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 Tim Kennedy did last week, but quickly rescinded his comments.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?