Fernandes was notified that his contract wouldn't be renewed when it expires at the end of the month.
“I wasn’t mad at them,” Fernandes told MMA Fighting. “Do I think they could have offered me more fights? 100 percent. I was out for three years basically and they could have offered me more fights. Was I a bit upset? I was, but that’s life. Many people in the world work hard, give their lives for the company they work for, and in the end [the company] owners say ‘Thank you for your work,’ and that’s it. I was sad, but what can I do? Life goes on.”
Fernandes holds the ONE Championship record for most title fight wins, and that's even with him sitting out for years. He lost his title to John Lineker in March 2022 and then lost to Stephen Loman in November 2022 and hasn't fought since. The promotion dropped many of its MMA fights in 2023 but announced it would reinvigorate MMA in 2024.
Bibiano Fernandes warns fellow fighters 'You have to be very careful'
But it sounds like his experience with ONE wasn't all good. In fact, Fernandes wanted to say more but said his contract wouldn't allow him to reveal certain details.
“There are things I wanted [to say] but I can’t say much because they might come at me,” Fernandes said. “I was supposed to be an ambassador for the promotion, but that didn’t happen. And thinking about it now, it’s for the best. I believe a lot in energy. If the energy isn’t there, I don’t need to force anything. If they don’t see what I’ve done for the organization, there’s nothing I can do.”
He also issued a warning for fighters considering signing with ONE Championship in the future.
“Many athletes go through difficulties,” Fernandes said. “If you’re a fighter and you’re thinking about fighting for ONE Championship, brother, think twice before you decide to go there.. You have to be very careful. Athletes have to think before — you want to fight there? Go, brother, but there’s a moment in life where you have to make decisions about whether or not this is what you really want.”