Recently Jon Fitch posted a video discussing his UFC earnings. In doing so, Fitch has given us a rare glimpse into the guarded world of the big show’s economics and the compensation(s) given to a fighter of Jon’s stature.
Over a span of 18 fights and 8 years with the UFC, Fitch amassed a record of 14-3 & 1. In doing so, he earned a total of (a little over) 1,300,000 (US) dollars. Of that, he paid out over a quarter-of-a-million dollars in management and gym fees. This left Jon with an average salary of (roughly) $176,000 a year, before taxes.
Regarding his feelings about his compensation Jon stated…“I’ve never complained about money. I’ve always loved the money I made from fighting with the UFC…” yet, in listening to his declarations I can’t help but sense a hint of spite in the words. My guess is that Jon hasn’t gotten over being cut and to be honest I don’t blame him. Personally, I feel Jon was cut for reasons of economics and the distinct possibility that Dana wasn’t a big fan. Put the two together and Fitch, a ranked (#9) fight when cut, was out the door. Subsequently, I believe the video is Jon’s way of hitting back and in the only manner that he can and that’s by talking the numbers out-of-school.
I believe that what Jon is really saying here is this, that if you look at the money the UFC is making, which is a great deal by virtue of the numbers he was throwing around, that his pay-out was a drop in the bucket and that there was no legitimate reason to cut him. I agree with him on both points and I believe the financial records and Jon’s own fight record supports the case.
Further, I believe this is gamesmanship on Jon’s behalf. That he is attempting to stir the pot with the UFC and its rostrum of fighters, most of whom are not making huge cash and he hopes that the fans will be the spoon. So, when Jon states at the end of the video that…“I thought it was important for the fans to know what the numbers actually are and to get some kind of perspective on what fighters are actually getting paid…” I see that as Fitch baiting White, by letting the fans have some idea of the kind of cash the UFC is making relative to what they pay their fighters. It’s both a poke in the eye to Dana and statement to the fans about how much more the promotion could be paying their “fighting staff”.
“Money was never important to me…I wanted to be the best in the world and to prove that I was the best in the world.” I think as far as Fitch goes, his words are honest. I also believe that they lay at the heart of his video. He was a ranked fighter who had never lost so much as two fights in a row and the cut made no sense to him. By letting him go Dana crushed his dream and it’s probably apt to stay crushed and Jon knows it. For @ age 35 and with the issues that led to him being cut in the first place, chances of Jon working his way back to the big show are probably slight.
So what’s a fighter to do when he’s ******-off, his dream has been crushed and his UFC money is no longer important to him? Ironically, the answer seems to be to shoot a video in which the fighter discusses his UFC money and then to post it online.
Jon always was a grinder.