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UFC contender Curtis Blaydes says he'd be marketed more if he were 'anything but just your standard American'
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

UFC contender Curtis Blaydes says he'd be marketed more if he were 'anything but just your standard American'

Blaydes said fellow heavyweight Cyril Gone gets a bigger push 'because he's French.'

UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes said if he were a different nationality, he would likely get a bigger push from his company.

Blaydes is set to fight for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 304 against interim-champion Tom Aspinall and was a bit of a surprise booking for the promotion given the lingering fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic for what is considered the true heavyweight belt.

The Illinois native appeared on "The MMA Hour" with Ariel Helwani to discuss the details on how the fight came to be.

"I knew I was an option," Blaydes said regarding his potential at getting a title shot. The fighter recognized that there were other options for the UFC, though, saying "you never know."

Blaydes cited other fighters like Jones, Alex Pereira, and even seemingly retired fighter and WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar as possible options for the UFC.

Then, Helwani brought up the No. 2-ranked fighter Cyril Gane, a former champion who apparently turned down the fight offer to act in a movie.

"What about Cyril Gane?"Helwani asked. "It comes out that they asked him too, right? So, how do you feel about them asking him and apparently he turned it down because he had a movie."

'I highly doubt they pay him what you're gonna get for a title shot.'

"I'm not surprised," Blaydes replied. "I've been saying for two years now he gets what he gets because he's French. He brings in all the French. If I was a Jamaican or German or just anything but just your standard American, I would be getting more push," he claimed.

Gane is the only UFC titleholder to come from France and has headlined the only two UFC events to take place in the country.

In September 2022, he beat Tai Tuivasa at Accor Arena in Paris, then in September 2023, he beat Sergei Spivac in the same arena.

"I don't mind it. It's business," Blaydes continued. He added that he didn't understand the reason why Gane would take less pay to appear in a movie.

"It's the marketing and that's fine, I'm happy he turned it down. I have no idea why he would turn it down even if he is in a movie, I highly doubt they pay him what you're gonna get for a title shot, but whatever. I'm just happy that I get this opportunity."

The heavyweight went on to say that he feels Aspinall is the legitimate champion, and although it may upset Jones to hear, he said that he believed Aspinall to be the best heavyweight in the world right now.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
@andrewsaystv →