Obtaining information regarding the financial handouts to UFC employees is about as easy as breaking into Fort Knox. Time and time again, fighters come forward condemning the UFC for being stingy with its wealth.
During an appearance on the GrappleTalk Podcast last year, UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy went as far as claiming he would make more money emptying trash cans than he does fighting in the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
“I hope this isn’t the reality of the sport, if it is I should probably go do something else, like empty trash cans. I’d make more money than I do now,” said Kennedy.
Curiously enough, Kennedy quickly recanted his comments and issued a long apology on Facebook soon after his quotes made headlines.
White recently sat down with Sherdog.com’s Greg Savage in an interview to touch basis on the overall state of the UFC. As expected, the boss maintains the position that nothing is wrong with fighter pay. In fact, White claims fighters made more money in 2013 than any other time in MMA history:
If you talk to the fighters, you know people want to talk about pay-per-view numbers are down, this, that and everything else. These fighters made more money this year than they ever f---ing made in the history of the sport.
A skeptic would be quick to point out the possibility that increased payout numbers are only a product of more events. With all of the exposure on FOX and FOX Sports, the UFC is doing more events than it's ever done.
Long gone are the days of once-a-month pay-per-views with a free fight night thrown in every few months. It only makes sense fighters would be getting paid more if they are competing on a more regular basis.
But White was quick to shoot down that notion. He claims that fighters are actually making more money per outing, not because the company has more fights going on:
No, it’s per fight. We may have way more fights going on, but Georges St-Pierre fought twice, Anderson Silva fought twice. This year, Chris Weidman will fight twice. It’s not like these guys are fighting four or five times a year. You got guys who have come back to back like [Urijah] Faber. Faber is gonna fight five times in the last 11 months and a couple of cases like that. But guys have never made more money, there’s never been more money in the sport than there is now, and it’s never been bigger in North America or anywhere else in the world.
To be fair, some fighters have come out in support of fighter pay in the UFC.
Over a year ago, flyweight contender Ian McCall took to the MMA underground, via BloodyElbow.com, and defended fighter pay, claiming he made over $80K in his UFC debut against Demetrious Johnson.
The jury is still out on whether or not fighters are being undervalued. Perhaps we’ll never know the true logistics behind the UFC’s pay scale. Young fighters hoping to make it big will just have to put all of their faith into White’s proclamation that fighters have never been so well off.
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