Tony Ferguson wants to be paid for UFC return, asks Dana White ‘why do you treat me like sh-t?’

Tony Ferguson wants the UFC to make things right with him financially before he returns to the octagon for his next fight.

Ferguson (25-4 MMA, 15-2 UFC), a former UFC interim lightweight champion, was preparing to fight on Saturday at UFC 254 against a number of possible opponents, but it never came to fruition.

“El Cucuy” hasn’t fought since his UFC 249 loss to Justin Gaethje in May and said his team couldn’t reach terms with UFC brass to get him back in the cage this weekend. Now the situation has seemingly hit a standstill.

“I’m not going to bull(expletive) anymore,” Ferguson told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “(UFC president) Dana (White) is cool. Me and Dana are chill. But when it comes down to it, I want to be paid what I’m worth, and my value has increased. I put out there a lot of energy. I don’t have to talk about it. I don’t have to talk about my contracts and say (expletive) about it, because everybody else does that. I’m past that. I’ve been in this organization for 10-plus years.”

Ferguson didn’t reveal exactly how far apart the two sides are on negotiations. He said it’s not a personal situation, but he appears willing to dig his heels in until a fair resolution is met.

“I’m not even asking anything,” Ferguson said. “Check that (expletive) out. Everybody is like, ‘Hey, you’re asking this, there’s problems here.’ There’s no (expletive) problems. Everybody tries to put words in my mouth. I have zero problems with anybody. I have zero (expletive). I’ll call Dana, bro, and I’ll be real. I’m the only guy that will call his voicemail. I’m not proud of that, but that’s where I’m at in my thinking and my thoughts.

“I said we weren’t friends. I never said we were friends, but we are in business and we are a club. Dana knows how clutch I am from ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I had that (expletive) tryout and I won. I’ve completely changed my (expletive) thought process. I’m not the same (expletive) fighter.”

The 36-year-old did have some strong words for UFC head honcho White, though. Multiple instances of contention in the fighter-promoter relationship have existed over the years, and there’s an argument to be made that Ferguson hasn’t gotten his fair shake at times.

In the lead-up to UFC 254, which sees Gaethje challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed 155-pound title in the main event, White has said that Ferguson needs a win before receiving a title opportunity. White said former Bellator champion Michael Chandler, who serves as an alternate for the UFC 254 title fight, could be a potential opponent.

That idea apparently doesn’t sit well with Ferguson, who evidently doesn’t see the matchup as logical.

“Chandler? Think about this: How many times are you going to put another (expletive) person in the (expletive) shuffle of the cards?” Ferguson asked. “Dana keeps shuffling me down the list. What? Because I’m (expletive) Mexican? What’s up Dana, you don’t like Mexicans? You don’t like brown people? I’m not going to call you a racist, but what the (expletive), man? What’d I do to you? Why do you treat me like (expletive)? My last name is Ferguson. I don’t want to get mad anymore. I don’t. I’m not going to. But that being said, I said my piece. I’m too busy working.

“I’ve got (my manager) Lloyd (Pierson of VaynerSports) and them to work on my contracts. If they don’t want to get me a fight, then (expletive) it, dude. I’m not going to (expletive) and moan. I’m going to keep working. People won’t buy their (expletive) pay-per-views, and then they’ll let their friends know. Then their friends are going to let somebody else know, because when you don’t have a good time somewhere, they’re going to tell three more people. It’s what I learned in the restaurant business. So listen. If you have a bad time somewhere, you’re going to (expletive) tell everybody.”

Ferguson made it clear he doesn’t think he’s the only one who has been disrespected by White. He said he’s seen it with previous generations and in the modern day, as well.

For Ferguson, though, he said he’s not letting his thoughts on White sour his mindset or ruin his feelings about the UFC organization as a whole.

“A lot of these younger fighters, they don’t respect the fact (that) Chuck (Liddell) and Tito (Ortiz) and all those older guys – those are like my big brothers and my big uncles – they got treated like (expletive), too,” Ferguson said. “My age group got treated like (expletive) by Dana, too. Dana’s like, I’m going to be real: I don’t think he’s very religious, but he’s going to make his decisions and he’s going to be him. But I know one thing, I know the company, they are clutch. And so am I.

“All of us as the fighters at the UFC, I’ve been here for a very long time and these are some of the hardest (expletive) working people. That work under pressure, the most clutch (people) and they get the (expletive) (expletive) done. I’ve witnessed it first (expletive) hand. I love it. I love to be a part of it. That’s why I say there’s no conflict in this (expletive). I hire people for that stuff. Seriously, man. I love this (expletive) game. It’s so awesome, dude.”

Ferguson reiterated that he intends to remain idle until his team reaches an agreement with the UFC. He said he’s in discussions for a Submission Underground grappling match with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre but didn’t offer a timeline for when that could happen.

As far as stepping into the octagon, though, the outcome of the Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje fight will shape the future of the weight class. Ferguson said his longtime rival Nurmagomedov is on the radar but expressed doubts about it happening after five cancellations.

“Khabib’s never going to fight me,” Ferguson said. “He’s never going to fight me. Three times in a row he didn’t want to fight me. They have a fight this weekend, and they’re both managed by the same (expletive) people.

“Some things you just can’t force. I’m going to be real. Things are just meant to happen. I’m going to kick Khabib’s ass one way or another. I’ll make his ass do his pushups either way. He’ll see me before the year is done. I don’t know how. I’ll make sure I Zoom his ass and say, ‘Hey, you son of a (expletive), I’m going to kick your ass.’ I’ll think of something.”

Ferguson has said he will fight anyone so long as he’s appropriately compensated for it. Only a pair of fights actually pique his interest, though, and those are the long overdue clash with Nurmagomedov or former UFC champ Conor McGregor.

“I have Khabib I could talk (expletive) to, and I have Conor,” Ferguson said. “These are two fights that interest me because they’re in my weight class, they’re very good talent-wise, and I think could beat them both. Pretty much. It would be dope to fight in a tournament with me, Conor, you got Khabib, you got Gaethje. One of those old-school UFC 1 kind of things. That’s what I’m saying.”

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