Dominick Cruz explains callout of Monster Energy executive: ‘You can’t use me to get clout’

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LAS VEGAS – On a night that saw a number of big wins and notable callouts, Dominick Cruz’s post-fight challenge to Monster Energy sponsorship executive Hans Molenkamp at UFC 259 came out of leftfield.

Speaking to reporters, including MMA Junkie, backstage following his split-decision win over Casey Kenney at the UFC Apex, Cruz (23-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) explained his reason for the unusual callout.

“He’ll probably love that he’s getting plugged like this, to be honest, so it’s actually a benefit for him. So he should thank me,” he began. “We’re in a day and age where if I take a picture with Conor McGregor, now I’m Conor McGregor’s ‘friend,’ right? If I take a picture with Dominick Cruz and have him commenting on my page, we’re in a day and age where that looks like we’re friends. Well, I may be your friend, but you can’t use me in order to get ‘clout,’ as they put it.”

Molenkamp’s Instagram and Facebook pages feature numerous photos and videos shot with UFC fighters, and Cruz suggested that Molenkamp, whose Instagram bio describes him as a “brand building aficionado,” has attempted to use Monster Energy sponsorship as leverage to increase his personal brand online. It’s something the former bantamweight champion said he took exception to.

“Look at my face, look at my body. I get beat to death for a living,” he said. “So when you try to force me, and you text me that if I don’t comment on your page, if I don’t give you an interview, that you’re going to take what pays my bills? What are we doing? Monster sponsors me, not you.”

When asked if he felt like he was trapped in his endorsement contract with the energy drinks brand, Cruz clarified his comments.

“It’s not ‘trapped in a contract.’ It’s forced to give him clout, forced to hype him up if I want to make money. Monster pays me.”

He even revealed that others had experienced similar issues with Molenkamp, including UFC president Dana White.

“Dana White has complained on this guy. Dana White has gone on this man’s page and said something – they ignored it like it didn’t happen,” said Cruz. “So I’m not the first one to say something. Dana’s also said something. Ask him about it.”

But Cruz insists that his callout of Molenkamp is real, and said he’d like to use the situation for good by making any matchup between the pair a charity bout.

“So, this was a callout because he calls himself a pro fighter. He’s got 100 pounds weight on me, and I’m like, we can make this a win-win situation,” he said. “Let’s do a charity event. Monster picks the charity, and we scrap it out. He says he’s got three pro fights. Let’s prove it. Put your money where your mouth is. You’ve got a little tiny guy calling you out for charity. Not for anything else. Why not?”

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