Rockhold blames UFC sustaining pay model on all the yes man hanger ons in MMA

There were several other circumstances that contributed to Luke Rockhold’s decision to retire from the sport of MMA this past August. But having a long-term contract with the UFC contributed in some way to hanging up the gloves.

Rockhold has since secured his release from the UFC and has taken a short break. He then signed with BKFC and is set to return to action in a bare knuckle bout on Saturday.

Looking back, the 38-year-old veteran acknowledges that he had reasons other than his affiliation with the UFC for momentarily calling it a career. But at the time, his relationship with the UFC was undoubtedly a deciding factor as well.

Rockhold talked about the UFC recently in an interview. He said: “Being locked in with them, and what they were offering, and what was on the table, and having to work back through their ranks on their terms, I didn’t want to do that.”

“That’s not fun for me. I’ve already been there. I’ve been the UFC champion. I’ve been the Strikeforce champion. What’s f****** next? I want new goals. I want new challenges. You never know.”

“As long as my body’s going in the direction it’s going now, anything can happen. I could go back there as long as it was on my terms. But conquering another world right now is what I’m looking for.”

Once he became a free agent, Rockhold was able to seek out multiple suitors and make a decision based on what he wanted. He felt that the terms of his deals were much more aligned with what he had always wanted. He felt like he retained his power as an athlete instead of handing over his career to the UFC.

Rockhold added: “I was locked into a contract, many different contracts. It’s just one contract to the next, but there’s always long-term deals, and it’s not always the best energy, the best setting when you’re fighting [and] when you’re at odds with each other. You’re fighting on their terms and their paycheck.”

Rockhold is happy that there are so many alternative promotions where athletes can turn to find better opportunities. He praised former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou for sticking to his ideals in UFC negotiations when he asked for a shorter deal and various concessions for his contract. When the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, Ngannou made the decision to walk away and leave the UFC.

Rockhold stated: “I’m f****** stoked for Francis. Francis, he’s a real man with f****** balls and he can make a decision. There’s too many yes men in the world.”

“The UFC is where it is today because all those motherf****** are yes men, and they’re just playing their game so the UFC is going to keep playing their game and keep controlling the fighters.”

“If there wasn’t as many yes men, if there were more Francis Ngannous and Luke Rockholds and people that had a f****** pair of balls, we’d have an even f****** playing field, but there’s too many b****** in the world.”

Rockhold accepted an offer from BKFC that he claims was comparable to the largest payday he had received from the UFC. He is set to face Mike Perry in the BKFC 41 main event, a matchup that makes him want to compete once again. Rockhold believes that Perry has a level of entertainment but is also a f****** idiot. He is happy that he is back in the game and is looking forward to new challenges.