Jose Aldo recently declared to the media that he was fed up with the UFC and wanted to be released from his contract. A few short days later, it appears he is going public with sensitive company information to try and turn up the heat after UFC president Dana White said the company would not release him.
Aldo’s demand for a release came after the UFC changed directions on him on several occasions, the most recent being when it allowed Conor McGregor to retain his featherweight title, while booking him for his third consecutive fight outside of the division since wining it.
White said that, even if he defeats Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November and wins the lightweight title, McGregor will have to give up one belt or the other. Aldo isn’t buying.
“Conor himself said before that he wouldn’t give his belt away by any chance and nobody would take it away from him,” Aldo said in comments translated by MMAFighting.com’s Guilherme Cruz. “After all this, I see I can’t trust any word from president Dana White, and who’s in charge of the promotion now is Conor McGregor. Since I’m not here to be an employee of McGregor, today I ask to cancel my contract with the UFC.”
Even though White, upon hearing of Aldo’s dissatisfaction, said he would call the interim champion and make things right, Aldo appeared to want nothing further to do with him or the UFC. Aldo’s coach and manager, Andre Pederneiras, even went so far as to tell Brazilian outlet Combate that Aldo would pursue the matter in court and wasn’t adverse to publicly “talking trash” about the company in the media.
“I think Dana and the new owners have to understand that there’s a completely unsatisfied employee who doesn’t want to continue,” Pederneiras told Combate (translated by Cruz). “If that was in Brazil and a guy said ‘boss, I want to leave,’ I’d say ‘Okay, I can’t hold you.’ The contract we have in the UFC, ‘boss, I want to leave,’ the answer is, ‘no, you’ll be stuck with me, you might not do anything, but you can’t leave here.’ Is that something nice?
“I think it creates dissatisfaction, and he will want to go to court. He would have to go to court to cut this contract. And the damage a dissatisfied person, someone like Aldo, talking (expletive) to everyone about a lot of things, I think the company wouldn’t want a guy like this every day in the media talking trash.”
Case in point could be Aldo’s follow-up with Combate, in which he reportedly told them about the alleged dealings between the UFC, Georges St-Pierre, and McGregor. According to a report by Forbes.com, Aldo said that St-Pierre wanted $10 million to fight McGregor in his return to the Octagon. The UFC allegedly declined.
St-Pierre hasn’t fought in nearly three years, but has been teasing a comeback, even going so far as to enter the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool, which makes him eligible to fight by UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto. He has said the only thing holding him back has been bickering over the details of his contract with the UFC.
Aldo’s claim, although unsubstantiated, doesn’t appear to be out of the ball park for such a blockbuster bout. After all, McGregor is claiming that he will make in the neighborhood of $40 million this year. That amount is also unsubstantiated.
There are certainly many details left out of Aldo’s $10 million revelation: whether or not that was the guaranteed purse, whether or not it included pay-per-view bonuses, did it include compensation for the change in sponsorship structure since St-Pierre last fought?
Regardless, the UFC isn’t likely to be pleased over Aldo airing such details in the media. The company is notoriously protective of its financial information and contract negotiations.
Could it be that this is precisely the “media trash talk” that Pederneiras was referring to? Might we expect more revelations from Aldo if his dissatisfaction with the UFC continues to escalate?