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A Look Inside the UFC Fighter Contract: Good or Bad for the Sport?

Posted on by Bleacher Report

Courtesy of Jonathan Snowden and official MMAWeekly.com content partner Bleacher Report.

Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta at UFC 129Quarterback Tom Brady will make up to $57 million in mostly guaranteed money to lead the New England Patriots over the next five seasons. Boxer Floyd Mayweather earned $32 million for a single night’s work against Robert Guerrero earlier this month. Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols will bring home a cool $16 million this year as part of an enormous 10-year contract that will pay him $240 million before it’s all said and done.

None of this, of course, is breaking news. We know these things because discussion of finances and money is part of the sports landscape in 2013—and has been for years. Generally widely reported, free-agent signings, the salary cap and individual players’ contracts have become part of the discourse for fans of almost every sport.

Except the UFC.

While the MMA promotion of record has generated more overall pay-per-view buys than boxing since hitting its stride in 2009, fighter salaries are kept under lock and key. It’s rumored that they don’t begin to approach mainstream sports money, but information is scarce. When facts do trickle out in the press, it’s sometimes shocking. Georges St-Pierre, the UFC’s welterweight champion, for example, told the Canadian press in 2011 he makes a relatively paltry $4-5 million per fight.

“People want to compare us to other sports, and in some sense that’s fair to do,” UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta said. He sat down with two key members of his team, president Dana White and general counsel Lawrence Epstein, to discuss the inner workings of the UFC’s fighter contract with Bleacher Report.

“There are a number of things that are unique to our business…First and foremost, we absorb 100 percent of all production and marketing costs associated with the event. The NFL gets a license fee from Fox. Even boxing gets a licensing fee from HBO. Those media entities then roll in and operate the entire production. They do all of the marketing. So those expenses are not borne upon the actual league or entity. In our case, we televise the entire card. There’s over a thousand people who get pay checks when we do these events. It’s a massive, massive undertaking.

“In addition to that, we’re building a sport. We’ve had to open up offices in various countries around the world, work to get laws passed in states all over the U.S. and Canada. When you actually take into account those costs that we bear, and other leagues don’t, we actually compare very favorably on an apples-for-apples basis.”

Randy Couture, one of the sport’s true legends and a UFC Hall of Famer, was loathe to complain about a career that has made him a millionaire. He understands the efforts and expense it took to build this sport from the ground up. But he couldn’t help but wonder about the discrepancy between mainstream sports money and what he and other top UFC stars are paid.

“It’s hard for me to sit here and bitch and complain about the pay I got when I made more money competing in mixed martial arts than I ever made doing anything else,” Couture told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview. “Does it irk me that Floyd Mayweather can fight one time and make $40 million? Well, that’s more than I made in my career. Yeah, that bothers me.”

White says things have changed dramatically since Couture was in his prime as a UFC champion.

“When Randy Couture says that’s more than he made in his entire career, Randy Couture’s career was in the dark ages,” White said. “He was on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter when that thing first started to take off. The money that’s in this sport now, compared to when Randy Couture was here, is night and day.”

How much UFC fighters are actually paid is a carefully guarded secret. Although some state athletic commissions are required by law to report a fighter’s base pay, most fighters are also paid a variety of bonuses that are not included in that mandatory reporting. Backroom, performance and even pay-per-view bonuses are routinely handed out—but until recently most reporters and fans didn’t know much about that process.

“We don’t give out numbers,” White told Bleacher Report. “We don’t say how much fighters get paid or what the company is making. It’s something that we don’t do and it drives people crazy.”

Enter Eddie Alvarez, a lightweight fighter who is one of the very best in his weight class outside the UFC. He’s looking to join the promotion and challenge Benson Henderson and the other top UFC stars, but is mired in a contract dispute with Bellator, a competing promotion on Spike TV.

The battle has been tough on him, emotionally and financially. Alvarez’s troubles, however, have proven to be a real boon for MMA journalists and historians. For years the UFC’s standard contract has been a mystery, a matter of speculation, but not available for the record. Thanks to Alvarez’s legal struggles, it has become a public document, an exhibit in Bellator’s case to re-sign the fighter to a “matching contract.”

More important, for our purposes, is this—Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter acquired a copy of Alvarez’s contract with the UFC’s parent company Zuffa, part of a collection of court documents now available to the public, journalists and legal minds all over the world. And some are not impressed.

