John Cholish walked away from the UFC after a second-round submission loss to Gleison Tibau at UFC on FX 8. The loss was the second defeat in a row for Cholish, who retired from the sport with a professional record of 8-3 and a UFC record of 1-2.
After his retirement, Cholish, a graduate of Cornell University who holds a job as a commodities trader on Wall Street, spoke to Bleacher Report’s Damon Martin about one of the reasons he walked away from the sport, low fighter pay:
Zuffa is a private company so they don't have to disclose a lot of their information, and again this is my personal opinion, I'm not saying it's for anyone else but I've spoken to a vast array of fighters from top level guys to mid-tier guys to lower level guys and I feel at least the guys I've spoken with kind of have that same feeling of maybe they're not being fully compensated the way that they should be. But guys are scared.
During his conversation with Martin, Cholish broke down all the costs associated with his recent fight in Brazil. In the end, Martin estimated that Cholish returned home from Brazil losing a significant amount of money for his troubles.
UFC president Dana White was asked about the statement Cholish made to Martin.
"What’s scary is this guy wasn’t good enough to be in the UFC," White said. "I wonder if he’s good enough to be on Wall Street. I mean, this guy has to be the biggest moron I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s talking about taxes? Yes, Wall Street guy you have to pay taxes, so do I. When we go down to Brazil and do a fight I pay taxes in Brazil too, and Sweden, and in all these other countries and states. Every state that we go to takes taxes."
White continued, "He signed a contract. He got the same opportunity that Georges St-Pierre, that Anderson Silva, that Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez and the list goes on and on. The unfortunate part of this business is some of you are good enough to be here and some of you are not. That’s life, Cholish.
"Unfortunately my friend, you weren’t good enough to be here. Hopefully you’re good enough to stick around on Wall Street, because if you don’t know what taxes are, I’ve got a feeling you’re not."
According to the UFC president, "Fighter pay has been beaten to death. If you don’t want to be here, don’t sign a contract with us. I can tell you this, John Cholish was paid discretionary bonuses even when he lost. What do you want me to tell you? The guy is delusional, not too bright and what do you want me to say to that?"
Word of White’s comments did get back to Cholish, and he made it clear that he was more than willing to discuss the topic with White in person:
. @danawhite I was speaking out in support of how the majority of fighters feel. If you'd like to question my intelligence I'm in Vegas— John Cholish (@JohnCholish) May 23, 2013
. @danawhite and would happy to sit down and discuss the matter with you.I think it's in the best interest of your fighters— John Cholish (@JohnCholish) May 23, 2013
To update I just received my fight purse payment of $2,014 from Zuffa. I will be donating 100% of it to charity-Oklahoma Tornado Victims— John Cholish (@JohnCholish) May 23, 2013
White has not responded to Cholish at this time.
**all quotes obtained firsthand by BR MMA unless noted.