Combined martial arts is a harsh and unforgiving sport that may take a heavy toll on the athletes. By the top of their careers, fighters usually depart the game closely wounded. Though absorbing mass quantities of punishment for years on finish, these fighters are grossly underpaid, even struggling to make ends meet when payments come a-knocking.

One man with a number of experiences of putting up with these hardships is UFC veteran Grey Maynard (13-7-1-1), who for over a decade clawed tooth and nail to the higher echelon of the game, however to no avail. In an unique interview with The Physique Lock, he described his time spent on the roster whereas discussing subjects resembling fighter pay and the famed trilogy with Frankie Edgar.

Since its inception in 1993, the UFC has remained the premier vacation spot for all issues MMA, and the worldwide money-making machine is pushed on holding it that method. Regardless of making it to the massive leagues and sporting the extremely sought Final Combating Championship gloves, changing into a secure member isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Maynard was a key element within the promotion’s light-weight and featherweight divisions for a lot of years, proudly going to struggle with a few of sports activities finest on the time. After failing to string collectively any constant success alongside along with his basic unhappiness with the corporate, he requested a launch from his contract in December of final yr and is at the moment a free agent.

He detailed the years main as much as his subsequent launch and why not being a member of the UFC is a optimistic factor.

Dana, he locked me into an eight-fight contract again in 2014,” Maynard mentioned. “There was no place to go at the moment, no place to sort of discount with. Bellator didn’t have Coker because the president, he wasn’t in cost.

“Bjorn Rebney was sort of iffy, I heard unhealthy opinions however there actually wasn’t wherever to go and that was just about my complete profession. The UFC purchased out all people, you already know, so there was no actual negotiating to be executed with them.”

After sealing himself into an hermetic contract a few years earlier than his departure, Maynard anticipated to run by means of his remaining fights with a view to escape the agency grip of the UFC. Nonetheless, as he put it, life obtained in the best way because it so usually does.

I believed I might rattle them off fairly fast,” Maynard defined.

“However you already know, life occurs, you’ve obtained youngsters and a complete bunch of various stuff. My spouse was at school doing her masters diploma and I didn’t actually have an opportunity to get it executed as fast as I might’ve. The final struggle in opposition to Nik Lentz, that was truthfully the worst time, I simply needed to get one other one executed.”

After incomes a well-deserved win over Teruto Ishihara in 2017, he was paired with fellow veteran Nik Lentz at UFC 229 in what would mark his first light-weight bout in over two years. The occasion itself was the highest-grossing pay-per-view within the sport’s historical past, subsequently the platform given to every competitor was immense.

Maynard defined the collection of occasions that led to him accepting a struggle with Lentz regardless of his bodily well being being sub-par.

Me and my spouse [came] down with these bizarre signs the place we have been slurring our phrases, at all times sleeping and many others, like Max Holloway had,” Maynard mentioned. “If it was simply me I might’ve been scared incase it was from a concussion, like oh shit, my brains all tousled as I couldn’t discuss. As a result of it was her too I’m like oh shit we each have one thing bizarre, and it was the very same stuff Holloway had, proper about that point too.”

In any case we each obtained higher, three days after it occurred once more even worse. I couldn’t maintain onto stuff and was dropping glasses and I used to be slurring phrases, it was loopy. I went to the hospital to do blood exams and my liver was by means of the roof; your AST and ALT would in all probability be 0-40, mine was 1600. So it was a virus going by means of it. They nonetheless couldn’t give me any solutions so I known as up a health care provider I knew and he’s identical to ‘it’s your liver we all know that, go house and get mattress relaxation.’

“I used to be in bedrest for a couple of month and that put me into August, finish of July or August. I’m going by means of my head like dude, I’ve obtained to rush up and get this contract executed as a result of it’s taking ceaselessly, I signed it in 2014. So I simply known as up Sean Shelby on bedrest and was like hey, give me a struggle.

“I went up in opposition to Nik Lentz and had a six-week camp, if that. It was simply extra about getting out of the contract. In the end I did get out of it as a result of he known as me up and was like ‘I don’t need you to struggle no extra,’ so I mentioned, ‘simply launch me then.’ And he did.”

Since his launch from the group “The Bully” has maintained a low profile. Even whereas sitting on the mellow age of 41, he revealed to The Physique Lock that his intentions are to return to the cage, if the value is true.

“I’m not retired. Possibly I’ve one struggle left, perhaps I’ve three fights left, however I would like it executed proper.”

Shameful payslips

Rivalries are a standard sight on this planet of sport and are as outdated as time itself. The animosity between each other, whether or not it’s private, aggressive or each, spurs loads of discuss amongst followers.

When discussing a few of MMA’s biggest rivalries, many are fast to favor the likes of McGregor/Diaz or Jones/Cormier as a result of mainstream success of each athletes concerned, nonetheless for extra hardcore followers, quite a few different names spring to thoughts. In undoubtedly probably the greatest rivalries of the final decade, harmful lightweights Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard traded blows for greater than 11 gruelling rounds, stealing the present on two events.

