Rockhold: Usman and Adesanya should’ve stood by Ngannou on fighter pay issue

Because of his own issues, Luke Rockhold has suddenly turned into an advocate for “proper” fighter compensation. The former middleweight champion recently put the UFC and Dana White on blast for creating a “bullshit narrative” to “shut down fighters” and “criticize champions.”

Rockhold’s favored example to use for his argument has been reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who had also voiced out his grievances on the matter. On Monday’s episode of the MMA Hour, Rockhold came with the same dialogue.

But this time, UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman were included in the conversation.

“If they’re gonna do that to Francis and no one else, none of his two brothers are gonna get behind him and sack up and be the man they should have been when he got shelved? He got two Nigerian brothers (that are) champions that should’ve just stood by him, and maybe that could change the landscape. But that’s about it,” Rockhold told Ariel Helwani.

“That was the only thing that I saw that would actually could’ve leveled the playing field and change things for the better. It’s that when you f—k with Francis, and you got this Three Amigos Nigerian brotherhood… if those two would’ve stood up, they could’ve f—ked. They could’ve f—ked deep and hard.”

For Rockhold, getting to successfully push for a collective bargaining agreement with the UFC is far from happening. And he’s blaming his fellow fighters for not having “enough cojones” to take action.

“No one has enough balls. No one has enough cojones. That’s the problem,” he said. “There’s a very few people that have the f—ng balls, but to get the right amount of people together, to do that thing, that will never happen. Not in any foreseeable future.

“They (UFC) give out enough to make everyone come back for more. And then someone sparks up a conversation, and they get shelved. Until they run out of money and they want to come back and they have to do what they have to do and they have to take the paycheck they have to take. This is the game we play.”

When asked if he had the courage to make a move, this was Rockhold’s response.

“I’ll do whatever I want. I think I’ve spoken my mind enough to… I’m gonna say exactly what I feel and how I feel. Fighting is fighting.

“I’m under contract, and I just want to fight. And I want a chance to get back my gold and finish this bitch in my own terms. That’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Rockhold will attempt to erase a two-fight losing streak after a two-year layoff when he takes on Sean Strickland at UFC 268 in November.