Matt Brown reacts to Dustin Poirier’s ‘misunderstanding’ with UFC, reveals details from past negotiations 

Matt Brown won’t begrudge anybody looking for more money, but he also doesn’t fully understand what Dustin Poirier meant when he said he “couldn’t come to terms” with the UFC on a fight contract.

The whole ordeal played out over a matter of hours this past week once Poirier declared that his UFC 299 fight was off and stated that there was “no contractual agreement” for a fight against Benoit Saint Denis. Later that same day, Poirier put out a second statement calling everything just one big “misunderstanding,” and stating that the situation was cleared up with a call from his manager and UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell.

After spending nearly 16 years with the UFC, Brown might be one of the only fighters on the roster with more tenure than Poirier, but even he didn’t fully grasp what exactly unfolded.

“Dustin was saying, ‘We didn’t come to terms.’ What does that mean?” Brown said on the latest episode of The Fighter vs. The Writer. “They just set the terms and you just sign the contract and go.

“They ask me if I want to fight this guy and I say OK. I’ve never really negotiated or asked for a different guy, it’s not really been my style. For me, it’s been pretty simple. I’ve always been happy with the way they treated me and the pay they give me and everything. I don’t really know what they mean when they say they didn’t come to terms. The terms are, you’re going to fight a guy on this date, go do it.”

Now, Brown admits his own experiences with the UFC likely differ from many other fighters. He’s never had a combative relationship with the promotion over his career.

Whether it came down to his pay, the opponents offered to him, or the events he’s fought on, Brown never really found a situation where he had to go to battle with the UFC.

In fact, Brown says there’s only one time during his entire career when he really felt the need to discuss details about his contract, and that negotiation with UFC CEO Dana White was anything but heated.

“I probably should have negotiated more than I have,” Brown said with a laugh. “I can only speak to my own personal experience here. When they have offered me a new contract, I said, ‘Thank you, let’s go. Who am I going to fight?’ I never really negotiated that either. Maybe I should have. Maybe in retrospect I should have, but I never did. I’ve always just been happy to fight.

“There was one time where I went and talked to Dana about my contract. I went into his office, he showed me around, we chatted for a little while and finally we got to the negotiating time. He said, ‘How much do you want?’ I gave him a number and he said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ I probably should have asked for more, but I thought I got my worth and it was pretty simple. I think that’s part of me having a good tenure with the UFC. I’m friendly with them. They help me out, I help them out. I’ve just always been simple with them.”

During his time with the UFC, Brown says he never really had a situation arise where the promotion has jumped the gun on announcing one of his fights, mostly because he’s never turned down an opponent or raised any issues after receiving a bout agreement.

Brown revealed he personally announced a fight he signed nearly a decade ago that wasn’t actually a done deal, and that did come back to bite him.

“I was supposed to fight Nate Diaz one time and I had posted that I signed the contract, and I got in trouble for doing that because he had not signed yet,” Brown said. “Obviously, he never ended up signing. But that kind of threw me off a little bit.”

While he can’t remember the exact timing for the fight, Brown estimated that the matchup was offered to him sometime between 2013 and 2015, which was before Diaz choked out Conor McGregor and became one of the biggest stars in the sport.

That being said, Brown actually found out later that Diaz didn’t just turn down a fight against him or ask for more money but didn’t get it. Instead, Brown says Diaz didn’t like the idea of fighting him out of respect.

“First, I want make sure no one out there says, ‘Oh, he was f****** scared!’ I don’t believe that for one second,” Brown said of Diaz. “I don’t remember if I talked to him or Nick [Diaz] or a friend of theirs, but basically they don’t want to fight people that they like, and they like me. So I think that’s all it came down to, respect to him.

“Now he wasn’t as big of a name back then either, as big of a name as he is now, or I would probably push a little harder for that. Back then, it was like, ‘We don’t like fighting people we like,’ OK, I’ll fight the next guy.”

That’s the same philosophy Brown has carried throughout his entire career, so he doesn’t quite understand what the “misunderstanding” was with Poirier and the UFC, but he’s certainly never experienced that himself.

“When we talk about negotiating terms with the UFC, you don’t really negotiate,” Brown said. “They have the power. It’s like, ‘You don’t like our terms? Well then go to f****** Bellator.’ But I want to fight the best guys. ‘Well, OK, fight in the UFC.’ But I want more money. ‘Well, this is what we’re going to pay you, buddy.’ It’s a little bit of a catch-22 there.

“I just don’t really ask questions. They send me the contract, I sign it. If they want to switch the guy up, OK. If that guy doesn’t sign, whatever. Give me a date, give me a place, and let’s f****** put somebody in there.”

Listen to new episodes of The Fighter vs. The Writer every Tuesday with audio only versions of the podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio

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