Despite widely-publicized differences between the pair, UFC president Dana White and heavyweight Roy Nelson appear to be in reasonable negotiation.
This comes as no surprise, as White previously indicated exchanging xmas cards is not a prerequisite to getting in the UFC.
"I want Roy Nelson in the UFC," said White last month. "We never said we didn't want Roy Nelson in the UFC. If I didn't want Roy Nelson in the UFC, I'd tell ya - he'd know it, everybody'd know it. You know? Roy and I don't have to see eye to eye and be best friends for him to fight here."
Nelson's manager Mike Kogan offered similar sentiments.
"I think people put so much stock into whether Dana likes you or not," said Kogan. They automatically assume if he hates you, your life's over and you have nowhere else to go and he doesn't want to see you again. That's not true.
"The truth of the matter is, you look at somebody like Tito Ortiz, he's done way worse stuff than Roy has, and he had a very prosperous career. UFC's a very professional organization. It doesn't matter if they like you or not. As long as you're performing and the fans like you, it's good enough."
Nelson declined a contract negotiation prior to the final fight on his contract, presumably believing a win would maximize his value when his contract ended. A decision loss to Stipe Miocic last month thwarted that plan, but Kogan says the August window on Nelson's exclusive negotiating period is not an impediment.
"The length of his exclusive negotiating period isn't really a factor right now," said Kogan. "We're actively talking. I'm sure it's not going to take a few months to make a deal, if there is a deal to be made."
"We're not there yet, but we're not out of the ballpark, either. Their offer is reasonable, and there's some things that Roy wants in there, and that's why it's called a negotiation."
"We try to have an open conversation with the UFC and see how they measure his value. I don't have the data that the UFC has to be able to measure it. I don't have the true ratings numbers, the four-hour ratings numbers if he's fighting on TV, pay-per-view numbers from all the events. All I have is the fact that people love to watch him fight. I've been around this game long enough to know that doesn't automatically mean he gets millions of dollars. But it does have a value. At the end of the day, if the fans are blowing the roof off every time he comes out to fight, and then spend the whole fight on their feet yelling and screaming – if that's not worth anything, then how do you measure anybody's worth?
"Measuring somebody's worth is not a science. The UFC has more numbers and can come to more of a scientific approach than we do. But you're worth what somebody's willing to pay for you."
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