Palelei: This is the hurt game, we don’t do it for free
UFC heavyweight Soa Palelei fights South African Ruan Potts on the main card of Saturday's Ultimate Fight Night 40. In an interview with Steph Daniels, Palalei discussed why he fights.
“When people say, ‘Oh yeah, I love it. This is what I love doing, and I would do it for free…' Hell no they wouldn't,” said Soa. “They're full of s—, because you're getting punched in the face, risking your health and well-being. What if you end up in the hospital? How are you going to pay your bills?
“I just laugh every time I see a fighter say they do this for the love of it. I think that's bulls—. This is the hurt game, and we don't do it for free.
“This is a career, a job. You get some sponsors in there, which is a big help. The more fights you win, the more money you get, both from the UFC and your sponsors. You go from eating bread and water to lobster and things like that. I just laugh every time I see a fighter say they do this for the love of it. I think that's bulls— you know? This is the hurt game, and we don't do it for free.”
“Social media is the most important thing. I do work with Dodge, and lots of other big companies that support me. I've got my own work boots that have been released worldwide, I've got jewelers making me jewelry for when I weigh in. You get out of it what you put into it. I make more from my sponsorships than I do from my purses.
“I try to make sure I get out a positive, inspirational message, because I can remember my first fight in the UFC against Eddie Sanchez, and after that was one of the lowest points in my life. I just sat on the couch for about 6 months eating cheesecake, KFC and McDonald's.
“I finally snapped myself out of it when I realized that I didn't want people to know and remember me from that UFC 79 fight. I want people to know that I pushed it and got back into the UFC. Now, my whole concept in life is hustling. I hustle to stay in shape. I hustle to do good work for my sponsors. I hustle to get more sponsors. If you don't hustle, you don't eat. I'm on a 10 fight winning streak because of that hustle. The one thing I took from 2007 is humility. You've got to remain humble because you never know when somebody will hand you your ass [laughs].