Jose Aldo Demands Release From UFC, Threatens To Retire From MMA
Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has lost his faith in the company after word came out that, rather than defending the featherweight title he won nearly one year ago, current champion Conor McGregor would fight lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. As a result, Aldo is demanding his immediate release from UFC, or he threatens to retire from MMA altogether. lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, and Jose Aldo has had enough.
Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 to become the interim featherweight champion, with the hopes of finally receiving his long-awaited rematch with McGregor after losing the title to him in a disappointing 13-second knockout last December. UFC president Dana White even suggested to the press that he would force McGregor to defend his featherweight title for his next fight. But plans have apparently changed, and Aldo couldn’t be angrier.
In an interview with Brazilian website Combate, Aldo detailed UFC’s decision not to give him his rematch, instead offering him a different fight at UFC 205 (H/T to MMAFighting.com for the transcription):
“I heard about everything that happened through my coach,” Aldo said. “He had spoken with [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby Saturday and Sean still had no answer about anything, and asked if I could fight on November 12. My coach said that if it would be Conor, yes, and then Sean asked him if I would fight Max Holloway or Anthony Pettis. ‘Dede’ [Pederneiras] said that for those who I’d rather do a full camp and it could be on December 10. We waited until Dana publicly said that he wanted this fight with McGregor to happen. And then we expected it to happen: I’d get my rematch to unify the featherweight belts, or I’d have my belt back and fight Holloway or Pettis, since Dana [White] said all the time that Conor couldn’t keep both belts. But, to my surprise, I heard last night about the fight between McGregor and Eddie Alvarez, which was also denied by Dana last week. And to make it worse, he would keep the featherweight belt, and possibly having two belts at the same time.”
Essentially, Aldo has no faith in White to actually deliver on his promises anymore.
“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. “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. When they offered me a fight with Frankie Edgar, Dana said that the winner would challenge McGregor or win the linear title, that he would lose his belt if he didn’t return to the featherweight division after his rematch with Nate Diaz. After being fooled so many times, I don’t feel motivated to fight in the UFC anymore.”
Aldo also doesn’t believe that McGregor would be forced to vacate the featherweight belt if he won Alvarez’s lightweight belt on November 12, despite what White claims.
“I don’t believe in Dana saying that Conor would have to vacate one of the belts after UFC 205 because, based on what we’re seeing, this type of decision is not in his hands anymore, Conor makes the calls now,” Aldo said. “And the biggest proof that who’s in charge in the UFC now is Conor is that when I wanted to move up to fight Pettis, they said I’d have to vacate my belt and try this fight with no title whatsoever. But with him, they let him move up to the division above without losing his belt, and also let him do any fight he wants. I understand that he sells a lot, but it gets to a limit when it’s no longer a sport, it becomes a circus. I don’t want any type of fight with the UFC. The only thing I want is to go on with my life, and they will go on with theirs.”
Following the UFC 205 presser, Aldo upped the ante and declared he would retire if he was not granted his release.
“If [White] likes me and my family, I just hope he released me. I don’t want a fight. I want to leave as I came in. The UFC and WEC didn’t give me anything. Everything I conquered was my merit and from my team. Nobody gave me anything. I conquered everything. And I gave them a lot more than they gave me back. I just want them to release me from my contract. I’m not a whore to sell myself [for money]. I don’t even want to fight MMA. I want to follow a career in another sport. That’s what I want.”
Honestly, I can’t blame Aldo for being angry, but I don’t know if this is something to end your career over. Then again, Aldo is probably set for life, so he might not have the patience to keep playing these political games. It’s similar to Mark Hunt demanding his release earlier this year after news broke that Brock Lesnar had been under the influence of performance-enhancing substances during their fight at UFC 200, marking the third time Hunt has had to fight an opponent who was later discovered to have been doped up. UFC needs to get its house in order or they’ll risk losing stars they really don’t have to lose. Sure, McGregor vs. Alvarez is going to do a big number, but I see no reason why a McGregor vs. Aldo rematch couldn’t be a similarly hyped fight. UFC 205 is going to do well with a McGregor fight, no matter what. I can only imagine the company is worried McGregor could lose his title, and then they wouldn’t be able to hype this fight as a champion vs. champion match. But this is all theorizing at this point. The point is that UFC doesn’t have to lose Aldo, but their choices are making it such that his release seems inevitable now. And that’s a shame, because Aldo is a great fighter.
But what do you think of Aldo’s demands? Sound off in the comments!
And for more UFC news, check out the full card for UFC 205!