WSOF’s Jacob Volkmann Speaks the “Truth” About The UFC: “Fighters Need to Get Together”
By Timothy Gilbert
After being unexpectedly released from the UFC over three months ago, lightweight Jacob Volkmann has been extremely vocal about his views on his former employer. He has adamantly spoken out about fighter pay, contract terms, retirement and insurance coverage; things he feels fighters need to rally behind and demand if they are ever going to obtain.
Volkmann (15-4) will make his World Series of Fighting debut on June 14 when he faces Lyle Beerbohm at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada; his first fight since being removed from the UFC.
Beerbohm (21-2), a skilled wrestler and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is riding a six-fight win streak into his upcoming match. But Volkmann refuses to be intimidated.
“He’s good all around, but I think his strength is probably wrestling, or grappling,” he said. “From what I understand he is an all around good fighter, just nothing really strong.”
Additionally, when it comes to their takedown abilities Volkmann states,
“You can’t even compare our wrestling.”
And while the transition from the UFC to the WSOF may pose a mental challenge for any fighter, Volkmann is only focusing on returning to the Octagon.
“I really needed to get back in there and get another a fight as soon as I could. Especially coming off of a loss. Its’ better off to get in there and get a fight under your belt and get rid of that loss,” he said.
Something that he claims is critical to his livelihood.
“I can’t afford to lose right now. I’ll get half the pay, plus I won’t go up into the next level of pay and I kind of need the money right now.”
Even though a victory over Beerbohm is unlikely to propel the former UFC star’s career to new heights, he still plans to enter the match completely prepared.
“I treat every fight like this guy is the best fighter out there. I can’t underestimate him.”
And win or lose Volkmann claims the WSOF has plans for his future.
“I’m not sure if he is the matchmaker or the promoter but he said my next fight for sure will be on the main card,” he said.
Volkmann recently signed with the WSOF after a disappointing submission loss to Bobby Green led to his unexpected released from the UFC. The defeat marked a 1-2 skid in Volkmann’s last three fights — but only his second blemish after notching six victories at lightweight; a move that seemed to stun Volkmann and fans alike.
However, Volkmann does not believe it was his record that caused his release, but his style of fighting.
“They’re looking for more guys that are stand up fighters. That’s the only thing that I can think of,” he said.
A Big Ten Conference champion and three time NCAA All-American for the University of Minnesota; Volkmann used his wrestling abilities to take down opponents and wear them out from the ground. A style some critics view as boring. And while Volkmann has ended eight of his fights by way of submission, he has never knocked an opponent out in any of his 19 professional bouts.
Even though the UFC will undoubtedly deny these claims; his words arouse suspicion considering he was cut alongside former top ten welterweight Jon Fitch, a fighter notorious for his tendency of grinding out decision victories.
But his qualms don’t stop there. Volkmann feverishly believes that the UFC mistreats the majority of its fighters through actions, which he claims, speak for themself.
“I’m just telling the truth about what the UFC is really like. The fans don’t really understand what it’s like to be a fighter. They think that we’re all rich,” he said. “If you get injured, they don’t reimburse you, they don’t cover the cost of your training. You’re pretty much out until you get another fight lined up and then after that fight you actually get paid. So if you’re out for eight months, that’s eight months you’re not getting paid.”
Not only are the terms of fighter pay inadequate, says Volkmann, but the insurance coverage is as well,
“[The UFC insurance plan] has a $1500 deductible per injury, it’s a joke,” he said.
And while Volkmann has much to say regarding the frugality of the UFC, he is outspoken as to what can be done to fix things,
“If they’re not going to give decent insurance, give them the money for the insurance,” Volkmann said. “So give every fighter 300 a month for insurance purposes.”
“Another thing I’d like to see is retirement benefits for the fighters. Some of them have no idea what they’re going to do after they get done fighting and they need some form of fallback.”
Something, he feels, they are more than capable of doing,
“Of course they have the money,” Volkmann said. “They may be trying to say they don’t because they have a hundred too many fighters, but that’s a bunch of crap. You don’t have to buy Strikeforce. Nobody is twisting your arm to buy them,” he added.
It doesn’t stop there; Volkmann added that he feels the entire contract formats need to change in order to better protect fighters. And realistically, he doesn’t expect these changes to come from within the organization. He feels that fighters must demand this themselves.
“The fighters need to get together. That’s the biggest thing. So they can get treated better. They can get their benefits and they can get their retirement. If that doesn’t happen its never going to change because the UFC is getting them for dirt cheap anyway,” Volkmann said.
“Why would you want to pay someone more if they weren’t asking for more?”