rewrite this title Michael ‘Venom’ Page didn’t sleep for 48 hours from UFC contract negotiations to signing

rewrite this content and keep HTML tags

There’s an eight-hour time difference between Las Vegas and London, so when you’re Michael “Venom” Page (or any other diehard MMA fan), you get used to late nights.

If you’re negotiating with the UFC on a new contract, as Page found himself this past weekend, all bets are off.

“I genuinely had zero sleep in 48 hours,” Page said on The MMA Hour.

Page became a free agent this summer after a 10-year run with Bellator MMA, and with that came lots of late nights and texts. A breakout star in Bellator, there were plenty of options on the table. But there was one he favored most.

“The top choice was definitely the UFC, but at the same time, it was nice to feel wanted, shall I say,” he said.

Page brought to the table an undeniable charisma in and outside of the cage, and of course an exciting style that’s filled his highlight reel with explosive knockouts. He took some extra cues, however, from three-time Bellator champ Michael Chandler in evaluating a move to the UFC. Chandler became an instant octagon star for his all-action fighting style.

“It was nice to see someone take that step ahead of me and see how he’s been received,” Page said. “He’s an amazing athlete and exceptional person to watch inside the cage. Regardless of the result, he just leaves it all in the cage.”

But for Page, it’s one thing to want a UFC contract and other to actually get it done on paper. He wasn’t a run of the mill free agent, and he wasn’t going to accept any offer to compete in the octagon.

“I know for a fact that I’ve created a lot of hype and made a lot of noise outside — the media in the MMA world all know who I am,” he said. “You can get a sense of that when I go to certain places and people recognize me, and it’s interesting that I could be in the same room as another UFC fighter, and a lot of people are more interested in seeing and meeting with me, which is nice. I figured that if I tested that free agency, I would get that kind of attraction.”

Page had run into UFC CEO Dana White on a couple different occasions, but they’d never sat down for an extended conversation. When they finally spoke, he said White was far different than the bombastic personality often seen in press conferences. So then it became a matter of coming to an agreement everyone could abide by, and fast.

“I’m staying up because, obviously, the time difference, so [manager] Audie [Attar] is messaging me, ‘This is what’s being said,’ and I’m messaging him back, and it was just back and forth,” Page said. “I had a long day Saturday in the day with my family and everything, announcing to my family, look it’s confirmed, it should be announced after the UFC. And then I stayed up to watch the UFC because we had the trailers that we wanted to put out as soon as he said it.”

For all the rush to put pen to paper, the actual announcement was tame. At the post-fight press conference for UFC 296, White started the gathering by announcing Page would fight Kevin Holland at UFC 299, and then he opened up the floor for questions.

“It was crazy getting everything done,” Page said. “It was like, ‘We want to get it done so we can announce it,’ and so I kind of knew it was going to be announced in the post-press conference of UFC.

“But he did it so casual — it was very interesting to me, more than anything. I’m not sure who said it, but it was like, ‘You’re just going to drop it like that?’ I kind of like the fact that he did it in such a blase way, and then it just made loads of noise afterward.”

From the second White dropped the news, Page and his team were at work promoting it on social media. They’d already crafted a teaser video for his decision to sign with the UFC or PFL, the apparent leading candidates in his free agent sweepstakes, and made graphics with him donning UFC gear.

“So yeah, a long 48 hours,” Page said. “People were like, ‘I don’t know how you’re still up,’ but when it comes to work, I’m ready.”

The rollout for Page’s octagon arrival may have been muted, but he promises that when he gets into the cage to do his real work, no more noise will be needed.

“The storm is not now,” he said. “It feels like there’s a big storm around my name. But the storm is when I get in the cage, trust me.”

Check Also

rewrite this title UFC 296 play-by-play, live results from Las Vegas

rewrite this content and keep HTML tags Round 1 – Pantoja comes out firing! He’s …

Leave a Reply