“When you look at who gets the money, at the end of the day, it’s disproportionately Zuffa and disproportionately not the fighter,” Northwestern University labor law professor Zev Eigen told Bleacher Report, calling the UFC contract the worst he’s seen in the sports or entertainment fields. “None of these fighters are represented by a professional association or a union. There’s nothing that sets a minimum or basic standard below which the company can’t go. It makes sense—in any relationship like this you would expect the contract to favor the more powerful actor.

“That should be intuitive and it’s universal. If you’re contracting with Apple, you shouldn’t be surprised that Apple takes as many rights as possible. If you use iTunes in anyway they don’t like, hell, fire will rain down on you. That’s what you can expect anytime you’re contracting with an entity more powerful than you are. So too with the UFC.”

In boxing, those minimum standards are set by law, part of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act that is helping clean up a notoriously corrupt sport. In other individual sports, like tennis, players are protected by a professional association. But in mixed martial arts there are no protections at all. Fighters are left to their own devices to negotiate shark-filled waters.

“The UFC has coagulated all this genius at law. And they’ve done nothing but prosper from it,” Juanito Ibarra, former manager of UFC star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson among others, told Bleacher Report. “They’ve left managers and trainers, and most importantly, fighters out in the cold. They don’t have a voice.”

Ibarra is quick to point out that UFC isn’t the only company that preys on fighters, usually young guys he says have never had a dime to their name and are just happy to be on television and making a little bit of money.

“It’s with all the promoters,” Ibarra said. “The promoters, all they do is copy each other’s contracts. They hire a lawyer, and he tweaks it, but it’s all copy and paste.”

As a private company, the UFC doesn’t have to report its revenues, cash flow or profit margins to anyone. According to a recent profile in Fast Company, the promotion makes in the neighborhood of $600 million per year, though Fertitta says that number is overstated. The UFC is worth north of $2 billion, making it a more valuable property than even the legendary New York Yankees, Major League Baseball’s perpetual cash machine.

Yet despite this success, Fertitta told ESPN that in the seven years since the company started regularly turning a profit, they’ve paid out just $250 million total to the athletes, a far cry from the 47 percent of total revenue the NFL’s players split.

Instead, according to Ibarra, the UFC pays fighters just enough to quell discontent. The promotion often sends fighters high-ticket gifts in lieu of guaranteed money or significant revenue sharing.

“You buy a guy a car and it’s going to keep his mouth shut,” Ibarra said. “They try to run their lives. And they give them a diamond watch worth a hundred grand. Then they put them on a TV show and take their rights away.”

Feritta disagrees.

“We’ve created, literally, nearly 70 millionaires since we took this thing over,” he said. “And some of them multi, multimillionaires.”

Couture, who has battled the UFC under two different ownership groups, is one of those multimillionaires. But while he was hesitant to complain publicly about pay days that have made him rich, he said fighters may be getting a little less than is ideal.

“The biggest issue is between what the promoter’s making from all the pay-per-views and everything else versus how much all the fighters who fought in that single year made. That number maybe needs to shift a little bit,” Couture admitted.

“It’s such a fine line. The promoter feels like he’s entitled. He’s spent money, done a ton of things to market the sport and create a vehicle that’s good for the fighter. But at the same time, it’s the fighter who walks up in that cage. Does the training and puts it on the line and is sweating and bleeding. One doesn’t work without the other. So some kind of more equitable arrangement makes sense.”

After analyzing it for several days, Bleacher Report has come up with some interesting points you should know about the contract every fighter has to sign to gain entry to the UFC. Adding expertise and nuance to the discussion are Eigen and Ibarra, who went over the contract with us term by term to share their thoughts.

Fertitta, White and Epstein also lent their perspective.

“Ask any questions you want,” White told Bleacher Report. “We’ll sit and walk you through everything.”

Bleacher Report went on to do just that.

To read the full article and to go through the finer points of the UFC’s fighter contracts, point by point, with commentary from both the UFC’s representatives and those critical of the contract, continue reading by clicking here.

Be sure to Like MMAWeekly.com on Facebook and Follow @MMAWeeklycom on Twitter.

  • urdooomb

    Wow! Bold move on bleacher report! Finally, a journalist with enough balls.

    Fertitta’s reasons made NO SENSE. First, he argues that the payout is so little in MMA because the promoter, rather than the broadcaster bears the costs of production. Just wow!!!! This is such a retarded argument. He considers ppl to be tools. This is disrespectful.

    Imagine it costs $20 to produce a UFC show and the total revenue is expected to be $100. HBO could collect $100, subtract $20, plus a percentage profit, and pay Zuffa, say, $70. Or, Zuffa could collect $100, subtract $20, then pay HBO broadcasting fees (say $10), and keep $70.

    At the end of the day, that is the dumbest explanation I’ve ever heard. It’s like bombarding little kids with complex math formulas in hopes that kids forget about the original question.

    Fertitta’s second answer. “We are still a new sport.” WTF???? You guys killed the boxing PPV each year. New, old, or established, you made more money than boxing.

    Then Dana’s classic explanation, namely, that the UFC only discloses A SMALL portion of fighter salary and pays an enormouse “locker room” “back room” or whatever he calls it BONUS!

    WOW!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hugh-Shakeshaft/100003573348840 Hugh Shakeshaft

      Move to Venezuala. Sounds like you’d fit right in.

      • urdooomb

        Move to Tennessee, you would fit right in there with other red necks talking about free market and shhhheeee~t!

    • pete samp

      You sound like an immature, uneducated, idiot.
      Grow up. You’re a troll. Use you’re real name with you’re bold talk child.

      • urdooomb

        haha typical TUF noob.

        Attack my argument, not my character.

        You probably can’t have a single cogent argument without attacking the character of the person.

  • urdooomb

    This is classic!!!

    “We’ve created, literally, nearly 70 millionaires since we took this thing over,”

    HAHA! Ever player in the NBA, MLB, and NFL are millionaires. Yes, even the bench warmers.

    • bajafox

      If Dana White wanted to pay them nickels and pennies, he has every single right as a private company to do so. This is his RIGHT.

      The NBA, MLB, NFL, etc. were all taken over by these unions and squeezed for every penny. What was the result? $25 dollar parking fee’s, $10 beers, $100 nose bleed seats, and the list goes on. Who do you think ends up paying for these outrageous contracts? We do. It comes out of YOUR pocket whether you like it or not. So keep on bitching and whining about fighter salaries and how they get screwed. If you feel so bad about it, send them a personal check. I’m fine with the way it is now, I can barely afford a $45 PPV. Boxing PPVs are $60, do you wanna pay that much for a PPV? If you do, send Dana the $15 difference and tell him to spit it to each fighter on the card on your behalf.

      • urdooomb

        “I’m fine with the way it is now, I can barely afford a $45 PPV. Boxing PPVs are $60, do you wanna pay that much for a PPV?”

        higher payout –> quality athletes –> more mainstream exposure –> quality fights –> better for everyone.

        I would pay $60 for a PPV if the main card was filled with NBA level talents.

        • bajafox

          ursodumb, they ALREADY HAVE ALL THE TOP ATHLETES, lol

          omg ursodumbest

          • urdooomb

            you sound so dumb. The NBA in its inception had all the best basketball players AT THAT TIME in the world. duh!!

            It’s attracting new talent you moron.

            The wallstreet payout is structured as it is not only to compensate the smart people currently employed but also to attract new blood away from other high-paying industries such as medicine, law, and engineering.

            You sound SOOOO dumb.

          • bajafox

            LOL, the UFC has no competitor smart guy, do you even know how capitalism works? They are obviously doing something right since they’ve pretty much put any promoter with fatter pockets than them out of business.

            I hope you’re not an economics teacher, your students would be doomed

          • urdooomb

            what are you talking about. UFC has no competitors. Is the entry into the market easy…well yeah… Is it the entry into the high-quality MMA market difficult…of course..

            I mean…barrier to entry into which market???

            More importantly, I have no idea where you are going with this observation.

            We are talking about whether or not fighters are underpaid when compared to other major sports.

            All you are saying is that the UFC, as a monopoly, has the right to reap monopoly profit. Yeah…I agree. But legal right does not mean fairness bro.

        • kbroesq

          You’re assuming that the pay right now is at a point where people need to have part time jobs or something. That may be the case for some of the lower end guys, but not the middle and top guys. We’re talking about the difference between making 6 figures a year and 7. Or for some guys, between making 7 and 8.

          GSP isn’t going to get better training because he goes from getting 15-20 million a year to 50 million.

          • urdooomb

            you are a retardo.

            GSP will not get better.

            But more athletic dudes that would have gone to the NFL or boxing would consider MMA as an option.

          • kbroesq

            You’re a complete idiot. Yeah, that’s what we want; people getting into MMA for the money. I can assure you, you freaking moron, there is not one person out there who would be an amazing mixed martial artist NOT going into the profession because the money isn’t good enough.

            All the people who would love MMA and would be the best at it are already pursuing it, notwithstanding the money. Again, you’re an idiot and your comments make people dumber.

            Stop trying to sound like a smart person; you’re not. You’re an idiot trying to sound smart. Deal with it.

      • http://twitter.com/Uncanny390 Timothy Malone

        Exactly. People who complain just dont understand how economics work. Each side offers something and if they BOTH like it then they will sign the contract. That’s fair. No one holds a gun to the fighter’s head.

        • urdooomb

          So…statutory rape should be banned? Oh wait….minors cannot give meaningful consent..

          In a developed nation, the concept of coercion is much broader than what you have in mind my friend…lol!!! “gun to a fighter’s head.” lol!!

          You sound dooomb.

          • http://twitter.com/Uncanny390 Timothy Malone

            Obviously everyone involved here is a rational adult and not children…
            The UFC is not coercing them, but if you think they are and it should be changed in their favor then that would just be coercing the UFC. The fair thing is to let the two parties negotiate the terms themselves. If the contract is not worth it to the fighter then the fighter simply doesn’t sign.

          • urdooomb

            You are holding on to a view that is contrary to how real life works buddy.

      • urdooomb

        Actually, public companies can pay whatever they want too. Private vs Public has no bearing on pay.

        The rest of your comment is garbage.

    • MMAreality

      No one of the most false statements made on mmaweekly. Alfred Morris is one of the lowest paid players and makes just over 300,000 a year. If he were to play for 3 years he would not even make a million dollars in his career. There are many players that make it to the pros and don’t see a million dollars. Do some research so you can avoid looking like an idiot before you make a comment.

      • urdooomb

        I knew that. The guys that sit on the bench for three years and get pushed out when the term ends will make little less than a million.

        What are you trying to say?

        • MMAreality

          HAHA! Ever player in the NBA, MLB, and NFL are millionaires. Yes, even the bench warmers.

          You stated this doomb comment. Are you that dumb that you can’t realize that you stated something and someone called you out on your stupidity.

          • urdooomb

            okay $900k instead of $1million for NBA guys that get pushed out in 3 years….WOW!!! Such a huge difference!!!

            So it is not true the NBA guys are all millionaires because some dudes make $900k instead of $1million.

            You are laughable.

  • urdooomb

    and….where are the usual UFC fan boys?

    Come and defend Zuffa!

    • http://twitter.com/ShowtymeShawn Shawn Steinberg

      So what does that make you a UFC Hater?So your perspective is any more justified?

      • urdooomb

        nope. I am a UFC fan, but not a fanboy.

        • MMAreality

          Explain this fanboy vs fan

          • urdooomb

            not gonna explain. You know the difference.

          • MMAreality

            No please explain the difference I really want to know what you have to say!

          • urdooomb

            you sound dooomb

  • Joe

    As someone who fought during the days of promoters giving you tickets to sell for your purse, I’d say that these guys are doing pretty good now. Fighters want to get to the ufc, that’s because that is where the best of the best are, just like nfl, nba, mlb. The problem is once people make it to the show it becomes about money first, love of the sport second. Bottom line is if you sign a contract then that’s what you are getting paid, you want boxing money, go there, make $200 per fight until you prove you are elite, then you can be the one in 100000 boxers that make money. Bottom line is until a better promotion comes along, these are the fighters percentages, and almost every fighter in mma wants ufc money, so if ufc is so bad for what they pay, what does that say about every other organization

    • urdooomb

      dude, you are comparing UFC fighters (the best MMA fighters in the world; UFC=major league) with you???

      Umm…yeah…I think it is ridiculous that you compare yourself to UFC guys.

      • Joe

        No not comparing UFC fighters with me, secondly I’m not even comparing UFC fighters of today to the UFC fighters of the days when it was NHB. What I am stating is that these guys want to fight, and they would be fighting even if there was no money in it at all. And if they are not happy with UFC money go elsewhere to get what they want, I just wish them luck trying to find anything else that they can do and make what they make with the UFC.

      • Pizza-boy

        Quit moaning and bitchin u moron! If u don’t like it u can suck Dana’s ****. I hate to see ur disgusting comments bellow every article… Just leave. Why cant u just behave like combatsciencemma guy?

  • http://twitter.com/ShowtymeShawn Shawn Steinberg

    Give me a F’n break. Your going to get paid WAY more in the UFC than any other MMA promotion so if you don’t like it, then too bad go fight elsewhere and make even less. At least in the UFC there is an opportunity for you to make millions of dollars, can Bellator offer you that? Or fighting on AXS TV. Lorenzo made some great points about the UFC having to endure 100% of Production and marketing costs which other sports don’t have to do as well as the UFC is unique in that they are building a sport here, it’s in it’s infancy. Are other promotions pitching in on that? No. UFC has spent millions worldwide to promote and help grow the sport. DO they gain from it? Sure. But so do every other MMA Org. and Fighter. The bigger the sport gets the more EVERYONE gets paid.

    • urdooomb

      haha.. UFC pays better than other MMA org so you can’t complain.

      Nice logic!!! HAHA! Your dad, who is a bastard that abuses your mom, is better than your friend’s dad, who is a bastard that abuses his mom and his sister, so you have nothing to complain.

      nice argument!! typical UFC doombass fanboy.

      • Sir_Roy

        Troll.

  • bajafox

    “None of these fighters are represented by a professional association or a union.”

    GOOD. Keep it that way. Unions destroy just about everything they touch. If a fighter doesn’t like his pay, DO SOMETHING ELSE. Very, very, very simple solution to their problem.

    • urdooomb

      u sound dooomb

    • allan m

      Always the least knowledgeable with the biggest mouths…

      • urdooomb

        bajafox is pretty dooomb.

        But he runs his doomb mouth all the time like a lil biiiatch

    • adam1848

      Yeah, like a minimum wage, workers compensation, shift hour limits, workers safety requirements, child labor laws, representation within the work place…unions have done nothing good for this country.

  • urdooomb

    Eddie Alvarez makes $80k per fight!!!!!

  • urdooomb

    Typical UFC fan boy talk:

    (1) Sh*t 80K is still better than what i make flipping burgers….(drum roll) therefore UFC does not underpay its fighters!!!!

    (2) 80k does not include locker room bonuses and condom depot endorsement fees, which combined should be $2million easy. thumbs up!!!

    (3) UFC is still growing. It is a new sport. Therefore the payout will reach $30million per championship bout by year 2412.

    (4) I refuse to read this contract.

    (5) It is a good thing for the fans that fighters are getting underpaid because any type of boxing promotion or fighters’ union would destroy MMA. <–haha!

  • dan

    Mayweather and Pac are the only fighters who make 30 mil per fight. How much do you think Guerrero would make on his own if he fought someone who wasnt those 2. Or how about Amir Kahn? I bet he barely cracks a million if that and he doesnt even get PPV $ because he doesnt headline any. I bet Machida and Hendo made more $ than any guy on the card of Money/Guerrero other than those two.

    • urdooomb

      That’s because those guys fail to attract viewers. MMA fighters attract more viewers for sure. You can’t compare MMA fighter’s salary with those paid out in a dying sport to justify the amount.

      Dude. Why not pick a thriving sport.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000468891939 Liemian Bresenio

    So many comments regarding ufc contracts vs other mma orgs vs other pro sports.

    READ THE ARTICLE!!!!!

    It goes into sale of fighters personal image, residuals and even TATTOO BRAND IMAGE OWNERSHIP. These contracts are NOT like other mma orgs they are taking ownership of a fighter’s personal appearance and trademarks, effectively preventing from branding themselves elsewhere. I’m not saying this makes the UFC an evil empire (they have to have some ownership of image in order to promote the damn shows) but READ THE ARTICLE before you rant about the numbers.

    • urdooomb

      Well, UFC could have agreed to pay the fighters for the rights to images (in annual royalty stream) in consideration for assignment of the rights.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    All I have to say is great article! At this time I’am not an expert in the field of network deals and fighters contracts so I have no right to make any negative comments towards Lorenzo or Dana; guys who put their own money into a dying promotion and ended up helping to build the greatest sport, IMO. There are many other promotions out there and many talented fighters all over the world. Everyone runs their promotions differently and have to build themselves up just like the UFC did. It takes time, care and patience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.mcdowall.14 Mark McDowall

    Here’s the bottom line…if the fighter doesn’t like how he/she is being “paid” they can always try to re-negotiate or quit. They aren’t indentured servants..

    If I was working for a company who said…hey instead of paying you XXX amount…we’ll pay you XX and give you a car. I would be happy with that. And If I needed the money that bad then sell the car…its not a difficult thing to understand

    • urdooomb

      “Here’s the bottom line…if the fighter doesn’t like how he/she is being
      “paid” they can always try to re-negotiate or quit. They aren’t
      indentured servants..”

      Dude.. that’s like saying if you don’t agree with the U.S. legal system then move to another country.

      Given that the only org that puts on high-quality MMA shows is the UFC, I have a feeling the fighters do not have that kind of choice buddy.

      Bellator and One FC and other local circuses are market followers. They follow UFC’s terms. In a truly competitive market, your argument would make sense. But not in the MMA market. Get real.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mark.mcdowall.14 Mark McDowall

        Thats exactly what I’m saying…the UFC does has the market cornered, so they can pay their fighters however they want, if people want to be in the big show then they will do things the way the UFC wants. If they don’t like it…they’ve got 2 choices…leave or shut up and deal with it. No one is making them fight in the UFC.

        So yes if you don’t like the US legal system you are more than welcome to move to another country…nothing is keeping you here.

        • urdooomb

          You don’t like your wife’s boobs. Therefore, get a divorce??? Probably not unless you have a better choice.

          • kbroesq

            Your analogies are so far from apt that it’s funny. Your name is ‘urdoomb’, but you’re clearly the dumbest person on this board.

        • http://twitter.com/julianmoranart julian moran

          If your child attended a top school, but her teacher molested her. Would you tell your child, “change schools or shut up”?
          That’s about as smart as your argument sounds.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mark.mcdowall.14 Mark McDowall

            Not sure how commiting a sex crime against a minor and the pay scale of professional athletes are related, but if thats the analogy you come up with then ok.

            Thousands of people everyday quit jobs because they are unhappy with the amount they are paid. The company they left could be the best in that specific field …but if they need/want more money thats the decision they have to make.

      • kbroesq

        Wow you’re dumb. I actually agree with conclusion that most fighters are paid enough, but you don’t understand the concept of a monopoly. You think it’s that easy; that the market is just perfect, and if the fighters don’t want to fight, then they don’t have to.

        Guess what, the UFC is the only real organization out there if you want to become big. I’ll teach you a word you don’t seem to know. It’s called leverage. The UFC has all the leverage over the fighters, and that’s something that can be dangerous and can undermine your simple-minded free market idiocy.

        Seriously, read a book.

    • urdooomb

      indentured servitude does not mean what you have in mind buddy.

      U sound dooomb.

  • urdooomb

    bajafox is dooomb

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hugh-Shakeshaft/100003573348840 Hugh Shakeshaft

    Read the articles and read the comments. There’s a lot of democrats that love MMA. It’s a free market. Sign with Bellator or M1 Global. Cry me a river Barney Frank nut huggers. The market bears what the market bears and each man in a free society accepts the consequences. Move to Venezuela if you want Socialism.

    • urdooomb

      that’s not what your wife told me last night. she said you constantly moan about your job.

  • Muay Thai

    Haha total cop out to the question by Fertita.

    In short, UFC fighters are being raped. This is the result of UFC buying out their competition (i.e. Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, etc.). In order for MMA fighters to make REAL money, there needs to have a major organizations to exists. I cant help but feel sorry for UFC fighters.

    What St Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and other major UFC players is what B-class fighters in boxing make.

  • Muay Thai

    Total Monopoly. Smart busines move for UFC. But fighters are the once getting screwed. No wonder Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz wants to ditch MMA for boxing.

  • MMAreality

    I don’t hear Jones, Silva, GSP or any other top fighters complaining about this. Seems to me that these guys are content making their millions. I see what the UFC is saying. Guys that played in the NFL in the early days didn’t make all the money or even comparable to the value of the dollar today that NFL players are making now. The business will continue to grow and these guys will make more and more money.

    • urdooomb

      You saw the math didn’t you????

      The article states that you have to sell something like 13.6 million PPVs to get MMA to boxing’s level under the current payout structure.

      MMA will never get to 13.6 million PPV.

  • JRod

    MMA Fighters are some of the worst paid athletes in pro sports without question. I know a sponsor of a fighter in the UFC, and he said that these guys are ruthless when negotiating… Even just maybe a $1,000.00 more bc these guys can’t work and train! The majority of the fighters on the main card get less than $15,000.00… they are working 3-4 months for that amount. It’s really sad when you think of how much these guys risk their bodies compared to other sports, and how much of their lives the sport encompasses. Just a shame.

  • urdooomb

    Essentially, it is very difficult to put blame on anyone since each party is making the best decision for him/her/itself.

    the fighters won’t form a union because unions are difficult to form, especially when the UFC has policy against it. Why??? Most likely because the UFC doesn’t want to pay more to fighters.

    The UFC is making money and obviously doesn’t feel the need to change anything.

    In the past, the WAMMA thing tried to build a union-type of coalition. And Randy, Sylvia, Barnett, Arlovski, Fedor, and other top fighters were members. But it crumbled down quickly as soon as affliction folded. And many of those guys ran back to Dana and started talking badly of WAMMA.

  • robc

    Ultimately none of our opinions matter… The UFC is a privately held company and as such they can do whatever they want with respect to contracts. Are the payscales unfair? For the lower tier fighters yes. Do fighters have the opportunity to make more money? Yes, it’s called “fight bonuses”… Can’t count how many fights I’ve watched since Dana instituted the bonuses where the fighters did anything but fight. The UFC rewards exciting fighters (win or lose). Want to make more money? Fight like they smacked your girlfriend’s ass. I very much doubt any form of public outcry (ironically from those of us who buy PPV and support the UFC financially) will change the way the UFC does business. For the record, I feel a union is a horrible idea. Unions are keeping the UFC out of New York… The day of the union is long past with the revisions to labor law over the last 50 years. Now it seems like it is the union organizations themselves that are making money off their members and wielding far too much power outside of their supposed sphere of influence.

    • urdooomb

      Ultimately none of our opinion matter. <–lol @ this dooomb comment.

  • candelario

    Mayweather made $30 million and Guerrero made $3 million in one fight… MMA salaries are for suckers

  • Darin

    “We’ve created, literally, nearly 70 milionaires….”
    I had no strong opinion on this piece until I read THAT. F*** you, Lorenzo. YOU created THEM???? No. You assisted in giving them an opportunity and they did the work to make the most of it. And you profited hugely from them.
    That comment was very indicative of a spoiled brat who inherited his wealth.

    Dana and the Ferts still seem to carry this attitude that “WE created this. This is OURS”. No, you bought a pre-existing company and with the help of countless fighters busting their asses, it has become a huge success. Congrats, but you didn’t do all the work and don’t deserve all the credit.

    Companies that have tried to do it better, fairer, i.e. Affliction, get steamrolled and bought out by the UFC.

    • urdooomb

      Yeah, all that “but for the UFC, these guys would have had no where to profit from fighting” doesn’t justify paying $80k per fight.

  • rapidfire

    first MMA is still no no where near the boxing industries.
    boxing still has the massive appeal all over the world.
    very simple. if you don’t like the pay, then don’t sign with UFC. go sign with Bellator to see if you get more money.if not go start your own MMA organization and pay fighters far more than UFC does. it’s a free world. UFC has every right to pay its fighters whatever they set forth.

  • Dan

    What s dumb headline for an article. ” ufc contract good or bad for the sport” really??? It is the sport. There is no sport without the ufc and its contracts , which happen yo be the best in the sport. That’s like saying ” NFL contracts: good or bad for the sport?”
    Than you have un intelligent morons that hide behind alias lime “urdoomb”( what an idiot) responding like he’s pat militich minus the brain power trying to troll his way through everyone’s more educated comments.

    • urdooomb

      dude…you need to learn English bro.
      I can’t make out what you are saying.

  • Since1993

    Pathetic.
    Fighters are effectively puzzy whipped–sad.
    It’s been long enough. Time for a Fighters Union.

  • Since1993

    A Fighters Union rides on these key figures in the sport:
    Jon Jones (major PPV draw)
    GSP (major PPV draw)
    Anderson (major PPV draw)
    Ronda Rousey (cross-over star)
    Bob Cook (AKA/Zinkin Entertainment)
    Ed Soares (Black House)
    Greg Jackson (Jackson’s MMA)
    Malki Kawa (First Round Management)
    Randy Couture, Minotauro (elder statesmen)

    .

    • urdooomb

      oh man…half of those guys are very content with what they are making.

      Ronda is NOT going to jeopardize her career (which is still at its inception) and chance to make a few million because of undercard boys are mkaing $7k.

      It is extremely difficulty to form a Union when the employer has a policy against the union and the top guys are content with what they make.

      Wamma was the closest thing to a union with big name dudes at the time. But once the funds dried up, you saw how people ran over to the UFC talking crap on Wamma.

