Anthony Pettis Say Fighters Are Addicted To UFC Fame, Still Cool With Dana White

Anthony Pettis explains why some fighters hesitate to test out free agency and reflects on his decision to leave the UFC.

Anthony Pettis
Anthony Pettis on Instagram
  • Anthony Pettis explains why some fighters don’t test free agency.
  • Pettis explains his relationship with the UFC and Dana White.

Anthony Pettis is getting ready for his next PFL bout taking place on August 5. He will be rematching Stevie Ray in the semifinals of the lightweight tournament at PFL 7 in New York City. In the leadup to the fight, Pettis was in New York doing media obligations for his fight and one stop he made was The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. 

While a guest on the show, the topic of free agency came up. Pettis, who was a member of the UFC roster for many years and was the lightweight champion for a while, surprisingly left the organization back in 2020. The left when his contract was up and decided to bet on himself and find the next best fit for him. 

Anthony Pettis says some fighters would rather be famous than making money

The best fit for Pettis turned out to be PFL. He signed with them in 2020 and has been there since. Pettis feels that more fighters do not follow in his footsteps because of the allure the UFC gives them. The fame that comes with being a UFC fighter means more to some people than better pay. 

“I think the fame that comes with fighting in the UFC, these fighters are addicted to that,” Pettis said. “They want that more than they want that guarantee. They’re willing to risk not getting paid a certain amount to get the fame that comes with it and the recognition that comes with fighting on a UFC fight card. The general public looks at the UFC like that’s the best place to fight, it’s the only place to fight, but as fighters, you’re supposed to take care of yourself and there are guys who don’t get to fight as long as I got to fight. So I got to like see all the phases of MMA change you know from when the UFC got bought out from the WME how those changes happened. So I think fighters definitely should test the market.”

Despite leaving the UFC, Pettis is still close with the organization and president Dana White

Pettis’s departure from the UFC was an amicable one. He spent nine years and 20 fights in the UFC. When it was time to leave, Pettis said he spoke to UFC president Dana White and let him know. 

“Me and Dana are still cool,” he said. “When I decided to become a free agent, I spoke to him first and I was like, ‘hey, this is where I’m at in my career. This is kind of where I’m at, what I’m deciding to do’ and they gave me that Alex Morono fight to make this happen. We’re still friends, I see him in Vegas, we still gamble together.”

Pettis says he and White are still close and because of the friendly nature of his exit, is still allowed to use the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, a state-of-the-art performance center built for UFC fighters. 

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