Woodley ‘Blew Through A Lot Of Money’ As Champion

When he wont he UFC Welterweight Championship off of Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 in 2016, Tyron Woodley was on top of the world. He was experiencing the high of power, while also successfully defending the belt three times (drawing once with Stephen Thompson). What people didn’t know, however, is what the fame and money he collected did to him.

Speaking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Monday, Woodley (19-4-1) discussed how he would spend an abnormal amount of money as champion. Like any athlete flying close to the sun, Woodley’s choices have forced him to change several aspects of his lifestyle.

“I blew through a lot of f*cking money, man,” Woodley stated, via MMA Fighting. “A lot. A lot of money. And I was jewelry and VIP and all these experiences, all these things that came with the championship life. You really, when you come from where I come from, you never imagine making that type of money, you never imagine being in that type of position. You work hard for it – and I didn’t get there by accident because I was busting my ass – but nobody taught me finance. Everybody taught me 1+1 is 2. That’s math. That ain’t finance. That ain’t wealth, that ain’t investing, that ain’t saving, that ain’t tax. That’s basically: you made money and, f*cking, you spend it. Because when I was growing up, we spent it when it came in. My mom’s check was already cut up, it was done before she even got it. She had to pick which utility bills was not gonna be on that, that month. And it was something that I didn’t recognize, as a kid, that it wasn’t normal. I thought everybody had to do that.

“So, when you started making money? I bought, like, seven cars and, f*cking, two houses, and all these trips, and nobody ever lifted a f*cking hand when we was at a restaurant, 10-15 people went to dinner,” Woodley continued. “And I was going to VIP clubs and all this sh*t, like, every other week and I just imagined making that amount of money for a very long time and they very quickly said, ‘Poof! Damn! You gonna tell me, March 3rd, that this is different? It’s not the same?’ And it’s just a lesson learned.”

Woodley’s unfortunate situation is just another example of an athlete who came from nothing, became something and lost it all just like that. Besides himself and his influences, the pay system in MMA is something that Woodley is questioning. He truly believes there needs to be a change in order for MMA and the UFC to have a better reputation.

“Who makes the most money in our sport? Not the world champion Kamaru Usman,” Woodley stated. “[Jorge] Masvidal, he’s finally making his paydays. He’s at the top of the list now. So are the Diaz brothers, so is Conor McGregor. Some of these people have never had a belt. Cowboy Cerrone just earned a big payday, never been remotely close to a world title in the UFC. When you look at guys like Demetrious Johnson when he was pound-for-pound and he was making less money than Joanna Jedrzejczyk. . . In no other sport are you going to see Steph Curry making less than somebody because they talking crap and wear a fly suit to the presser.”

After a lengthy time as champion, Woodley lost the title to Usman at UFC 235 back in March. He has not fought since. Now, Woodley faces off against another welterweight contender in Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night 171 inside London’s O2 Arena on March 21. With the win, Woodley is looking to get back on top of the world, especially with a smarter mindset. A title shot is not guaranteed, but he believes his best is yet to come.

“Right now my goal is to really just focus on winning and just proving that I’m capable of so much more,” Woodley went on to say. “And the good thing about me is I haven’t even peaked yet. I haven’t peaked as a professional. I’m looking back at some of these fights and a Leon Edwards, a Kamaru Usman, a Colby Covington, none of those guys are going to make me that much more of a great than a Carlos Condit, a Robbie Lawler, than a Josh Koscheck, than a Dong Hyun Kim. People that are going to put my name into the record books are the people I’ve already defeated. This sh*t is just personal now.”

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