Dana White Considers Dropping Fight Bonuses To Pay Lower-Level Fighters More

Posted on July 2, 2013, 02:08 AM by Mike Drahota
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Recently the UFC has come under extreme criticism for their perceived low pay for up-and-coming fighters. Many have cried for the fighters to unionize in order to get fair wages guaranteed. However, UFC President Dana White has apparently become fed up with all the criticism, as he has come up with a compromising strategy to increase fighter pay, telling MMA Junkie:

"You don't like the structure? All right, we'll pay the lower-level guys more money – no more f--king bonuses. You guys come in, you negotiate your contracts, and we do away with all bonuses. That's what I'm thinking about doing. The bonuses are something we've been doing out of the kindness of our f--king heart. It was something we liked to do. Apparently, people don't like it. They want the lower-level guys to get paid more money."

Perhaps this avenue could present a way for lower tiered and/or younger fighters to have more of a guaranteed contract with the UFC. Many lesser known fighters have deemed it virtually impossible to focus solely on training MMA without a second job. The UFC, being the main driving force behind all things MMA, has obviously fallen under the most scrutiny for paying fighters too little.

Former UFC combatants like Jon Fitch, John Cholish, and Matt Riddle have spoken out against the promotion’s treatment of fighters. Tim Kennedy did last week, but quickly rescinded his comments. White seemed angered, but it is unknown if all fight night bonuses will be abolished in favor of higher wages for lower tier fighters. If the higher paid fighters are willing to sacrifice a chance at $50,000 or more so their peers can make more money, true progress in MMA could potentially be made.

Still, White insists that all his detractors don’t truly understand what he goes through to make MMA grow:

“All these f--king morons have no idea what goes into this and what it takes to build a sport and a company at the same time. And we've been very fair to guys."

Does White have a point here. There’s obviously two very different sides of the story. But it seems like fighter pay is an issue that won’t go away until some positive change is made. Should the UFC abandon the fight bonus strategy in favor of higher fighter pay? 


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  • ImmaBoss
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    Out of the kindness of your heart my ***

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Wings-of-Gabriel
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    My sentiments exactly.

    This is a microcosm of a clever ruse put forth by the economic powers-that-be in any sector of today's society: turning people on one another. It is comparable to the vanishing middle class blaming those poorer than them, for the plight of the middle class. Call me stupid, but if I lose my only house, I'm not going to blame the guy that was homeless before I was, I'm going to look at the guy that now has two houses.
    Insurance companies tell us that they raise our rates because of the uninsured drivers, so we can turn our attention away from corporate fatcats and shareholders that simply need to make sure they retain steady pay increases and bonuses in any type of economic climate. This is that in a nutshell.

    Dana White net worth - In the neighborhood of $200 million
    Lorenzo Fertitta net worth - Over $1 billion (Are you kidding me? You're kidding me right?)

    They leave without a scratch on them after every event. They know that there families will never have to worry about clothing, shelter, food, stability, good education, etc. Can we just promise a fraction of that to all of these fighters that give so much to us? The guys that are out running at 4am, before they have to go to work at 6am, and then the gym from 5-11pm, and feed their kids, get them ready for school, talk to their wives, etc. Isn't this the least we can do?

    -Facts are facts, stop the b.s.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • darejz00
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    Wings of Gabriel, your nickname does not deceive as your comment is truly that which the wings of gabriel are meant to bring: a divine message.
    Ok, let's not exaggerate but your comment is definitely on point.
    The fighters are the ones doing all the hard work and the way Dana White reacts to these money talks makes them look like slaves. I'm sure there are two sides to this story but at least one of them seems very clear: these guys are paid like kids in a sweatshop, working their buns off for ridiculous wages while the sugar daddy gets rich.

    Dana obviously has to get defensive here or he will lose a big pile of money. Whether the baldie admits it or not, I think the real savior to these UFC money issues is the real competition to the monopoly that the other organisations are going to bring in the near future.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • odesahitman
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    @Darej00

    "The fighters are doing all the hard work".

    So developing a new industry, developing a global business, with all that entails is easier than training for twenty hours per week and doing a job.

    I've actually done both, so I assume you must have in order to comment, which is why I'm surprised, some fighters could be working as hard, but what Dana is doing is a 65 hour week, carries massive risk, liabilities and problems associated with success.

    "Before arguing with someone walk a mile in their shoes, that way you will be a mile away from them and you'll have their shoes".

    Reply 10 months ago
  • darejz00
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    You're right Odesa, I have not been part in any kind of business venture and should not shoot Dana's hard work down as if it was easy without knowing better.

    I got a bit carried away but when you look at the fact that the Big Bosses are getting richer while the fighters struggle to make a living, it summons some questions. Dana obviously deserves his share for his efforts at making the sport grow to what it has become but the fighters are still the main tool of his success and it is almost slavery if the fighters are struggling to make a living.

    Thanks for the quote of the day.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    Dana is looking to recieve the Nobel Peace Prize for humanity work in giving bonuses out of love....

    How about he gives bonuses to entice motherfukers to beat the living the crap out of eachother

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Entity
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    yea, reading that kinda pizzed me off too, and Im not in the UFC lol

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    When will Dana wake up and realize the fans love the fighters and not himself, the Fertittas or even the UFC.

    The only reason fans swoon all over any of what the UFC has to offer is and because, they are the promotion under which the best fighters fight. That is all and that can be changed. Nothing is written in stone for the UFC, yet. Dana would be well advised to remember that and to remember who makes the butter that he puts on the bread.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Kackvogel
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    wow this is stupid!! why not give the fighters a bigger percentage of the sponsormoney?!?!

    dana is just a bully, every year i dislike the guy more!!!

    Reply 10 months ago
  • hatch1921
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    Commented on the War Machine post....will say it again... they are biting the hand that feeds them... and I can't see any good coming from this if it continues.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • PukeVomit
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    why not just pay the lower-level fighters more but keep the bonuses?

    Reply 10 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    When Dana starts driving around an old pick up truck and says times are tough I'll start feeling sorry for him....Dana invested no money in to this sport and sits on 200 million dollars...Stop crying poor....By the time Dana retires he will be a billionaire

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Shogun91
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    **** off every professional fighter in ufc should be paid beyond 40 000 they are fighting in biggest organisation in the ********world they give them 8000 and then they said they are paid more than enough ... :@

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Shogun91
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    shouldn't * ...

    Reply 10 months ago
  • watermelon fresh
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    typical business tactic to attempt to intimidate subordinates by threating to take away an item that's needed in this case money which they are complaining about. I know the money would go to lower pool if fighters, but Dana is trying to scare the fighters in to stop talking. I have said it many times, Dana and the Fretitas are holding the sport back in some ways. They air trashy TV in TUF by picking people that will act like idiots on camera giving mma a bad name " Let me bang bro" They always rub in it peoples face they grew MMA ....It was on an upward trajectory without them anyways.

    Don't drink the Kool-Aid these guys sell.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    This is a divide and conquer strategy.

    You are right, "intimidate" is the word to take from his remarks.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Kevin
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    There is a term called "keeping them hungry", I just think Dana read it literally.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Entity
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    Classic Dana, now taking away bonuses will make the guys suffer that didnt complain or say a bad word.
    He really needs to grow the fk up.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Agreed!

    Reply 10 months ago
  • thexperience1
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    The ignorance is reaching a new height.... It's easy to point fingers and pass judgement but the fact is none of y'all knows the in's and out's of this business... repeat "BUSINESS"... like any other "BUSINESS" the employees sign a contract, which states their PAY... every single of them has the right to rip the contract up and walk out of the office.

    Once you agree and sign however, you can't complain about the f*cking salary! Pointing out how much the UFC is making or Dana White his Net Worth is irrelevant!

    No matter how much money a business makes... Mc Donalds, Walmart or the f*cking UFC... the salary remains the SAME! It's a "BUSINESS" not a charity!

    Yes, the fighters work hard and have to put a lot into it.. so do construction workers every single day, with a shitty *** average salary of 41k (before taxes). Do you think their salary magically increases substantially when the company they work for get some 100 million dollar contract? F*CK NO!! they get their same f*cking paycheck.....

    UFC fighters though get substantial bonuses when they perform well... big fat checks "out of the kindness of Dana's heart" as he says.... you might not agree with that statement but that is exactly what it is, if he's not obligated to pay you that money! When was the last time your employer gave you a big fat check (equal some some peoples year salary), just because you did a great job, brought in a big client for the company or anything else that would make "the company" a lot of money...

    I can write a book.. but i'll leave it at that and welcome all the ignorant comments and weaks i'm about to get :-D

    Reply 10 months ago
  • akieyugames
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    Aren't they allowed to want more for themselves? Yes they signed a contract stating a certain amount of salary, but I think it isn't illegal to complain and ask for more. Workers strike for better wages all the time. And these are athletes. not just some ordinary workers, but what do I know I'm just a bum, with a 6 pack budweiser and a stolen laptop.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • thexperience1
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    Sure they can complain.. but that doesnt mean they deserve it.
    My main point is, you can't look at a CEO's net worth and some numbers and just because they are some substantial amounts expect to get a raise or all of this sudden feel like you're underpaid just because the company is making a lot of money. What about the their expenses and high risk investments in the sport? Let's not get it twisted, they make a **** load of money and they COULD possibly pay the fighters more but they're not obligated to do so, same as with any other company. There's more to it than just a couple of numbers and i just think a lot of people are ignorant to those facts cause they're "fans" of the fighters and too emotionally infested. Look out for YOURSELF and go ask your OWN employer for a raise!! I'm sure most people here could use it! If the UFC fighters got paid twice as much as they are right now, they would still complain... like the rest of us! Fact is most people live beyond their means but instead of looking at the REAL issue.. (their spending) they point fingers to others and forget about the 4 fingers that are pointing at themselves.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • N.C.
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    Like i said, if bellator got some serious backing.

    We wouldn't have this conversation. If another fed like Pride in the old days offered the same money and bonus's suddenly we're back in the 2000's. Cheap skate UFC gets to keep a couple guys who they pay as best they can. The ones where they didn't feel like they got the best deal could leave.

    Now all the fighters are boxed in.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • thexperience1
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    Bellator backed my Viacom... they got all the backing they need!
    The sport is just not at NFL level yet, so fighters can't expect an NFL check period...

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Viacom has the money, they just need to put it in.

    I believe if SBV took a 2 or 3 year game plan to this, along with a truck load of money they could put a hug dent in the UFC's business model. That is, if what we read (here) proves to be the prevailing attitude over at UFC headquarters.

    This is a dumb...dumb....dumb...statement on behalf of White.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • N.C.
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    How about pro-wrestling pay? UFC makes more then WWE does in PPV now. They also draw bigger gates at a lot of events.

    Even the lowest farm fed lower card guys get a base salary of $35k. They can pay their bills.

    $8k x 3 fights a year is $24k.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • thexperience1
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    Yes, 24k...... If you loose.... good motivation for them to put in work and WIN! On top of that if you loose 2 back to back as a newby you're most likely to get cut so the 24k hardly ever applies to any of the fighters... they would have to win at least 1 or 2 out of 3 to be able to stay in the UFC. So the average pay would be 32-40k. If they're lucky and put on a great fight, maybe a bonus. I wouldn't say that's bad for an entry level fighter. Win a few, pay goes up! I really don't see anything wrong with that model.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • UnderdogGreatness
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    "The bonuses are something we've been doing out of the kindness of our f--king heart."

    Poor Dana. F--king shameful.

    Baby Hitler should be ashamed of himself.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Cookie77
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    If there is only one company to fight for then what ever the owner wants to pay fighters is what the fighters will get.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Every now and then Dana does something that I feel is childish and an embarrassment to the sport and the promotion. This is one of those times.

    He's foolish if he thinks this is the way to handle the situation.

    The upside is, it's demonstrative of two things...

    1. The UFC is beginning to feel the heat over the issue
    2. The heat is being brought more by fans and the media talking about the "problem", than it is the fighters.

    Something is going to have to give and in the long run, it won't be the talent.

    Zuffa needs to understand, they are a promotion. That is where their talent lies. It does not lie in fighting. No one is going to pay to see White or the Fertittas' fight. If the talent goes the UFC will be discarded like a dirty towel.

    The last thing is this, in a sport that is really all about honor and respect, I see no honor in White's words and no respect being shown to the fighters.

    Reply 10 months ago
  • Kevin
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    I would pay to see Dana fight the Fertittas

    Reply 10 months ago