When Luke Rockhold accused Usman and Adesanya of abandoning Ngannou

Luke Rockhold is prepping for long awaited return against Paulo Costa at UFC 278. All through the media week Rockhold has been highlighting various issues surrounding athlete compensation model in the UFC in addition to shaming UFC ‘journalist’ plants from NELK and how they disrespect athletes.

This isn’t the first time Rockhold was outspoken against UFC pay model.

Rockhold blasted Usman and Adesanya back in January for failing to back the third African champion – Francis Ngannou.

“If they’re going to do that to Francis and then no one else [speaks up], his two brothers aren’t going to get behind him and sack up and be the men they should’ve been when he got shelved — you’ve got two Nigerian brothers, they’re champions, they should’ve just stood by him and been men, and maybe that could change the landscape,”

Rockhold told Ariel Helwani.

“But that’s about it. I saw an opportunity there. That’s when I saw an opportunity. Other than that, you need 25 [big-name] guys. Twenty-five guys aren’t coming together. Maybe more, I don’t know, maybe less. Maybe give or take. That sh*t ain’t going to happen.”


“That was the only thing that I saw that actually could’ve leveled the playing field and changed things for the better,” he added. “When you f—k with Francis and you’ve got this three amigos Nigerian brotherhood, if those two would’ve stood up, they could’ve f—ked. They could’ve f—ked deep and hard. But the two didn’t step up.”


Of course, Luke being Luke, mistakenly thought Francis was Nigerian – he is from Cameroon.

Nevertheless, Rockhold highlighted an interesting conflict and one of the rare and only alliances in UFC history that could make a difference.

In reality Adesanya had signed a lucrative contract earlier this year and is estimated to be among the top 3 stars in UFC and as such is unlikely to bite the hand that feeds him.

Meanwhile Kamaru Usman is represented by Ali Abdelaziz who represents a huge part of UFC’s roster and as such is one of the key players in curtailing any Union type ides. Abdelaziz himself was quoted dismissing athlete pay criticism saying:

“if we’re gonna start smashing the promoter, don’t sign with them. Why you sign with them? Become a free agent, go on, and go start a business or find someone else to make you money.”