Ian McCall has asked for at least $100,000 to fight again for UFC, with the flyweight telling ESPN that if his financial request is not met he would like to be released from his contract to compete for another organization or simply retire.
McCall (13-5-1) has not fought in nearly three years. He is 2-3-1 in his past six fights but is the last person to face longtime champion Demetrious Johnson in the Octagon and not lose, fighting to a draw in March 2012. McCall said he has one fight left on his deal and that UFC does not want to change his contract until that agreement is completed.
"I'm either going to get paid $100,000 to fight or I'm not fighting ever again. If it's [$50,000 to show] and [$50,000 to win], I'm fine with that," McCall told ESPN. "So I either get 50 and 50, or you can let me go and I can look for it somewhere else or I can retire. It's as simple as that. But me fighting for $16,000 and $16,000 when I'm a former world champion is pretty gross."
McCall is coming off a unanimous decision loss to John Lineker at UFC 183 in January 2015. He said he has dealt with a number of health issues in recent years, including Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial infection that causes intestinal problems. McCall has been in and out of the hospital six times over the past 12 months.
He said stress has brought on "the depression, the mood swings and the bipolar stuff."
"My life has spiraled out of control for five years, realistically," McCall said. "I've had injury, after injury, after injury, after personal problem, after personal problem, after personal problem. Sickness and injury. It's just been s--- for me."
In hopes of changing that, McCall wants to return to the one thing he loves: mixed martial arts. He said he realistically needs six months to get back in shape and build up his strength. Given this time, McCall said he could return to UFC and compete for a flyweight title again.
But McCall also is looking for a restructured contract and does not want to wait another fight to get it. He said his future well-being is too important to be put on the line for a small payday.
"I can't risk my health and life for less than $100,000. It's not worth it," McCall said. "I put a number on that. I think everyone thinks I'm crazy, but we're fighting for a living. I know what these companies are making. One hundred thousand dollars is nothing, and I've been a company man since Day 1."
McCall emphasized how much he wants to return to UFC. He joined the organization in 2012 and called it "my home."
That said, if UFC doesn't value him enough, he said he would be open to other promotions.
One of those would be the Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan. Another would be fighting for Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic. Kadyrov leads MMA tournaments and the state-run Akhmat Fight Club. He also was condemned earlier this year by the United Nations Human Rights Council for "acts of persecution and violence on an unprecedented scale" against gays and bisexuals in the region.
When asked about the allegations on HBO's Real Sports earlier this year, Kadyrov said: "This is nonsense. We don't have such people here. We don't have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada."
McCall said he is opposed to what Kadyrov stands for but would be open to fighting in Chechnya for the right price.
"People say, 'You don't care that it's blood money?' I don't give a flying f--- that it's blood money. You can pay me in blood diamonds," McCall said. "I get into a cage and fistfight for money. I don't care. I don't live there.
"Of course what he's doing is wrong. I don't agree with it and would say it to his face, but it's none of my business. My business is to go over there and fistfight. That's it. Sure, war is bad and guys like that do evil s---. But I don't care."