How will I pay rent? (prospect.rsc.org)
With the cancellation of the entire card in effect, the undercard fighters will have to wait their turn in line to earn their living.
Champion Jon Jones earned a hefty $400,000 with his defeat of Rashad Evans at UFC 145. This payout was provided by the UFC as his fighting salary only. Earnings outside of the ring including endorsement deals provided the champion with presumably much larger overall earnings.
Assuming that “Bones” is not Terrell Owens and does not squander his money like the United States government, delaying his earnings until his next matchup is not a financial liability for Jones.
Speaking frankly on Twitter, however, undercard competitor Jeff Houghland was not so comfortable with his current financial situation resulting from the cancellation of his fight.
“Wait am I not fighting?? Please say it ain’t so I got bills to pay @ufc !
@JonnyBones Can I at least get one of your new Nike T-shirts? I’ll give it to my kid since I won’t have any money for her school clothes.”
Earning $8,000 in his last matchup in a decision loss to Yves Jabouin in May of 2012, Houghland has earned $20,000 in his last two fights for Zuffa over the past calendar year.
Again, Houghland’s earnings do not include any endorsement deals or other means of income. Yet, the disparity between his paychecks and those of Jon Jones are staggering.
I am not implying that a bantamweight competitor such as Jeff Houghland deserves to earn the same compensation as light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
What I am implying, however, is that the discrepancy between earnings makes it very difficult for the up-and-coming competitors to stay viable within the sport when cancelling one event can be destructive to their yearly earnings.
All major sports have a balance of wages amongst their athletes.
Peyton Manning is the face and arm of the NFL and deservedly earns much more than the scout team quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
But the lineman who protect Manning day in and day out may not bring the same value to the league that Manning does from a marketing standpoint, but the NFL realizes their importance and provides each player with a substantial minimum salary so that the athlete can prioritize football over the danger of not providing for their family.