Fighters clap back after Dana White’s comments on UFC pay: “They eat what they kill”
UFC president Dana White has come under fire after his recent comments on fighter pay.
White recently appeared in a video for GQ Sports where he answered questions sent in by fans about himself, the organisation, and martial arts in general. After he was asked about fighter pay, a fairly controversial topic these days, White had a surprisingly candid answer.
According to White, fighters always want more money even though they “don’t deserve it.” The UFC president has been openly critical of boxing in the past and believes that the multi-million dollar salaries earned by the world’s top boxers has led to the sport’s downfall – something he does not want to see happen in MMA. Lower salaries mean hungrier fighters, which White sees as a positive.
“Fighters always want to make more money. Boxing has absolutely been destroyed because of money and all the things that go on. It’s never gonna happen while I’m here, believe me, these guys get paid what they’re supposed to get paid. They eat what they kill. They get a percentage of the pay-per-view buys and the money is spread out amongst all the fighters.”
“If you don’t like it, there’s a simple solution to this problem. Go start your own MMA organization – no barrier to entry. Knock yourself out. Pay (fighters) whatever you want to pay them. It’s been done before. How’s it worked out for other guys? Not well. Mind your business.”
Fighters who are just starting out in the UFC typically receive a base pay of $10,000. If they manage to win their fights, they take home an extra $10,000 win bonus; furthermore, if they deliver a spectacular finish, or the best fight of the night, they stand a chance at receiving an additional $50,000.
The number of post-fight bonuses are usually limited to three per event, but exceptions have been made in the past. At UFC London in March all fighters who finished their opponents received a $50,000 bonus. Such bonuses haven’t increased in the last decade, and with inflation taken into account they’re actually worth less today than they were back then.
As fighters rack up wins in the organisation, their contracts improve and they start making more money. So the answer to poor fighter pay is to just keep winning, right? Not quite. Even fighters who reach the top of their respective divisions have been known to grumble about their paychecks lately, and feel underpaid relative to their counterparts in the world of boxing.
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Luke Rockhold and Jake Paul criticise fighter pay after the UFC president’s comments!
Despite White’s claim that fighters are “paid what they deserve” many don’t agree, among them reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Other major sports organisations such as the NBA and the NFL have their athletes receiving close to half of the revenue, while the same number for the UFC is rumoured to be closer to 19%. A fact that YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul was quick to point out after White’s comments.
“No major sports organization pays its athletes as poorly as Dana White & UFC. If u don’t see that then you are one of Dana’s sheeps.
They keep talking about selling out 21 events in a row but never talking about raising fighter pay, giving them healthcare & fair revenue split.”
No major sports organization pays its athletes as poorly as Dana White & UFC. If u don’t see that then you are one of Dana’s sheeps.
They keep talking about selling out 21 events in a row but never talking about raising fighter pay, giving them healthcare & fair revenue split. https://t.co/ZdtV0MsrXk
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) August 12, 2022
Yet another fighter who is far from happy with the current pay structure is former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, who takes on Paulo Costa at UFC 278 later this month. Rockhold is of the opinion that both the salaries and the post-fight bonuses are in desperate need of adjustments, especially considering the UFC’s success in later years, 2021 being the best financial year in the company’s history.
“What the fuck are we doing here?” Rockhold said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Fucking $50,000 bonuses that are getting paid out for like two decades? What the fuck? The valuation of the company’s going up fucking billions of dollars, and we’re still stuck on $50,000 bonus checks? What the fuck is this?”