Dana White Responds to ESPN’s Fighter Pay Piece

January 16, 2012
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ESPN’s Outside the Lines looked into the UFC’s pay structure recently, and now UFC president Dana White has posted his response.

In this 12-minute video, Dana White takes ESPN to task for their fighter pay video and article.

Check out the video below:

  • dana is bitching on how they do a 40 minute piece and turn it around and make it look all bad.UFC has been doing that for years with the ultimate fighter making certain fighters look like the villain,and the same with promo pieces leading to fights, making people’s interviews sound bad and showing it too there opponent to create tension between the fighters.dana can’t yell at them for trying to switch things up to make it sound better for what the want the article to depict.only arugument dana can have is espn don’t like ufc,thats about it.besides that he’s a hypocrite.

    • TUF is “reality” TV and for entertainment purposes. Same thing with the promo material leading into PPV’s. The ESPN story is supposed to be NEWS based on fact. Are you telling me you can’t differentiate between the two? LOL

      • Are you telling me you believe the “news” on television is based on fact moreso than a reality tv show? LOL If you really believe the news is more fact-based and unbiased than any reality tv show then it doesn’t look like you’re getting off of the short bus any time soon. LOL If it’s on television, it’s for entertainment purposes, bottom line.

    • Premium

      It’s nothing short of absurd to compare ESPN…a sports news network to a reality TV show. There are ethical questions to be raised about a news network spinning and editing interviews to force a particular ideal. The same cannot be said for a reality TV show…where anyone with half an ounce of common sense knows what goes on there.

      Not to mention, even if the UFC vilifies a fighter by making them the “bad guy” on TUF, they’re still raising their profile, putting them in the spotlight, and thus increasing what they will get paid, and bringing in sponsors.

  • pooby

    It looks bad that they keep going back to Chuck and Forrest (2 guys who’ve been treated like royalty by the UFC) over and over. Where are all these other fighters who think the UFC spoils them?

    • If the UFC is sooooooooo terrible to work for why does every fighter they cut make it their top priority to win a few fights in other organizations so they can get back in the UFC?

      • because the ufc has a monopoly on the sport,just because the ufc pays them more then other shows,it doesn’t mean they don’t feel like ufc could give them more money.

    • jared499

      They also did a decent amount of time with Matt Serra. Who own a 7-7 record in the UFC. And the majority of those fights were before the time he spent on “TUF”, which elevated a stalled career. During the time after the TUF finale, his record was 2-3. Therefore, I think that it is safe to say that the bulk of his good fortune was earned while his record was sub-500. I agree that many of these fighters are not making a lot of money, but it is the same in all sports. You have you Tom Brady’s and you have you the other 1000 players who recieve the league minimum. An article in July stated that according to ESPN, 1000 out 1890 NFL players recieve the league minimum. And as stated, the UFC is not the NFL money making machine, (yet). And still over half of the players make the league minimum, and they have a union.

  • Prodigy815

    Use that few million Tito got to pay the other fighters,nobody pays to watch him haha.

  • chuckalugk

    Fighters have the opportunity to make a lot of money, but it all based on their performance. If you are putting butts in the seats and selling PPV’s you’ll get paid.

  • afk

    forrest had a great point about fighters being based on their drawing power, he articulated the thought very well.

    basic idea here is if you don’t understand stop trying and watch a different sport

  • Darren2112

    I think Fertitta came across really well in this interview.

    from what I can put together, there is no way a guy can fight in the UFC three times a year and not make $100k. You win, you get paid, you don’t, you move on.

    That doesnt include sponsorships, appearances, clothing lines, etc, etc, etc…

    The thing about all pro athletes is they only are pro athletes until they are about 30-35 years old. They can then start a different career and work until they are 65 like the rest of us. They don’t have to make enough to last them a lifetime during their 10 year sports career. The smart ones find a way to leverage their fame or whatever and use that to further their next career. Coaching, announcing, whatever.

    Getting back to the UFC, I think the pay scale will continue to rise with revenues and then will likely stabalize along the lines of the other major spo sports. And really, what’s wrong with that?

    • Lesnardo

      “That doesnt include sponsorships, appearances, clothing lines, etc, etc, etc…”

      Lol! Do you know how much those things pay out compared to endorsements from MAJOR companies. Condom Depot vs Nike. Acai vs Coke.

      “The thing about all pro athletes is they only are pro athletes until they are about 30-35 years old. They can then start a different career and work until they are 65 like the rest of us.”

      You are either really young or naive. Start a new career at the age of 35???

      Tell me, what type of job takes a resume with no job experience or education except “10 years of fighting in various organizations including Strikeforce, UFC, PRIDE, Bellator, and M-1.”???

      • bbtakayama

        Most of these fighters have a college education. If you are too stupid to get a job when you are 35, you should kill yourself right now.

  • sb

    This is to all the Sh** Heads out there who are talking smack about the organization that has provide such the spectacle you love some much. I can guarantee you that neither one of you actually own a business because if you did you would certainly understand the guts it takes to risk what they risked, the genius it took for them to get the momentum that have developed, and the countless hours it takes to have made this a success over the last 10 years.

    Look at all the businesses that have arisen out of their wake. Apparel companies, gear manufacturer, supplements, training videos, training academy’s, news websites like MMAWeekly.com, promotions local and national, agency’s, facilities that are getting MMA bookings, careers for wrestlers that were over after college and many many more.

    It sounds like a bunch of socialist ***** to me. Whenever someone “creates” something your insane jealousy and overwhelming sense of inadequacy takes over and you just feed like on them like a parasite until their dead. And when they die you turn around with your little warped twisted mind and say, “Oh well, see I told you they wouldn’t last.” Then you move on to the next.

    “Need” trumps “Ability” for you. Simply sickening and its this kind of rot from the inside that plagues Europe and its seeping into this once magnificent country, the US.

    God only can help us from this ideology of sh*t. The UFC is a “Private” company able to do whatever the F*uck it pleases. If you don’t like it go create one that you think works better. Its the foundation of our free market principles. “Free” is the operative word here. They created an industry and you want to rip it apart because F*cking “Johnny wants a trophy too!!!”

    • **Stands up and starts slow clap

      Well said.

    • BlackDog2009

      You are right on several things. UFC is here to stay, and the MMA sport will keep growing.

      But all this noise DW is making is so that you can’t expose the magic act so to speak. The one thing we can all take to the bank and it didn’t take ESPN to let me know about it, (although it’s good that they are exposing and opening eyes) is that UFC’s many unknown fighters are way underpaid.

      The fact of the matter is that it’s usually the up and coming fighters who deliver fight of the night, it’s them who fight and perform their asses off, only to get paid $9000 only because they aren’t guys who were there since the barbaric days, like Liddell or Couture, or famous freak shows like Lesnar, whose popularity was built up by the WWE marketing machine. You can thank McMahon, DW.

      Many fans and bloggers have DW’s **** in their mouths, but it’s a known fact that DW is a tyrant, a vulgar, vindictive boss that will tell you to **** off if you don’t like his actions. I’m sure he’s hating on Shamrock now, just like he has hated on guys like Fitch, Machida, Ortiz, Evans, and many other outspoken guys who have stood up to him.

      Remember the Torres fiasco? It was a great show of DW’s double standards at it’s best. Now he’s going crazy with rants putting ESPN down… hahaha.. you can run DW but you can’t hide. Take it like a man dude. UFC ain’t going anywhere anyways. You’ll continue being the **** tyrant, UFC will continue underpaying many fighters, you’ll continue to monopolize the sport of MMA but you can’t fight the whole world man!

    • pooby

      Soooooo….Obama can count on your vote in November?

    • Lesnardo

      For a business owner and an MMA commentator, you are a HORRIBLE WRITER.

  • Obarmarama

    Haha I really want to side with Dana, because ESPN did edit that interview. However, his pathetic use of “fighters” i.e. his favourites who he treats with kid gloves and pays tonnes to. Nobody is taking issue with the ass kissing Zuffa company men like chuck and Forrest and Serra. He would have done better showing fighters that nobody knows, who get paid 5 grand, and still appreciate it because nobody pays to come see them, and they might appreciate the opportunity to get exposure and climb the ladder. I sadly get the impression that Dana and co are making too much money, which wasn’t my impression prior to seeing this, and that they are desperate to PR this under the carpet. Kind of getting sick of Schmana White. The UFC is a monopoly, answer questions seriously, and not defensively like a moron. Dana has played his part, time to get somebody more professional in to take mma to the next level.

    • What exactly is “the next level”? You mean like boxing where you pay $55 ($65 HD) for the main event and a garbage undercard? Where the fans rarely get to see the fights they want to see? That next kind of level?

      • Lesnardo

        Boxing pays out 80% of revenue to the fighters. UFC pays out 10~20% to the figthers.

        End of the story.

        We are talking about fighter pay here.

        Zuffa has been sucking the life juice out of its fighters.

        • I don’t buy the 80% figure but we’ll run with it for the sake of argument. What % of that 80% goes to the main event guys and what % goes to the undercard guys? Lots of guys on boxing undercards are paid only hundreds of dollars.

  • bbtakayama

    Dana White is a great business man. Why the **** would an employee get paid more than an employer? If you are a server at Chili’s, you don’t get paid more than the manager, it’s that simple. I have been to about 15 UFC events and they employee a lot more than the fighters. I haven’t seen Forrest set up the octagon, Tito never set up the sound, Urijah Faber doesn’t hold the cameras. Everyone complains UFC fighters get paid too little, boxers get paid too much. Obviously the UFC knows what they are doing, if they aren’t paying the fighters enough, the fighters should start the own organization and see how well they can run it. They could call it Affliction or PrideFC or EliteXC or Strikeforece and see how well they do. If they don’t like how much they get paid get a different ******* job. As a fan, if you want fighters to make more money, don’t complain when the PPV goes up, and don’t complain when the card only has one or two good fights.

  • people are telling me it’s absurd to compare the two.it’s not absurb at all.people rather it be news or reality tv,the company rather it be the ufc or espn twist it to get across what they want you to think.just as your thinking everyone understands the diffrences between reality tv and regular tv.everything you see on tv is edited to the way they want you to see it even the news.espn didn’t lie about what was said,they just didn’t put up lorenzo’s rebuttle to questions,which in no way shape or form is lying about a sitution just editing the sitution to there liking as our military does all the time.

  • At the end of the day all of these fighters know what their getting into by making this their career. Nobody is forcing them to become fighters. Just the same as nobody forces anyone to become a salesman, nurse, construction worker or even a CEO of a company. It’s their decision to fight and if they have a problem with how their being paid then either talk to your bosses (Dana & co.) or go find something else to do with your life.

    • bigdog333187

      Very, very well said

  • TCarlton

    I don’t understand all the talk about a monopoly. The NFL, NBA and MLB are the only leagues where these players can actually make a living in the U.S. but nobody is complaining about them stockpiling talent. Would it be better for mma if it were more like boxing where they have 7 different titles for their weight classes?

    I am sick of hearing about the monopoly. This is an individual sport so there are no team owners. Each fighter is his own owner. The only thing the UFC might be lacking is a union for the fighters but really who wants to see the UFC have a strike or lockout.

    People need to stop looking for reasons to bash Dana and the UFC and just be glad that you are able to watch multiple fights each month.

  • jmat13

    To everyone here complaining about what the fighters make. Just remember it wasn’t that far back the top guys in the NFL where working a full time job in the off season to feed their family. No one has any problem with highschool and college kids trying to make their dream on that. If they are lucky they get a bench job paying minimum salary. That may be 1 to 3 years. Look at how many fighters the UFC has compared to any pro sport. A UFC fighter has a better shot of making it big than in any other sport. Who is writing stories about the guy on the bench in the NBA? No one. He never even has a chance. They promote their fighters like they all have a shot. They all do. They are the friggin best. Who was the undercard fighters the last time Maywether or the Golden Boy faught? What did they make? No complaints on guys making a few hundred. Pac Man? What did the undercard guys make on that? At least the UFC will air the fights for free on FB and Spike. How many guys have gotten a good main card shot from that? Quite a few. If the UFC had NFL money they would pay more. They continue to pay more and more to the ones that grew this sport. They will keep paying. They will keep growing. If anyone would like me to guess the 39 millionares who would have been nothing without them I will take my best shot. Bet you I get at least 30. Go bitch at some other sport because Fritato and Dana take care of those that fight and make them rich. They would rather lose it all than make this sport into what boxing is. PS. Fuck you haters and go watch the Yankees.

  • omcclave

    Its simple ESPN was fishing for a story about fighters not getting paid enough, didn’t find the story so they edited what they could to try and get the story. UFC is in no way a perfect organization and probably could pay their fighters a little more, but the model they have created works and allows them to expand very rapidly to other countries. No one was there for the UFC when they were sinking in debt and now that there profitable everyone wants to get fat. You get health care, money, bonuses and sponsor. When I first started going to MMA events they were at Indian reservations and guys were lucky to get 200 bucks. If you dont want to be “unfairly” paid then get a nine to five with a bank whos CEO makes 50 million dollars a year.

  • bbtakayama

    The people making your iPhones, iPads and XBoxes get paid 37 cents an hour,and work up to 35 hours straight. (I don’t know if they get time and a half for overtime, that would be huge though) Luckily they are Chinese and we don’t like slanty eyed commies!!! Pay the fighters more please I feel so bad for them. I just saw Greg Jackson’s entire team begging for money on the street, and sleeping on park benches.

  • Somethin you guys prob don’t know: espn is the Ufc tv channel lol and in the UK every Ufc event is on espn and its like $10 a month 😀