After he extended his UFC knockout record to 14 by finishing Marcos Rogério de Lima in 33 seconds at UFC 291, Derrick Lewis revealed he was a free agent.
“F—k, we’ll see,” Lewis stated when asked what was next for him after his win. “I’m a free agent now, so hopefully I can get another contract with the UFC. If not? F—k it, it is what it is.”
While that set up a brief window for fans to speculate that “The Black Beast” could have possibly challenged lineal MMA heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou (a man he beat by decision back at UFC 226 in 2018) in the PFL, it didn’t take long for Lewis to pour cold water all over those dreams.
Instead, Lewis quickly signed a new 8-fight deal that had our own Zane Simon asking if Lewis played himself by sticking with the UFC:
“As part of his monumental signing with the tournament-based promotion, Ngannou reportedly had it written into his contract that his opponents would be guaranteed a base pay of $2 million just for stepping into the cage against him.
“The only problem for Ngannou was, just who could the PFL find that was worth that kind of payday? What free agent heavyweights were on the market that could be a potential PPV draw as the company ventures into the land of marquee combat sports events? Derrick Lewis looked like he was in just the right place, at just the right time.”
Alas, if he was, Lewis chose not to seize the moment.
Derrick Lewis talks new contract
This week Derrick Lewis takes his first fight under his new contract against #9 ranked heavyweight Jailton Almeida.
Ahead of his UFC Sao Paulo main event, Lewis spoke to former Bloody Elbow writer Shakiel Mahjouri, where the topic turned to his new deal.
“I’m more motivated than ever,” Lewis said (transcript via MMA Junkie). “The UFC put their faith in me and gave me another contract. It’s a very lucrative contract and I appreciate them for that. It’s given me more confidence to put all my work in the gym and in the octagon to not make them regret their decision.
“I’m here for the long haul. It’s crazy that in 2017, I wanted to give all this up. I don’t even want to tell people how much I’m making now because I don’t want anyone to get jealous and get mad at the UFC for all they did for me, so I’m not even going to say.”
UFC star paydays revealed
A number of documents were recently unsealed in the UFC antitrust case, including Roger D. Blair’s re-filed expert report.
“Included in the appendix of this report was all of the payouts made by the UFC to fighters from 2011 to 2016. This “Internal Zuffa Bout Compensation” included not only the show and win bonuses and along with Performance bonuses disclosed to athletic commissions and the public, but also non disclosed payments like pay-per-view bonuses, side letters and discretionary bonuses — all the payments to a fighter related to their bout.
“Individual fighter names were not attached to each payout, but the report does include how many bouts that fighter has had in the UFC at that point, along with how many fighters received such a payout. That alone made it easy to identify many of the top earners from the UFC.”
The most surprising information revealed showed how little even the biggest UFC stars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey made for some of their biggest fights.
We sincerely hope Derrick Lewis signed himself a better deal.
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