Ilir Latifi may have not won hearts or praises for his performance at UFC Vegas 61 but his post-fight speech sure left a Mark. The Swedish national went a gruelling 15 minutes with Aleksei Oleinik and managed to come out victorious via a unanimous decision. For his performance, Latifi believed he deserved a bonus, however, he did not ask the UFC for money but instead from Mark Zuckerberg.
As many are well aware, Zuckerberg was present at the UFC Apex over the weekend when he allegedly rented out the entire event so as to have a private viewing of the fight night. Everyone from fans to the media to even fighters’ families was left hanging so as to make room for the META CEO and his friends.
After his fight, Latifi, who struggled to get booked all through the year made the best with the air time he received after his win. He first congratulated his opponent for an amazing career and then went on to hint at his own retirement since he was 40 years of age and that the returns from MMA not being adequate to meet his needs.
He then made a controversial call out to Zuckerberg to provide him with some bonus money. “I want that bonus tonight, and Mark, I know Mark from Facebook is here, you can throw in a bonus too you know! Help us out! “
This part was cut by the UFC when they uploaded Latifi’s octagon interview to the company’s YouTube channel.
Ilir Latifi becomes the latest fighter unhappy with UFC Pay
Latifi who fights out of All Stars Gym in Sweden is not by any means the first fighter to ask for money out in public. Many have had to rely on crowdsourcing platforms to get through fight camps and hopefully come out with a win in order to manage the remaining expenses.
More recently the UFC had been under immense criticism as the sport goes more mainstream and the casual audience has been figuring out the dismal amount of money they make for the risk they take and the entertainment they provide.
A key conversation among these lines has been the latest kit sponsorship by the UFC, a collaboration with Project Rock, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s shoe brand. The brand is now the official footwear partner of the UFC however fighters are not entitled to any pay from this deal. Moreover, they are expected to provide interviews with the company through fight week.