Ben Saunders kicked off his third run in the UFC at UFC Fight Night 103, where he defeated Court McGee by decision. Saunders, who has won four of his last five under the UFC banner, says that he had financial issues ahead of his UFC return.
“I don’t like talking about my personal life and my personal business, but realistically, it’s been a year since I’ve fought,” Saunders said to MMA Junkie. “This is what I do for a living, and that’s a long, long time to (not) make some money. Yeah, I fought Volkmann, and yeah, I won in 17 seconds. But that wasn’t a lot of money by any means. In fact, it was just possibly paying the bills off from the six to eight months that I didn’t have a job, and then I went into this fight in debt.”
Despite his pending financial crisis, Saunders did make sure he had the best training camp possible heading into the event.
“I did everything I could to make a camp and be prepared and be in as best shape as possible,” he said. “With this money and this win bonus, that’s only going to allow me to get bigger and better training camp possibilities and have more focus on that and less stress. Unless you’re a fighter, you don’t understand the stresses (we) go through. The holidays were here, and I wasn’t able to really enjoy anything. The focus had to be on the business at hand, and that was the fight. As much as I love my friends and my family and all that, Christmas and New Year’s was mediocre at best.”
Saunders, outside of the UFC, also spent a lot of time competing in Bellator MMA, where he made it to the finals of a welterweight tournament before losing to Douglas Lima.