Back in June, former title challenger Paulo Costa refused to take a supposed headliner fight against Jared Cannonier. “Borrachinha” was particularly upset about how he’s monetarily compensated and demanded to be paid as a “main event fighter.”
The 30-year-old Brazilian caused another stir last month when he failed to make the 185-pound limit for his headliner against Marvin Vettori. As a result, the pairing was rescheduled to take place at light heavyweight just a few days before fight night.
For veteran observers like José Aldo, such actions show a “lack of respect” towards the opponent, the promotion, and everyone involved. In a recent episode of MMAFighting.com’s Portuguese podcast Trocação Franca, the former long-time featherweight champion voiced his disappointment towards the situation, including Costa.
“‘Dede’ [coach Andre Pederneiras] always told us that losing and winning is part of the fight, but our obligation was to make weight,” Aldo explained. “If you don’t make weight, it’s a lack of respect towards your opponent, the promotion, and the fans that are waiting for that.
“That’s how I was raised, that’s what made me the athlete I am today. To me, it was disrespectful. Even if he’s Brazilian – it could be a friend of mine or anything like that – if you ask me, I’d still say the same thing.
“The opponent goes through like two or three months preparing for a fight in one weight [class], goes on a diet, gets to fight week and starts hearing rumblings that this guy won’t make weight or whatever and starts losing focus.
“You begin to think not only about your weight but if the actual fight is going to happen, if the guy will make weight, if he’s going up or going down.
Even if fines were increased for weight misses, Aldo says he still feels missing weight is a problem that causes unneeded distress for everyone in the buildup to fight night. And speaking of cash, the 35-year-old bantamweight also put Costa on blast for his money demands.
“If I were the promoter, I’d be very pissed,” Aldo said. “There’s no way you come talk to me tomorrow and ask for a pay raise if you can’t even fulfill your contract, right? I see that a lot these days.
“I see young fighters in the UFC that sometimes don’t fulfill what’s in their deals. If you sign an eight-fight contract making X [amount of money], man, you’ll make X during those eight fights, you can’t, after three fights… Or fight for the belt, get a title shot, and then you can say, ‘I deserve to make more because I’m doing this, this and this,’ and show the numbers.
“If you can’t [make weight], if it’s tough, move up a division. I say this for myself. How many times I got real bad, Dede thinking about calling the doctor to [cancel] the fight and I said no, I always had to make weight and honor what I said. I would make weight no matter how.
“I got there dragged or carried, it doesn’t matter, but I made weight. I never left the UFC wondering whether or not I would make weight. With all the work, the exhaustion I had to make featherweight, I always went there and did it. I never lacked respect to my opponent, to fans, or anyone else.”
Aldo will try to extend his two-fight win streak when he takes on Rob Font at UFC Vegas 44 on December 4th.