On January 1, 2011, reigning light-weight champion Frankie Edgar was set to defend his crown in opposition to undefeated contender Grey Maynard, who defeated the champion lower than three years prior. For the champion, it was about vengeance, however for Maynard, way more was at stake: the promotion’s 155-pound title, to be exact.

Within the first spherical of their January 1 rematch, the challenger fully shut out the champion, knocking him down a large number of occasions and leaving him visibly surprised. No different light-weight on the time might eat the kind of punishment Maynard dished out in these first 5 minutes, aside from Edgar.

Edgar amazed each spectator in attendance as he not solely recovered inside the one-minute relaxation between rounds however battled again to win the upcoming spherical. After 25 minutes of sheer brutality and coronary heart, the bout was dominated a cut up draw to the dismay of each contributors and their groups. Recounting that historic night time, Maynard elaborated on Edgar as an opponent and why getting ready appropriately for his fashion was essential.

“I knew he was going to point out up, be in form, able to go,” Maynard mentioned.

“He by no means put plenty of discuss or drama into it, he was the kind of man that’s not gonna kill you — he didn’t have the heaviest punches or the quickest, however he was at all times there. Each second of each spherical.”

You must get the appropriate sparring and get new guys in as a result of plenty of occasions you’ll spar two rounds, and your companion will begin to lose his steam or cardio — you’ve obtained to get a brand new man in there as that’s not what Edgar does. He doesn’t lose steam, he builds it. You simply have to organize cardio sensible. I knew going into it he had a few holes, putting sensible, and he has plenty of tendencies to do stuff however he doesn’t have plenty of huge holes in his sport.”

When scoring his first championship encounter with Edgar, the primary spherical is distinctly a 10-Eight in favor of Maynard. Albeit in keeping with the person himself, he believes it ought to’ve been famous as a 10-7 by all judges due to his clear destruction of the champ. Not solely does he have a problem with the scoring that night time, however the sport’s adopted 10-point should scoring system, the place 10 factors have to be awarded to at least one contestant every spherical.

The issue I’ve with MMA is the 10 level should system,” Maynard mentioned.

“I’ve by no means actually seen a 10-7 spherical, so why do now we have it? Should you watch boxing the scoring applies to that, however the scoring doesn’t apply to MMA. If I’m a decide, that spherical one [between me and Edgar] is a 10-7. Should you watch Pacquiao vs. Marquez, he knocked down in spherical one two or 3 times and it was like a 10-6 or 10-7, and he got here all the best way again and had a draw with Pacquiao as a result of he gained these rounds. Now I perceive that however why give me a 10-Eight when that was a foul spherical? I don’t perceive the scoring.”

For his aforementioned 2011 rematch with Edgar, which headlined the promotion’s 125th PPV occasion, Grey Maynard was solely assured $26,000.

“Getting as much as the title dude, I might be within the gap nearly all the time,” Maynard mentioned. “Paying my coaches, paying for the most effective coaching, after which it simply will get outdated the place you’re like fuck man, there’s simply no getting forward with this sport. There’s no payoff on the finish.”

“I stroll to the cage with a pay-per-view principal occasion assured $26,000. If I might’ve misplaced that struggle and needed to pay $26,000 I might’ve needed to pay to be in that struggle. There’s plenty of loopy shit. That’s why I actually really feel like when you get an enormous title sticking up for the fellows within the sport its gonna be a game-changer.”

The UFC obtained purchased for 4.5 billion {dollars}, not due to the way it nice it’s or no matter, it’s as a result of there aren’t any guidelines. They might get a man to struggle for $100 on a pay-per-view, they will get away with that.”

Combined martial arts is extra than simply two warriors displaying the artwork of combating, there’s a enterprise aspect that followers don’t get to see. Enterprise might be ugly, and this description correlates completely with how the UFC offers with its personal.

“Individuals don’t know how ruthless this sport is business-wise. I imply individuals don’t know. We’re sort of like strippers – we get tipped out and we get a shitty pay,” laughed Maynard.

That was sort of the way it labored. We had a foul contract, however that we might get somewhat bit of cash afterwards and it was like what is that this, a tip? You possibly can’t assure us this money? It occurs all internationally its not simply right here. Promoters simply get that energy and all the fellows simply flip into numbers, they always suppose ‘how can we take advantage of off him.’

It’s the wild wild west man, the wild west. We don’t know the numbers and all people’s simply attempting to get what they will get on a small portion and never trying on the huge image.” 

 “I would like you to retire”

Grey Maynard was awarded a contract with the UFC in 2007 after a reasonably profitable stint on the hit actuality TV Present, The Final Fighter. All through the collection, followers noticed him struggle a mixed 3 times up till his eventual defeat to future foe Nate Diaz within the semi-final spherical, who would go on to be topped event winner.

