Jorge Masvidal reveals he made $5 million to save UFC 251 headliner vs. Kamaru Usman

Jorge Masvidal felt rewarded for stepping in on less than a week’s notice to fight Kamaru Usman.

Masvidal faced then-UFC welterweight champion Usman on just six days’ notice at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UFC 251 main event in Abu Dhabi. Masvidal replaced Gilbert Burns, who was forced out after catching COVID.

Considering that Masvidal said he made $16,000 for his Strikeforce lightweight title fight in 2011, making millions against Usman was fulfilling – even though he lost.

“We ended up selling right under 1.3 million pay-per-views,” Masvidal said in an interview with VladTV. “If I hadn’t struck that deal with the UFC, I wouldn’t have gotten nowhere near $5 million. I would have sold the same amount and gotten nowhere near $5 million. And I would have just felt like I got taken advantage of. So part of me, the business side of me, the prize fighter in me was very, very much satisfied and happy – for my kids, for myself, my family. But the guy that always wanted that world title belt wasn’t, you know?”

Masvidal was angling to be Usman’s original title challenger for UFC 251, but his increasing demands led to the promotion offering Burns the shot instead. But after Burns withdrew, Masvidal got the call and his financial demands were finally met.

“Give me more money, not on the guarantee, but on the pay-per-views that I bring in,” Masvidal said. “If I sell $100 million in pay-per-views, I want a much bigger share than what you guys are offering me. And it (negotiations) comes to a halt. We just don’t get to do that. So they go another route, and six days before the fight, the other route that they went with catches corona. And now the UFC calls me, and they need somebody that can fill in on six days’ notice.

“Fly across the world and cut 20 pounds of water in these six days and fight for a world title. There’s only one motherf*cker in the whole world that could get that call for the Bat Signal, and that’s this dude here. But I had to get paid, and I had to get paid very f*cking handsomely for doing this. So they gave in to all my demands that I had. And as far as that goes, I made out like a bandit because I got what I wanted.”

Masvidal got the opportunity to run things back with Usman less than a year later at UFC 261, but was knocked out in the second round.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie