UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno has had one of the wildest two years in the sport. In 24 months, he’s won the flyweight belt, lost it, won the interim belt, then unified it when he won the undisputed title back again. Of those four fights, three of them were against the same man, Deiveson Figueiredo. In total, the two met four times in the last two-and-a-half years.
Moreno is set to defend his belt again next weekend against Alexandre Pantoja, a man he lost to back in 2018, so the media machine has been fired up and is running full steam ahead. Imagine my surprise when I came across a recent video clip of our 29-year-old Lego-loving champion discussing how he’s interested in taking a stab at boxing. Maybe I stretched the truth there a little when I said, “imagine my surprise,” because honestly, are any of us surprised that UFC fighters are constantly on the lookout for more money-making opportunities?
Brandon Moreno wants to box, what else is new?
In a sit-down with fellow UFC star Bo Nickal for gambling site Betr, Moreno talked about how he wanted to try boxing and that his coach thinks he’d do well.
“I have this desire inside of me. Like, I want to try to do some boxing in the future. My coach says I can do something nice and I believe in him. Obviously, if they knock me out in the first round in my first boxing match, I would say something like, ‘Okay, I tried at least.’”
It’s just a 19-second clip, but in that brief span of time, Moreno said a mouthful. Sure, this could absolutely be about personal challenges and whatnot, but I tend to think it has more to do with the almighty dollar. The UFC has been raking in staggering amounts of revenue and profit, yet the fighters’ share continues to plummet. It’s gone from around 20% down to 17.5%, and with this year’s latest filings, new figures indicate fighters are only receiving around a 13% cut of the revenue.
All champion purses are not the same
Adding to the dismal state of fighter pay is the cold, hard truth that flyweight champions just don’t make as much as other division champs. Moreno’s last reported purse was at UFC 270 where he made $200K entering the fight as the champion. By comparison, Francis Ngannou headlined that card and his payout was $600K. It’s a tired tale that many have shouted from the rooftops about, but sadly, nobody at the UFC appears to be listening, and it certainly doesn’t appear like they care.
And for those thinking that maybe we shouldn’t read too much into this, Brandon is on record as saying, “I’m just trying to fight, win some money, and buy toys for me and my daughters” to Ariel Helwani just a couple days ago. The desire for more money is there. He’s not the first to want to make the crossover and he won’t be the last. The UFC isn’t in the business of securing a future for its fighters after their “use by” date has expired. No one should be surprised here.
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