Johnny Eblen cleared the air on several aspects of the situation regarding Dustin Poirier’s fight against Benoit Saint-Denis.
Earlier this week, the MMA community was shocked when Poirier announced his fight against Saint-Denis, scheduled for March 9 at UFC 299, was canceled. Fans quickly began speculating about what happened.
Turns out the UFC announced Poirier vs. Saint-Denis before contracts were officially signed. Once the negotiations didn’t go as planned, ‘The Diamond’ claimed the fight was canceled before working things out and claiming everything was “a misunderstanding.”
Poirier’s teammate and friend, undefeated Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen, did an interview with Shakiel Mahjouri and reacted to the previously mentioned controversy by saying this before everything was resolved:
“They’re trying to generate interest and generate likes and clicks. I think that was not a good move on them. I know Dustin [Poirier] pretty well, and I actually spoke with him about it today. They just didn’t come to terms. The things that Dustin laid out for them that they need to provide for this fight, they were not willing to do it. Dustin is in a position where he’s like, ‘Motherf*cker, if you want me to fight, you got to do this this and this for me. If you’re not going to do this this and this for me, I’m not gonna fight.”
“It’s not like he needs to fight, he doesn’t need to fight ever again. He makes really good money, he’s doing well for himself. He’s one of the best lightweights to ever do it, one of the best fighters to ever do it. I’m a huge fan of his fight style and the way he fights. I just think it’s kind of horses*t because I know how much money the UFC makes, and they can make that fight happen, but they are choosing not to because they are being stingy in a way.”
Sorry folks, I jumped the gun, I couldn't get a hold of my manager for a few days. I just spoke with him and Hunter. Misunderstanding on my part. Fight is on! See you March 9th Miami!!! pic.twitter.com/oPriv0dMQq
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) February 1, 2024
Johnny Eblen confirms Dustin Poirier didn’t sign a contract to fight Benoit Saint-Denis before the bout announcement
The confusion between Dustin Poirier and the UFC was resolved, making his fight against Benoit Saint-Denis official. With that said, there is still controversy surrounding the promotion announcing matchups before contracts were signed, something Dana White has been accused of in the past.
During the previously mentioned interview with Shakiel Mahjouri, Johnny Eblen confirmed that Dustin Poirier hadn’t signed a contract before the UFC 299 bout announcement:
“The fact that no contract was signed and they were willing to f*cking announce it is beyond me. That’s never happened to me. Not even a verbal agreement, Dustin said. Dustin said, ‘Yeah, that sounds good, but like we gotta get this deal worked out. That’s not a verbal agreement…There wasn’t even a verbal agreement on his end. So, I think it was kind of crazy to me that they were willing to promote it to this degree and then let it backfire like this.”
Luckily, fans won’t be deprived of the action-packed matchup between Dustin Poirier and Benoit Saint-Denis. Poirier last fought in July 2023, suffering a second-round knockout loss against Justin Gaethje for the BMF title.
Meanwhile, Saint-Denis is coming off a first-round knockout win against Matt Frevola in November 2023, extending his UFC record to 5-1, including five wins inside the distance since losing his promotional debut.
Watch Eblen’s discuss Poirier’s upcoming fight and more below: