Jon Fitch – heading into his World Series of Fighting 3 main event bout on Friday – recently made comments about the “hostile work environment” during his UFC tenure.
It’s become the focus of attention leading up to his debut fight for his new promotional home.
As is often the case with employment debates, much of the talk has centered on money, but Fitch says that is not his focus. He took time on Monday, however, to explain his UFC finances to counter recent comments from UFC president Dana White that were critical of Fitch’s complaints. White’s comments centered on remuneration.
“There’s been some talk involving money matters and me and some bonuses I’ve made over my career with the UFC,” Fitch stated. “So I wanted to shine some more light on my financial matters to give the fans a better idea the type of money a fighter like me actually makes.
“In my 18 fights with the UFC, I was paid $1,020,000 – that was show money and win money. I also made about $300,000 in bonuses. Two of those bonuses were Fight of the Night bonuses. One was Georges St-Pierre, a $60,000 Fight of the Night, and the Erick Silva fight, that was a $70,000 bonus. So in total I made $1,322,000.”
To most people, making over a million dollars sounds like a lot. And it is a lot of money. But Fitch continued, trying to put a little more perspective on the time it took to earn that money, adding that there were numerous career expenses paid out of that money before he could count it as his take-home pay.
“Sounds like a lot of money, but lets look at that a little bit closer,” he continued. “Out of the 18 fights out of that $1,020,000, I paid 20-percent of that to management and the gym. So if you take that number, $1,322,000, divided by seven and a half years, I was roughly making just over $176,000 a year. Now remember, that’s before management and gym fees. You also have other expenses you have to pay for, equipment, stuff like that.”
In a direct shot back at White for using numbers to quell Fitch’s complaints, Fitch went on to say he did some research on the money the UFC made off of the events in which he fought for them.
The UFC is a privately held company and doesn’t disclose it’s finances, but utilizing what unverifiable numbers he could find, Fitch concluded that the UFC easily made into the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue during his tenure. He added that the UFC’s revenues that he could find did not include merchandising or other revenues beyond ticket sales and pay-per-view buys.
Fitch repeatedly stressed that, for him, it wasn’t about money. He was more in a defense mode in outlining the way that a fighter such as himself was paid during his UFC tenure.
“I was one of those fighters that was on the medium-to-high pay grade because I won. I won consistently,” he explained. “When you win consistently, your pay bumps up every fight. If you lose, you get stuck at the same pay scale. It’s important to win in order to make money. Most fighters didn’t make as much money as I did; that’s a fact.
“Money was never important to me. That’s not why I fight, that wasn’t the point of fighting. I wanted to be the best in the world and prove that I am the best in the world. I don’t know why money always gets brought back up with them and it’s not important to me, but I thought it was important for the fans to know what the numbers actually are and to get some kind of perspective what fighters are actually getting paid.
“I’ve never complained about money, I’ve always loved the money that I made from fighting with the UFC, and organizations before I fought with the UFC.”
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