ESPN on Fighter Pay and UFC’s Unseen Video Footage Response

January 15, 2012
Comments off

There’s been a lot of buzz over the last week concerning an ESPN ‘Outside the Lines’ report on fighter pay in the world’s biggest MMA organization, the UFC.

The final video piece aired on Sunday’s ‘Outside the Lines’ where ESPN takes a look at fighter pay, including interviews with owner Lorenzo Fertitta, promoter and manager Monte Cox as well as UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.

Check out the full video below:

Following that release, the UFC planned to air part of the interview that Fertitta did with ESPN that did not air, and on Sunday they released the footage.

Fertitta questions the ESPN reporter about the fighter pay on some of their boxing shows in which fighters pull in only hundreds of dollars per performance.

Check out that clip here:

  • BlackDog2009

    As the UFC grows, it should get ready for more scrutiny. And regardless of them not liking the word, they are ‘monopolizing’ the sport. If that’s good or bad at this point, I’m not sure.

    Lorenzo Fertitta does the right thing by accepting the interview. He is eloquent, and sounds very educated. DW on the other hand can’t speak professionally, this guy’s answer to anything he can’t discuss or argue against is “I don’t give a **&^ what the fans or anyone says” . Which will eventually not be enough as this great MMA sport grows.

  • MikeMc1983

    The market is the market. Very few buissness have higher payrolls than they need to.
    However, everything effects everything. The more guys at the top make, so goes the guys at the bottom. People seems to treat it like there’s one big pie, and everyone is pulling from one kitty. In the grand scheme of things that may be true, but payroll is only a part of the pie. It’s not the whole pie.

    It’s a bit like the misunderstanding with union jobs. The higher union salaries go, so do the non union salaries. The same is true the other way around. The scariest thing for a buissness to do is raise the salary of the bottom part of payroll because the top part comes looking for the same increase.

    Lorenzo did a nice job of throwing it back on espn, but he’s attacking a part of the company against the whole. It’s not as if espn boxing is making over 2 billion. The same can be said about the UFC. However, zuffa knows there’s going to be jumps in pay as it grows. They want to limit it now as much as they can. To limit what it will be in the future. If they give Anderson 10 million for his next fight, could you imagine what jones could ask for if he stayed on top another 5 years? There’s going to be peaks, and valleys. We’re at a peak now. It will slow eventually. As a buissness they must be ready for that.
    It’s hard to start paying guys less if buissness starts going bad. Much easier for it to have been lower to begin with. Ask every major sporting league. It’s why the nba guys giving in and taking big cuts was so rare.

  • Solid point from Lorenzo, that reporter had no response.

    I never got the whole “the undercard fighters don’t get paid enough” argument. It’s the same as working for any other company where you come in at an entry level position. If you put in hard work and deliver results you will be rewarded with higher pay and better standing within the company. If you fail to produce then your pay will reflect it and you won’t be around long.

    Frankie Edgar made $3,000 + $3,000 for his first fight in the UFC and $5,000 + $5,000 for his second fight. He made $340,000 last year and only fought 2 times.

    Bisping made $12,000 + $12,000 his first few fights in the UFC and now he makes $275,000 + $150,000.

    • And the bonuses cant be understated. Where else if you do really good one day do you get a bonus equal to ten times your regular pay?! $65,000 for a nice submission is no joke.

      • Danjitsu

        And where else do you have to train unpaid for 3 months for that one day of pay? Where else during that 3 months unpaid do you actually have to pay the people to train and spar with you? And you think 3k to show covers that? As expected, a lot of schills and apologists in this thread. Hey ESPN, we don’t treat our fighters quite as ****** as you do so we’re great!

        • Nobody is (nor should they be) entitled to guaranteed success in whatever job field they enter. If you aren’t willing to pay your dues and work your way up from the bottom then you this isn’t the profession for you and you need to find a new line of work.

          As far as guys not fighting / getting paid for 3 months at a time…. WORK A SECOND JOB like anyone else trying to get by.

  • 100pr00f

    Lets not forget about sponsors – sure they pay for the equipment but im sure they are paying the fighters cash as well to show a brand

  • any1 notice the eye color botch?,lorenzo got really green eyes to symbolise his love of money and the ‘trustworthy’ espn guy and monte cox got sky blue eyes to make them look like they would never tell a lie,low blow by espn ufc are on the rise and spike,espn,trade commissions,culinary unions and even dana’s mom are tryin to drag them down

  • johnvargas

    only in america can you complain that your not making enough millions. lets look at boxers,they dont take fights unless theres a fortune to be made. if ufc gives in to b.s. ,then one day youll hear guys sounding like cowards saying they wont take a fight unless the moneys right. who would want to watch mma fighters acting like floyd mayweather?

    • MikeMc1983

      Who would want to see guys acting like mayweather? I’m not sure if you were seriously asking that question, but I’ll take a shot nonetheless.
      How about the millions of people that watch mayweather? I’m pretty sure the UFC would be perfectly fine with fighters that get the same viewership as Floyd. At a higher price at that.
      But i guess I could be wrong…

      • bigdog333187

        Are you serious? If MMA heads the path of the Floyd Mayweathers, it’ll be in the same declining state that boxing is in. The bottom line is you never see the fights you want to see in boxing anymore because, the fighters simply don’t have to take the difficult fights if they don’t want to. Mayweather shows exactly what competitive athletes shouldn’t be. And I for one, will be extremely pleased if MMA heads in a completely different path than the way of the proffesional boxer. Which sucks to say, because I grew up loving boxing

  • candelario

    ali reform act for mma great idea

  • Lorenzo did a great job, was brutally canid and I feel represented the UFC in a positive light. Should the fighters pay go up as the UFC enjoys growth, yes, and from the outside it looks like they have had pay increases.

  • One day some smart attorney will find a way to connect MMA and Boxing for the Ali Reform Act. Seeing how they are both combat sports controlled my the same commissions. He will have a number of former/unhappy UFC fighters for a class action lawsuit, file suit within a very liberal district such as California, or in the current anti-UFC climate, maybe even New York, where certain politician and union leaders can place pressure unto judicial leaders. Then low and behold, we will have full disclosure on fight revenue. If it holds up on appeal the UFC will be forced to disclose all financial information regarding fight nights, not all information, but revenue from fights, which will only be a portion of the total revenue. But the sales and profits from merchandise and sponsorship will still be withheld, they are a private company. Whether that is good or bad for MMA, we will see.

  • sb

    I have said this before but its worth mentioning again……

    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, promotions local and national, mma sports agency’s, facilities that are getting MMA bookings, professional careers for wrestlers that were certainly 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 on them like a parasite until their dead. You hijack our legal system to force them (us) to do your bidding. 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 host. You, never create anything, you just feed!

    “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!!!”.

  • sb the guy who posted above me started out very well, but then he went mental and lost all credibility at the end 🙁 crazy Americans lol Ufc is good tho