Luke Rockhold is remembering some disrespect he felt from Dana White back when he was with the UFC.
Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has decided that it is time for him to walk away from the sport. Rockhold spent nine years in the UFC and worked his way up the rankings to ultimately win the middleweight title. During his time with the company, Rockhold rocketed to stardom and was one of the most popular fighters on the roster. The thing about the UFC is that when you are on top you are treated well, on the slide down that may not always be the case, at least it seemed that way to Rockhold.
Rockhold was crowned the UFC champion in 2015 but was never able to defend the belt. Now that his UFC career is through, Rockhold is looking back at his time there in a new light.
Luke Rockhold feels he was disrespected by the UFC once his belt was gone
Rockhold’s last fight was at UFC 278 against Paulo Costa. Although the bout did not go his way, losing by unanimous decision, the hard-fought war earned both men a Fight of the Night bonus. Along with the bonus money came praise from Dana White. Rockhold admits that it was nice to hear White in the post-fight presser giving him props, especially since the two have not always seen eye to eye.
“It definitely felt good to get that respect I felt I always deserved, but I guess you’ve got to get dirty and nasty sometimes to show people who the f*ck you are,” Rockhold said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “People want to assume I’m this, people want to assume I’m that. I’m sure the Polo (modeling) deal didn’t help – people just hated me even more. But that was the thing with Dana in the first place. He disrespected me when I lost the title and said, ‘You ain’t shit. You weren’t this, you weren’t that.’ I’m like, ‘F*ck you, dude. I’ll go make my money elsewhere.”
Rockhold feels he was not respected by White and the UFC once the belt was gone. He decided at that time to go off and make more money elsewhere and that is exactly what he did. Although he continued to fight in the UFC and did earn another interim title shot in 2018, he believes it was because he was able to raise his stock by upping his modeling career.
Rockhold became the face of Ralph Lauren’s “Polo Blue” cologne fragrance in 2018. His fame outside of the UFC worked to increase his fame inside the UFC.
“He’s like, ‘F*ck, fine, go do it,’ and guess what? I became the face of Polo Ralph Lauren, I had a worldwide commercial, I had (my face in) every airport in the world, and then Dana and the UFC were like, ‘Oh, can we give you this? Can we give you that?’ I did it so I could have leverage and respect,” he said. “That’s why I did that. That was the whole point of that situation, and I got some back. But then I got a lot of disrespect from it because the whole world is just naive and they paint the picture for what they want the world to believe.”
Rockhold can walk away from the UFC and focus on his other business venture, whether that be more modeling or a change of sports. He has mentioned a possibility of moving to boxing, which has become a very popular avenue for retired MMA fighters.