Less than a week after Rory MacDonald, one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC welterweight division, opted to sign with Bellator rather than renew his deal with the UFC due to not feeling that he was being paid what he was worth, a former champion has also suggested that he could look elsewhere if things don't change.
Luke Rockhold's appearance on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this week has suggested that the biggest names in the sport are being tempted by offers from many different areas, so if the UFC money does not match up, why would they continue to put their bodies on the line the way they currently do?
While the likes of Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz (as a result of his rivalry with McGreor) will have no complaints over their last paychecks, Luke Rockhold losing his title to Michael Bisping will have a direct impact on his salary for his next fights, but rather than flirt with a rival organisation, the former middleweight champ suggested that he makes enough money from modelling to never have to fight again.
That, of course, will not happen just yet, as Rockhold has his eyes set firmly on regaining his title, but his comments were interesting and represent a problem for the UFC going forward.
I'm a fighter at heart, but I'm here to get paid.
It's about making the right move next, and making it worth my while. I'm not going to just go out there and put my body on the line when I can go out paid in this world [modelling], so if they make it worth my while, I'd love to come back. This is what I love to do, I love to fight.
Rockhold is a ridiculously handsome man, but the platform that he has earned through his rise in the UFC has made him even more marketable as the sport continues to break into the mainstream, best seen by all the fuss over his reported relationship with pop star Demi Lovato which was featured on TMZ, Hollywood Life, The Daily Mail, and even ESPN.
UFC fighters are now becoming mainstream superstars, something that has never really happened in MMA before the emergence of Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, but if they don't up the pay scale to compete with the other avenues that are being offered, how can they expect to keep their biggest stars?
Rockhold was speaking to the great Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, and you can watch this week's episode in full below.