If you’re an MMA fan in Ireland (to be exact, Northern Ireland), the UFC has you covered in 2016. The promotion is making their return to the Emerald Isle with a trip to Belfast on November 19th. The card is set to be headlined by a bout between SBG Ireland’s Gunnar Nelson and Dong Hyun Kim. And while Gunnar is something of an adopted son, the card will likely feature a lot of other home talent.
One of those fighters that fans may have been expecting (no not Conor McGregor) is talented Irish lightweight Joe Duffy. That seems like it was the UFC’s plan too, but there’s a hitch.
Duffy, who is coming off a 25-second starching of Mitch Clarke back in July, told The 42 that he doesn’t feel the UFC is putting much value in him as a fighter. And he’s not all that interested in the fight they lined up for him come November.
“Of course I’d be very disappointed to miss the Belfast card but I just feel that the fight I was offered didn’t make sense,” said Duffy, who was born in Donegal and is currently based at the Tristar camp in Montreal. “There was no real upside to the fight for me. With it being the last fight on my contract, I feel there’s no benefit for me in taking it.
“This is the fight game and at this level every fight I take has to mean something to me in more ways than one. I’m training hard and I feel great. I’ve never been more focused than I am right now so I guess it’s just a matter of waiting for the right fight for me.
Duffy did say that he is still interested and ready to fight on the Belfast card, if he and the UFC can come to an agreement. But, his dissatisfaction isn’t just about matchmaking. The Tristar talent revealed that he’s also having trouble getting a new contract hammered out with the promotion, and may end up a free agent as a result.
“No, I’m not close at all [to signing a new deal]. I have been offered a new contract to sign but I don’t feel like I’m valued. The negotiation seems to be a case of take it or leave it,” Duffy explained.
“I’m not asking for a massive increase, just what I believe I’m worth as a professional mixed martial artist. It’s definitely looking like I will be testing free agency, but not by choice.”
Of course, we’ve just seen another UFC fighter make some very vocal remarks about his unhappiness with his contract and his unwillingness to fight on it, only to see the problem apparently solved and a new fight quickly booked. But that was former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. To date, Duffy is unlikely to hold that kind of clout with the promotion and may instead find himself with a prolonged seat on the sidelines.
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