A disgruntled former middleweight champion took to the microphone in Salt Lake City to air a list of complaints about the way things work in the UFC today. Rockhold hit on everything from fighter pay to fight night bonus structure and more. One key point that stuck with UFC president Dana White was his perception of fighter treatment.
“These guys don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re letting Dana just run the show and put the sport down,” Rockhold told reporters, including MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day. “They need to grow up. This whole f*cking thing needs to grow together. Our lives are on the f*cking line. Health care must be taken care of. Our f*cking health needs to be taken care of. Mine is not taken care of.”
White heard Rockhold’s comments, and he took exception to his claim. In addition, the UFC boss explained that the promotion was working on long-term health care for its fighters when their days of competing inside the octagon were over.
“That’s something we’ve been working on since day one,” White said TSN. “While they fight here, these guys are very well taken care of, and so is Luke Rockhold.”
The former champion has dealt with a number of health issues throughout his career. Before UFC 199, Rockhold admitted that he had been training with a torn MCL. He went on to compete anyway and lost to Michael Bisping. After the fight, his knee got worse and received a stem cell procedureultimately leading to a UFC Fight Night 101 main event fight cancellation against Ronaldo Souza.
Rockhold would make it to the cage to face Yoel Romero for the vacant interim middleweight title in early 2018. However, a few months later, “nightmare” injury to his surgically repaired leg happened, forcing him to pull out of his UFC 230 bout against Chris Weidman.
Rockhold’s attempt to return to action in 2021 was cut short when he was forced out of the UFC 268 bout against Sean Stickland. due to herniated discs L4 and L5 in his back. According to White, during all his problems, he didn’t have to worry about his health care.
“Luke Rockhold was above and beyond taken care of with the things he had here,” White said. “I don’t give a damn what kind of health insurance plan you have, they would never have covered the things we covered for Luke Rockhold when he went through his stuff. Everything he said was absolute f*cking gibberish and absolute rubbish.”
Although White is unable to provide a timeline for accomplishing the goal of providing long-term health care, he maintains that it is something that has been a focal point for the campaign since he became president 21 years ago.
“Everyone who fights here gets incredible treatment,” White said. “Unbelievable health care. I mean, we don’t even stitch people up with regular doctors. If it’s bad enough, we send them to plastic surgeons to be stitched up.”
Rockhold returns to action at UFC 278 to face Paulo Costa in the co-main event at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
For more on the card, visit the MMA Junkie event for UFC 278.