want to get paid, you have to sign a 10-fight contract every time."
As Marc Raimondi of ESPN noted, negotiations fell apart when UFC initially tried to get Usman and Masvidal in the Octagon last month. Masvidal told Helwani they offered him a "s--t deal."
"I can understand you don't want to give me that much on the guaranteed [money]," he said. "But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money on that, and they weren't budging. And that was that. So, all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses."
The third-ranked welterweight contender, Masvidal was able to fill in on short notice, getting the opportunity compete for a belt while also taking on a hated opponent in Usman.
"I'm happy more than anything because I get to break this guy's face and get paid for it," he said.
Masvidal (35-13, 12-6 UFC) has repeatedly complained about pay for competitors, noting there isn't much choice involved during negotiations:
Jorge Masvidal UFC @GamebredFighter
I already explained why I signed a new deal. It’s either take it or leave it and not get paid. I would’ve signed another deal if it was done in good faith. He called me night before he wants to announce and tell me take or it leave it. That’s not negotiating that’s strong arming
Masvidal also had to wait a long time to get his title shot, totaling the third-most UFC fights in history before participating in a championship bout, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The Miami native signed a new deal in order to participate in the upcoming fight in Abu Dhabi, but he is now once again locked into a long-term contract.