UFC president Dana White says fighter pay within the group will not change dramatically whereas he is in his present place, telling GQ in a video published Thursday that he believes fighters “receives a commission what they’re purported to receives a commission.”
The subject of fighter pay has been a hot-button difficulty in MMA for years and was thrust additional into the highlight by YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul in recent months. White has stated he believes high-profile boxers are overpaid and reiterated within the GQ interview that he thinks UFC fighters are paid extra fairly.
“Boxing has completely been destroyed due to cash and all of the issues that go on,” White stated. “It is by no means gonna occur whereas I am right here. Imagine me, these guys receives a commission what they’re purported to receives a commission. They eat what they kill. They get a proportion of the pay-per-view buys. And the cash is unfold out amongst all of the fighters.”
UFC pays fighters round 20% of its income, in response to information unearthed through the ongoing antitrust lawsuit introduced by some former fighters in opposition to the promotion. Different main sports activities leagues, such because the NFL, NBA and MLB, share round half of their income with gamers, however these leagues are unionized and athletes are capable of collectively discount by way of gamers’ associations. MMA fighters, and people within the UFC particularly, do not have something comparable at the moment.
“Boxing has completely been destroyed, due to cash and all of the issues that go on. It is by no means gonna occur whereas I am right here. Imagine me, these guys receives a commission what they’re purported to receives a commission. They eat what they kill. They get a proportion of the pay-per-view buys. And the cash is unfold out amongst all of the fighters.” Dana White, on pay raises in UFC
UFC fighters are labeled as impartial contractors, which might make collective bargaining troublesome legally. A number of makes an attempt at unionizing UFC fighters have failed prior to now 10 years, together with one by former baseball agent Jeff Borris.
“There aren’t too many issues you possibly can discuss s— concerning the UFC about,” White informed GQ. “In the event you have a look at what we have carried out with the enterprise the final 22 years, it is unbelievable. By no means been carried out, ever, the issues we have carried out within the battle enterprise. You at all times should have one thing to bitch about, I suppose. And fighters at all times need to make more cash.”
White and executives from UFC dad or mum firm Endeavor have argued that fighter pay has gone up exponentially over the previous decade, although UFC’s income has additionally grown steeply since then.
“No main sports activities group pays its athletes as poorly as Dana White & UFC,” Paul tweeted in response to White’s GQ feedback. “If u do not see that then you’re certainly one of Dana’s sheeps. They preserve speaking about promoting out 21 occasions in a row however by no means speaking about elevating fighter pay, giving them healthcare & honest income cut up.”
The antitrust lawsuit filed in opposition to UFC in 2014 by former fighters, together with Cung Le, claims the promotion is a monopoly or a monopsony, controlling the overwhelming majority of the game’s market share, locking fighters intro restrictive contracts that do not permit them to check their worth on the open market and suppressing wages.
The lawsuit is led by fighters from the MMA Fighters Affiliation, which doesn’t need unionization. As an alternative, the MMAFA would love boxing’s Muhammad Ali Act, which provides contractual safety to boxers, to be prolonged to MMA. That extension to MMA was introduced up as a invoice to the Home of Representatives by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., in 2017 however has since been caught in legislative limbo. The UFC has spent tons of of hundreds lobbying in opposition to the potential legislation.
In 2020, a federal decide stated he would grant class certification within the antitrust case, making it a category motion that will permit a higher variety of fighters to be paid a share of what may very well be billions in damages. The decide, Richard Boulware, has not made class certification official, and the case appears poised to proceed for a lot of extra years.
“The UFC has established a pay construction that pays fighters lower than 20% of income,” MMAFA founder Rob Maysey informed ESPN. “The one strategy to decide what fighters are ‘purported to receives a commission’ is to take away the contractual restraints the UFC imposes and convey true competitors for fighter providers to the market.”