Jacare Souza revealed in a recent interview that the UFC, in his eyes, put an unfair amount of pressure on him to accept his short-notice showdown in the UFC Fort Lauderdale main-event.
Earlier this month, when Yoel Romero was forced to withdraw from his rematch with Ronaldo Souza due to pneumonia, the UFC were left in something of an awkward position.
In need a headliner and with an increasing number of casualties to the remainder of the event, the UFC called upon streaking contender Jack Hermansson to take on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend – a fight he accepted just three weeks out from the date in question.
Speaking to MMA Junkie ahead of his showdown with Jack Hermansson on Sunday night, Jacare explained how the UFC put pressure on him to accept the short-notice replacement fight.
“It was hard negotiating for Jack. That was hard. That was tough. I didn’t want to accept the fight at all. It’s a risk that I’m taking. I’m putting my career at risk; that’s the truth. It made me very upset, this fight. But we talked, and this and that.
Then Mick Maynard came in, Hunter [Campbell], Dana White, all those people, and I said, ‘Either you promise me the belt and put that to paper and send it to me, or there’s no deal.’”
“It was tough because everyone put a lot of pressure on me. That’s what upset me a lot. Everyone was like, ‘Take the fight, take the fight.’ And the UFC people calling. And I said, ‘I don’t want this fight. I don’t want it. I won’t take this fight.’
“And then Dana White, ‘Take this fight, it will be good because of this and that.’ And in my head, ‘Don’t take it, don’t take it, don’t take it.’ At the end of the day, we reached an agreement that is good for me.”
In his closing statement, Souza spoke directly to the UFC – citing their promise of a shot at middleweight gold if he can overcome the challenge presented to him by The Joker.
“Don’t forget about this, Dana White, UFC, or Mick Maynard, Hunter. You promised me a title shot. Don’t forget about this.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena