Some current and former UFC fighters have expressed anger over their pay in comparison to the promotions multimillion-dollar payments to its investors.
According to a report released earlier this month by the New York Post, approximately £234 million ($300m) will be paid in one-time dividend to the company’s investors. Amongst the investors there are even some A-List celebrities, including model Gisele Bündchen, actor Mark Wahlberg and actress Charlize Theron, who are all among the beneficiaries.
UFC president Dana White is looking at receiving more than £2.4 million ($3m) from the dividend according to sources. He has previously been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from former fighters regarding unfair pay.
According to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the UFC president “changed people’s lives” when he tipped dealers $100k at the Vegas Palms Casino Resort. White even tipped a waitress $10,000. This didn’t sit well with retired MMA fighter Kyle Kingsbury:
“I heard about Dana tipping a waitress $10,000 and that was my wage as a fighter,” he said. “I lived in my mom’s garage and I had two jobs when I was fighting in the UFC. I was a personal trainer and a bouncer [and] bartender in a strip club.”
Kingsbury, together with other former UFC fighters are suing the organization in an antitrust lawsuit. They claim that anti-competitive conduct by the organization created a systematic monopsony that dominates the market, stifles competition and salaries for fighters. This practice drives down pay and pressure fighters into exclusive, long-term contracts.
The UFC have categorically disputed the claims made against them and insist they pay fighters fairly and competitively:
“UFC pays its fighters more than any other MMA promoter,” a UFC spokesperson told The Post. “We are proud of the company we’ve built and we are confident in our legal position.”
In a report that came out earlier this month, it was stated that only a small portion of around 16% of the UFC’s revenue goes to the fighters. Here is what the report revealed:
Sources tell The Post UFC’s fighters cost the Las Vegas promotions company less than $150 million last year — or under 16 percent of its $900 million in revenue. By contrast, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League all share between 48 percent and 50 percent of revenues with their players, data shows.
In comparison with other sports organisations such as the Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League, they pay between 48-50% of their revenue to players.
MMA fighter Devin Powell shared his experience regarding UFC pay:
Big name fighters like Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone have also commented on the way UFC pays their fighters. After losing to Conor McGregor in the blockbuster main event of UFC 246, the fans were at least expecting “Cowboy” to be getting a huge payday. The fighter revealed in an Instagram post that he was paid significantly less than the rumored $7-10 million payout:
“Hahahahah 7-10 million,” Cerrone responded to a comment on his Instagram post. “I didn’t get PPV money. What the world thinks and what really happens is so different. I made flat money.”
A UFC spokesperson denied the claim made by Cerrone but refused to provide exact pay figures. Cerrone’s manager, Josh Jones stated that Cerrone “got compensated tremendously. Multiple times more than $200,000, a lot more than $200,000,” and was “paid in many different ways,” but would not detail specifics.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 1st March, 2020.