Holly Holm missed out on possibly the biggest payday of her career by not waiting for a rematch with Ronda Rousey, and now UFC president Dana White is pointing the finger, saying her management team made a bad call.
White spoke to "Russillo and Kanell" this week and brought up the fact that Holm opted to face Miesha Tate at UFC 196 rather than sitting out for a Rousey rematch that would have likely been one of the biggest fights in MMA history.
White believes the blame falls squarely on Holm’s management team, who opted for the earlier fight against Tate rather than playing the long game for more money.
"The sad part about that whole thing is, and here’s the thing, he’s an old boxing guy who thinks he is smart and he is not," White said about Holm’s manager Lenny Fresquez. "The thing that I feel bad about, I feel bad Holly because I don’t know if Holly really knows what she lost. I think that she has so much faith in the people that surround her, she feels like ‘well they got me here.’ Like we had this meeting and Holly wasn’t even in it. Holly that’s your life, you should be in that meeting. Don’t leave it to these people."
Not that White discredits Holm’s team for getting her this far.
"Listen — Holly made a lot of money, she made a lot of money, she accomplished great things, she beat Ronda Rousey," White said. "But it could have been so much bigger for her and the sad part is I don’t even think she knows it."
Because Holly right now, I had a discussion with her, if they put a contract in front of us right now to wait for Ronda (Rousey) or to fight Miesha and you know the dollar difference, who would you take? She goes ‘I’ll fight Miesha’.
— Lenny Fresquez
Lenny Fresquez told FOX Sports that Holm makes all the decisions on her own fight career, and he just represents her to the best of his ability and tries to get whatever she wants done.
"That was not our decision, that was Holly’s decision," Fresquez said. "We do what the boss wants to do. She understands, she knew there was a lot at stake. She took her eye off the ball for a minute, she understands that and she takes full responsibility for it."
Fresquez made it clear that Holm has never been the kind of fighter who focuses solely on making a lot of money.
Obviously, Holm has done well for herself between boxing and mixed martial arts, but Fresquez says her motivation has always been about competition and staying active — not trying to cash in on a big payday.
"Holly’s not motivated by money. She’s a multi-millionaire already. She’s not fighting for money. She could retire, she could stop fighting today and not have to worry about money," Fresquez said. "We could wait for Ronda but she doesn’t want to. That’s just how Holly is.
"When she fought Anne Sophie Mathis and she got knocked out, she wanted to fight and I told her ‘let’s fight somebody else first and then we’ll fight Anne second, I know you want to fight her’ and she goes ‘no, I won’t fight her. It’s her or nobody or I’ll retire.’"
As for what comes next, Fresquez says Holm has already expressed her desire to face Tate in a rematch later this year.
Even if the Rousey fight was on the table (which would still likely be a larger payday), Holm avenging her loss to Tate would mean more to her than any extra zeroes to her paycheck.
"That’s what Holly wants. We’re champing at the bit waiting for a phone call to see if that’s what we’re going to do," Frequez said. "Because Holly right now, I had a discussion with her, if they put a contract in front of us right now to wait for Ronda (Rousey) or to fight Miesha and you know the dollar difference, who would you take?