      One dude (I am not going to mention his name) had money dispute with the UFC, thought he could go elsewhere and milk smaller orgs only to find out that no one is that crazy, then joined affliction as a jester, talked crap on Dana White and rode Fedor’s nuts, and then once Affliction folded ran back to Dana and started talking crap on affliction.

  • gnodeb

    You can say that UFC can not operate without fighters. But UFC can not operate without cameramen too. Also, cameramen can not operate without camera, and camera is made in China by some 12 year old kid. All in all, every single kid in China need to be millionaire because Feritta brothers know how to promote MMA fights.

    So, why are they talking only about fighters union? What about cameramen’s union? What about rest of the world? My company is not spending 50% of profit on my salary…

    Also, this journalist should give 50% of his salary to the UFC because this article is not possible without UFC. Other 50% should go to readers, because without us his job would not exist.

    • urdooomb

      obviously the world does not exist my friend.

      You are using Southpark logic and it is not even funny.

      Pretty much under your theory everyone that gets physically injured must sue God since but for God there wouldn’t have been all this.

      Do you know how stupid you sound?

      Even without cameraman there can be UFC events, just not televised. Without fighters, there cannot be fights.

      • gnodeb

        I just used logic I found in this article and it should be obvious I don’t agree with it.

        • urdooomb

          I don’t think you fully understand the logic in the article.

          You simply can’t argue, but for Fedor’s dad impregnating Fedor’s mom 35 years ago, there would have been no Fedor vs Cro Cop. Therefore, Fedor’s dad, rather than Fedor was the necessity for that fight.

          • gnodeb

            This should be regulated by open market. If you can earn more in other company, just go there. If they don’t want you, there is no reason to use them as an example because they obviously are not going to give you that money.
            What I earlier said was my disagreement with the idea that fighters deserve more just because UFC is making a lot…

          • urdooomb

            omg…the point is that monopoly can lead to anti-competition.

            Open market? What market? You can go fight for the UFC, which is lightyears ahead of its competitors or…(drum roll)….its competitors that are light years behind…

            What a market!!!!

          • gnodeb

            If union somehow damage UFC to close the gap between them and other promotions, will that increase or decrease fighters salaries?
            If union decide that $100k is minimum… will that hurt UFC or Bellator?

          • urdooomb

            Union will not do $100k for both UFC and Bellator. If it asks $100k for UFC, it will ask $50k for Bellator.

            Now for the lower ranked guys, it may ask the same pay.

  • kbroesq

    It bothers Couture that Mayweather gets 40 million per fight and that’s more than he made in his whole career? Why!? You’re greedy; that’s why. Who cares what that idiot makes. Boxing is a joke. If boxing was a country, it would have no middle class. There would be a bunch of poor people, and a very few rich. Guess what that structure does in the long term? Boxing will never go away, but it’s already gone down to a point where people are only watching a couple fights a year because the sport is controlled by the fighters and the promoters instead of a league, like the UFC.

    Stop looking what other people make! GSP said 4-5 million per fight and that’s paltry!? Guess what, if he fights three times, he’s up to 15 million in a year. Well, you’re already in the same neighborhood as some of those other top sports figures. Also, I don’t just accept everything White or Fertitta say, but some of what they are saying is legitimate. The sport is still in its infancy, relative to other sports that have been established for nearly (or more than) a century.

    If people want to complain about fighter pay, start complaining about the guys on the lower end. I think Roy Nelson made 24k in his last fight. That’s ridiculous. But stop complaining about the top guys. They make enough…period.

    • urdooomb

      You just said it yourself. Boxing = joke but 120lbs mayweather makes more than Cain Velasquez, the baddest man on the planet.

      Also, Randy is one of those guys that keeps himself out of these debates. I am sure he has much more to complain. He just wants to keep it cool.

      Having said that, the pay disparity in MMA is ridiculous too. Eddie Alvarez, Roy nelson and other middle of the pack dudes can’t even earn $100k per fight.

  • Bwert

    Yeah, lets have corrupt unions take over the sport, oh yeah boxing is real healthy too, because of the corrupt promoters. The UFC would be broke if it wasn’t for Dana White and the Fertittas. If the fighters don’t like the pay, don’t fight for the UFC or don’t fight at all. The UFC is a company, and we are free to make our own choices

  • doc

    greed will always bring good companies down. it always has, and it always will. the UFC will be no different.