Tony Ferguson believes the media could do a better job of not only promoting him, but other athletes in the promotion as well.
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Ferguson returns to action this weekend at UFC 256 when he takes on Charles Oliveira in a lightweight encounter. It will notably be his first outing since seeing his 12-fight winning streak snapped against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 following a fifth-round TKO defeat in their interim title fight in May.
“El Cucuy” was originally set to battle Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title until the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to those plans. Instead, he chose to fight Gaethje on short notice and risk his title shot in what was the first sporting event during the early lockdown period.
Ferguson was proud to have brought sports back during a tough time worldwide, but fast forward seven months and he is now set to compete in another bout that will not be for the undisputed title.
He feels he has done more than enough to get a title shot by now and as far as he is concerned, the media haven’t spoken up for him enough.
“Where’s my title shot? Where’s all my stuff that’s supposed to be ‘owed’ to me? Nothing’s owed to you. You got to earn it,” Ferguson told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. “And I keep my earning my way to victory every single time. But nobody speaks up. You guys don’t speak up because you guys are getting paid by Conor [McGregor]. You guys are getting paid by Proper Twelve and all that other bullshit.
“You guys got that fucking facade over your face. You guys don’t want to speak up for me and be like, ‘yo, give Tony the fucking title shot.’ You guys got umpteen amount of time to talk to Dana [White] but you guys aren’t speaking up for me. You guys are watching me get fucked over left and right by my old management companies. Nobody’s saying shit right but yet here I am saving the fucking day [at UFC 249] and making sure everyone’s got entertainment in the world and then taking heat afterwards saying, ‘why didn’t you win?'”
When asked to clarify later on, Ferguson said it’s not so much that he wants the media to lobby for him to get a title shot — he just wants them to stop focusing on one name in particular so much.
“I would just say stop kissing so much ass,” Ferguson explained. “Saying Conor’s name. I’m going to be real — the guy hasn’t competed in how long? You’re saying there’s not a household name [in these cards] because the name that’s in your guys’ mouth [is Conor]. You guys aren’t putting the other names out there. You’re not giving a chance for these other athletes like myself or Charles Oliveira. You guys are putting in people like [Michael] Chandler who did what for the UFC? Now he’s got a top three position. Get the fuck out of here.
“That’s on you guys to speak up. Because while I was getting fucked around by my previous management, Dana even said the same thing — why the fuck did nobody speak up? Speak up before it’s too late for y’all. So I can’t tell you exactly what the fuck to say because that’s on you guys and pardon my language. But at least speak what’s in your heart and not what you’re being told. Everybody’s too afraid of doing that.”
It would certainly be hard to deny Ferguson a title shot if he comes away with a win this weekend. But based on recent history, it unfortunately wouldn’t be a surprise either if he got passed over.
Combat sports fan who loves a good body shot.