(Photo via Getty)
By Ben Goldstein
“I’m the best fighter with the worst luck.”
That’s how UFC lightweight Jamie Varner describes his trials and tribulations during the past year, in which he got knocked out by Abel Trujillo in a fight that he was winning, then suffered a TKO loss by ankle-injury against James Krause — in another fight that he was winning.
Varner’s back is against the wall as he returns to the Octagon at UFC on FOX 13, which takes place this Saturday, December 13th, in Varner’s hometown of Phoenix. In this candid interview with CagePotato.com, Jamie Varner opens up about the UFC’s controversial new partnership with Reebok, how he’s trying to rebound from a tough 2014, and his upcoming opponent, Drew Dober. (“I didn’t know anything about him. I still don’t.”) Enjoy, and follow Jamie on twitter and sqor.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: Since it’s such a hot topic these days, I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the UFC’s uniform deal with Reebok. Overall, do you think it’s a good thing, a bad thing, or is it still too early to tell?
JAMIE VARNER: It’s a little too early to tell. The organization is becoming more mainstream, the overall operations are becoming more corporate, and I think it’s time to implement some sort of fighters’ union, just to make sure that everything is fair and evenly distributed among the fighters. Because for me personally, about 30-40% of my income comes from sponsorships, and with the way their tier system has been announced, it’s like, champions get the most, #1-5 [ranked UFC contenders] get the second-most, 6-10 the third-most, 11-15 the fourth-most, and then all non-ranked fighters are going to be on the same level.
For a guy like me, I’m not in the top 15, but I’ve beaten a couple guys who are — Edson Barboza is ranked like #11 [Ed. Note: He’s actually #6 now] Donald Cerrone is top 5. So I’ve beaten guys in the top 12. And I have a pretty good audience and presence when I fight, people like to tune in to watch me throw down, so I don’t think that I should be making the same amount as a guy who has never fought on a main card, never got a Fight of the Night bonus. I just don’t really understand how this is all going to work out. I can’t really comment on whether I’m upset or happy with the way everything is. I do like the fact that we are all going to look nice. I like the fact that there is going be a little more structure, and we’re going to be more mainstream by having the uniforms, but the fighters need to be appropriately compensated.