Jorge Masvidal Agreed to Multifight Contract Ahead of UFC 251 vs. Kamaru Usman

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 16:  UFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal interacts with the media during the UFC 246 Ultimate Media Day at UFC APEX on January 16, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Chris Unger/Getty Images

Jorge Masvidal will fight Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title at UFC 251 on July 11 after being a last-minute fill-in for Gilbert Burns, but the deal required a multifight contract with UFC.

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."

Burns, the No. 1 contender in the 170-pound division, was forced to withdraw from the bout after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, according to Brent Brookhouse of CBS Sports.

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.

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Masvidal (35-13, 12-6 UFC) has repeatedly complained about pay for competitors, noting there isn't much choice involved during negotiations:

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.