UFC President Dana White on Tuesday ripped Albuquerque’s Lenny Fresquez, Holly Holm’s agent, for putting Holm in the octagon against Miesha Tate Saturday rather than waiting for a lucrative rematch with Ronda Rousey.
Tate upset Holm by fifth-round submission (rear-naked choke), taking the UFC bantamweight title that Holm had won from Rousey in November.
“(Fresquez) is an old boxing guy who thinks he’s smart, and he isn’t,” White said on ESPN’s Russillo & Kanell sports talk show. “The thing I feel bad about is, I feel bad for Holly because I don’t know if she really knows what she lost.”
In response, Fresquez told the Journal on Wednesday that the decision to fight Tate was made with Holm’s complete participation.
White’s suggestion to the contrary, he said, is “Totally wrong, totally wrong. She totally knew what the deal was.”
Holm herself addressed the issue Saturday during the post-fight news conference.
“A lot of people (were asking), ‘Why are you taking this fight? You should wait for the rematch.’ You know what, I’m in it to fight. That’s what I’m in it for.”
On Tuesday, just three days after the Tate fight, Holm was back working out at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA.
Even having missed out on the huge payday that a rematch with Rousey would have produced, Holm shouldn’t be hurting financially. She was paid $500,000 for the Tate fight, by far the most a female fighter has made in disclosed pay (not including bonuses, shares of pay-per-revenue, etc.) in UFC history.
The $500,000 payday, Fresquez said, was the result of a multi-year contract extension he negotiated with the UFC in January. Asked if Holm made more money off the Tate fight from other sources, Fresquez declined to comment.
There’s more money to be made, he said.
“I don’t think Holly’s stock has dropped one percent, not even one percent,” he said. “My phone has been (ringing) off the hook. Every person that I was doing business before with sponsorships wants her even more.”
White’s evident dislike for Fresquez has its roots in the negotiations that eventually led to Holm’s signing with the UFC. White, feeling Fresquez’s contractual demands were unreasonable, called the Albuquerque businessman “a lunatic.”
White later withdrew from those negotiations and allowed UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to step in.
After Holm’s upset victory over Rousey in November, White was adamant that the Albuquerque fighter’s first title defense would be a rematch with Rousey. But with Rousey’s availability delayed by injuries and other commitments, Fresquez pushed for a title defense in the interim.
“Yeah, I really care about his opinion,” White said sarcastically.
Nevertheless, the Holm-Tate fight was made.
White has said Tate’s first title defense will be against Rousey, who twice has beaten Tate.
Fresquez said Team Holm wants her next fight to be against Tate or Rousey.
“That’s what we’d like to do,” he said. “I spoke with (the UFC) this morning, and we’ll see what Miesha wants to do. Everything’s not going to happen in a week.”