The considered skilled combating and actuality TV being thrown into one cocktail is an odd one, however, it has proved to be ‘must-watch’ tv.

There was a few individuals on the present who wished to get digicam time and do all that stuff, and I felt prefer it got here out on-screen that that’s what they have been there for. Whereas the fellows that wished to win it and compete have been there for an extended time,” Maynard defined. 

It’s not such as you go in there and also you get to coach – it’s not concerning the sport, its about drama. They don’t can help you learn, they don’t can help you discuss on the cellphone or get on the pc or watch TV, as a result of they need you to sort of go loopy. [The] coaching was sort of a hit and miss.”

Regardless of disappointing classes within the coaching room, Maynard proved himself worthy of a shot within the UFC and was awarded that likelihood on the season finale. That night time he confronted Rob Emerson, with one of many weirdest outcomes of a struggle occurring.

Throughout the second spherical, Maynard lifted Emerson with a double leg takedown. After a thundering slam, each males appeared unconscious, prompting the referee to step in and wave issues off.  Maynard instantly protested the stoppage, nonetheless it stays a No Contest on his report.

Maynard defined the story from his perspective.

The story behind that’s Joe Stevenson was serving to me out within the final a part of my camp and we have been choosing up luggage and slamming them,” he mentioned.

“Once you take an individual down you don’t actually consider the slam, that was sort of new to me and I simply ended up in that double leg and picked him up; a man is quite a bit smaller than whenever you take a punching bag and slam it, which is what we have been doing. So I misjudged it, however I actually wasn’t out. I broke his ribs, that’s what he instructed me afterwards. I attempted to rise up and I used to be dazed, so, sadly, didn’t get the win.”

After this surprising occasion, Maynard amassed a powerful eight wins in fast succession, enabling him to problem Frankie Edgar for the UFC light-weight throne. Though issues by no means went in keeping with plan, as they not often do, his sights remained on championship gold, and some losses wouldn’t deter him. However UFC president Dana White had different concepts.

Months after inking his beforehand talked about eight-fight take care of the promotion, Dana known as him up with a peculiar proposition – retirement.

I had one other loss and he [Dana] known as me within the workplace and was like ‘I would like you to retire,’ understanding that he had simply signed me to an eight-fight contract. So I’m like fuck, I’m going to must work by means of this, and he’s like ‘I would like you to retire.’

“I mentioned no, I like the game, so he replied with ‘effectively, I beloved boxing however I walked away from it.’ I used to be identical to how the hell does that evaluate to me?”

Dana desires to inform all people when they need to retire. Nicely, why don’t you pay us extra to assist us retire, proper? Quite a lot of us must struggle.”

This isn’t the primary time Dana White has requested considered one of his fighters to retire, and nor was it the final; a lot of his athletes are pressured to proceed combating for a considerably common circulate of earnings, a generally accepted but harsh reality in right now’s period.

Amassing knowledge

When the UFC Efficiency Institute first opened its doorways in 2017, many have been blown away by 30,000 square-foot facility that value greater than $14 million to assemble. The constructing prides itself on analysis, innovation, and provides up to date coaching gear and proficient employees at zero expense to every member of the UFC roster. Due to this, it’s house to a lot of fighters who full their coaching camps within the Las Vegas-based efficiency middle.

Whereas the intentions of every particular person working there are pure, promotional veteran Grey Maynard believes there’s a much bigger motive as to why the UFC opened the ability.

The UFC’s obtained the UFC PI going and individuals are like ‘Oh, you guys get free meals,’ effectively, a bunch of individuals must fly on the market to do this,” Maynard mentioned.

“They’ve nice coaches and all people’s there to assist out, however on the prime degree, they’re attempting to manage the game however understanding it. There’s no analysis executed on the game; they’re accumulating knowledge, they’re accumulating analysis as a result of when you have all the info, you management all of the stuff. That’s what they need, management. It’s to not assist us out.”

“‘Alright, we’re flying guys in right here and we’re accumulating all this knowledge,’ that’s the priceless stuff. Individuals which might be getting all these items executed to them like ‘right here’s your VO2 max, blood lactate,’ no matter it’s, it’s good knowledge to have however do you actually must have it? Probably not. However as soon as they begin getting all of it, they’re accumulating charts, charts, and charts of all the info. That helps them to start out understanding the game, after which they’ll in all probability begin to give you a technique to begin controlling the teaching side of it.”

I went there too as a result of I used to be like man, it’s right here on the town, however I’m not dumb, I do know why you guys are doing this. You’re not going to spend all this cash simply to assist us, as a result of when you [were], you’d’ve paid us extra.”

“As a complete, we’re principally numbers, there’s solely a few guys who aren’t however as a complete, we’re all just about numbers. And The extra knowledge and extra info they will get, the extra they will management the sport. Identical to shopping for out all the opposite promotions; they didn’t purchase them out as a result of they wished to maintain them going, they purchased them out to not have any competitors and management the sport.”