"UFC and I didn't come to terms," Poirier told Helwani. "I will not be fighting on Oct. 24."
"I just need to be compensated if they want this fight," Poirier added. "Simple as that. I'm a prize fighter and the prize needs to be right."
Poirier is the No. 2 contender for the lightweight belt, which is held by the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov. Ferguson is No. 3.
The Poirier-Ferguson matchup was slated as the co-main event for UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, alongside a lightweight title unification bout between Khabib and interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje.
Ferguson, 36, is 25-4 with 12 knockouts and eight submissions. The former interim lightweight titleholder most recently lost his belt to Gaethje in a fifth-round TKO at UFC 249 last May. Before that bout, Ferguson had won 12 straight matches.
Poirier, 31, is 26-6 with one no-contest. He has won five of his last six matches, with his last victory a unanimous decision over Dan Hooker in June. Poirier fought for the UFC lightweight belt in Sept. 2019 but lost to Khabib via third-round submission.
Ferguson and Poirier had verbally agreed to the fight, but nothing was official as both men had not signed.
A fight between two top-three contenders in any weight class is noteworthy enough, but this fight carried extra stipulations, per Helwani:
"In addition to it being a big fight, sources say extra stakes were attached to it as the UFC had discussed a scenario where if Gaethje withdrew from the main event Ferguson would have replaced him versus Nurmegomedov. However, if Nurmagomedov pulled out, Poirier would have replaced him versus Gaethje. The stipulation made sense considering Nurmagomedov-Ferguson is a fight the UFC has tried to book five times before to no avail, and Poirier has a win over Gaethje."
That presumably won't happen unless Poirier and the UFC can somehow agree. However, that Poirier is planning to leave training camp in South Florida to return home to Lafayette, Louisiana, is a worrying sign.
Ferguson and his camp did not provide comment to Helwani when asked.