Tyron Woodley claims UFC is racist because his earnings rivaled Cowboy Cerrone’s despite being a champion

Tyron Woodley is not happy that the UFC paid him the same as Donald Cerrone.

During his tenure from 2016 to 2019, former UFC welterweight champion Woodley successfully defended the belt four times. However, he finally departed from the UFC in March 2021 after four consecutive losses.

Woodley said that he wanted to leave the UFC years earlier due to financial compensation. He claimed to have earned $500,000 from his last championship match with Kamaru Usman.

In a recent interview on the ‘MIGHTYcast’ with Demetrious Johnson, Woodley bared his frustration.

He said: “I was going to leave the UFC after (fighting) Darren Till. I told them, ‘F*cking cut me, dog. Ya’ll don’t want me here. Why ya’ll keep holding on to me, dog?’ We (kept) fighting and sh*t every fight because you know how I was. I was a gorilla. … I knew the numbers so well. I knew what everybody was making. I’m not finna go out there and be making the same as ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.”

“That motherf*cker ain’t never touched gold in his life. That’s just a principle thing. Sometimes when you’re an African-American in this game, they think you should just be appreciative. I’m not just appreciative. I’m thankful that you gave me an opportunity, but you didn’t give me the gifts. God gave me the gifts. I’m thankful to him.”

Woodley’s grievances extend beyond his personal earnings. He revealed that he also argued over the compensation of Johnson, the former longstanding flyweight champion. Johnson recently disclosed that he was never granted pay-per-view points and that it required three straight championship defenses for him to get a champion’s contract with the UFC.

Woodley stated: “I argued with them (UFC) over you a couple times. It ain’t have sh*t to do with me, but I was like, nah. I was talking numbers. I’m like, when you go to basketball, it don’t matter if Steph Curry throwing a Monster can at somebody’s dome or bust a window out. He can pull a three. He’s going to get paid top dollar.”

“You got DJ who got (11) titles, but you going to pay ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone the same as him? Cowboy was making ($350,000). He never touched gold ever. So, your reason behind him making $350,000 per fight is that he never complains, he takes any fight that you offer him, he’ll even fight injured, he’ll even fight last-minute notice. That don’t work for me.”

Tyron Woodley’s narrative unveils a deeper issue within the UFC, a call for recognition, equity, and acknowledgment of the unique challenges faced by combatants. Perhaps it’s time to reassess compensation structures, ensuring that competitors are duly rewarded for their dedication, skills, and the risks they undertake within the octagon.