T Nation

Excellent MMA Article, Good Read


For the first time last year, the UFC eclipsed both HBO boxing and World Wrestling Entertainment in pay-per-view revenue, earning $223 million, compared with $200 million for the WWE and $177 million for boxing. UFC executives expect an even bigger haul this year.

Why do fighters continue to belong to the UFC, when the lightweight champion only made $24K(+ perhaps some additional unreported bonus)?

It would seem to me that they would band together. Zuffa puts a lot worse of a financial beating on them than they get in any match.

I am aware there are a handful making big money, but how long would PPV revenue stay up with the same 6-8 fighting over & over?

[quote]treco wrote:

Why do fighters continue to belong to the UFC, when the lightweight champion only made $24K [/quote]

An interview with Josh Barnett by Sam Caplan

An excerpt:

[i]Q: I’m assuming that you’re hearing from all the major promotions out there but do you ever get any wacky offers from small promotions nobody has ever heard of?

JB: Well, some of those offers I mentioned are smaller promotions that might not be aware of just how expensive the top level guys are. Especially if it is that you read a CSAC or NSAC report following a bout and they say “Joe Schmo made $100 to fight.” Well, often he didn’t make – well, he did make $100 to fight but somewhere in the back he’s getting paid an extra $100 maybe $200 on top of that in addition to whatever it may be for pay-per-view. I even had to explain to a guy “You know I think you know what the top guys are getting but that’s not what they’re getting. They’re getting a lot more than you think they’re getting.”[/i]

The UFC takes care of their champions and main event guys, even if their official purses don’t reflect it. Here is one example from another article.

[i]Gerber says that at the last UFC title fight, when Renato “Babalu” Sobral went down by a TKO in just 95 seconds to Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, he saw the Fertittas run to the ambulance taking Sobral to the hospital to slip him a bonus check.

“You see him open the check, and all of a sudden he’s got tears in his eyes,” Gerber says. “All they said was, ‘You’re a champion, and we’re going to see you again.’ They take care of their people.”[/i]

Guys like Couture, Ortiz, & Liddell regularly take home three or four times the amount of their official purse. GSP claimed he took home half-a-million for his victory over Hughes, even though his official purse was only 1/10th of that amount.

The official purses are pretty much meaningless.

Surprisingly, I have never talked to anyone who didn’t think he was underpaid. Talk to the receptionist at State Farm’s local office: She deserves more money. Talk to the CEO at State Farm: He thinks he deserves more money.

Generally, we let the market answer such questions. I realize that world policy would best be set by a bunch of people on the Internet. But we do not (yet) live in such a (just) world.