Former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was critical of the UFC and the way they treat their fighters.
Rockhold spoke with MMA Junkie Radio recently to talk about his return to the Octagon at UFC 268 on November 6 against Sean Strickland and brought up why he doesn't agree with the narrative the promotion has tried to paint when it comes to fighter pay. Specifically citing the way the UFC created an interim title for their heavyweight division, despite current champion Francis Ngannou being perfectly healthy.
“Guys like (UFC heavyweight champion) Francis Ngannou are getting shelved for asking for his worth, and they’re creating interim titles, which is all bullsh*t,” said Rockhold. “I mean, this is the type of sh*t you have to deal with. I’m not always here for it. I’m not gonna be here for it. I’m gonna speak my mind exactly how I want, to say what I say, what I feel. Like it or not, f*ck, I’m here. I’m gonna respect myself publicly. I’m not gonna disrespect myself, which is what a lot of people do, which is the common narrative with the UFC and what Dana White has created – to shut down fighters and criticize champions. The narrative that they’ve created is for the fans to want to hate on fighters, and it’s just bullsh*t. You’ve got to go out there, respect yourself, and get paid. This is the f*cking fight game. We’re the fighters, we’re the entertainment, and we deserve our worth.”
Rockhold hasn't competed since July 2019 where he was knocked out in the second round by current UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239. His bout against Strickland will also be Rockhold's first time competing at 185 pounds since February 2018, where he lost via a third-round knockout to Yoel Romero at UFC 221.