Aljamain Sterling Questions if 5% Revenue Increase For Fighters Would Kill The UFC

Aljamain Sterling
Mandatory Credit: MMA Junkie

Undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling has questioned if an increase of revenue in the region of 5 per cent for fighters under the promotion’s banner would jeopardize the future of the organization amid constant calls for an increase to fighter pay from some of the sport’s top stars and combatants.

Aljamain Sterling, who successfully unified the promotion’s bantamweight titles earlier this month against two-time foe, interim champion, Petr Yan with a unanimous decision win at UFC 273, claimed that the promotion wants to pay fighters less – despite Endeavor CEO, Ari Emanuel recently claiming that the organization pays fighters under the UFC banner “very, very well”.

“Its just the business aspect. They want to pay us less, we always want to get paid more,” Aljamain Sterling told MMA Junkie during a recent interview. “And we all rightfully think that there’s more money that could be divvied out to the fighters because of how much money they clear.”

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Infamously, the UFC have managed to keep their reported revenue share to fighters under their banner to just 17 per cent of earnings, with combatants still subject to a much-criticized ‘show and win’ format when it comes to fight purses, rather than a flat fee regardless of result. UFC president, Dana White also recently claimed that any increase to bonuses, monetarily or frequency would “f*ck up” the promotion’s coffers. 

“It’s a public company, so we get to see those numbers,” Aljamain Sterling said. “You mean to tell me if you give us an extra 5 per cent (revenue) that’s gonna kill you guys? …an extra 5 per cent of upwards of $900,000,000? I don’t know the exact number, upwards of over $800,000,000 dollars? …I think you guys will survive. I think that’s the best way I could put that. It’s not being greedy.”

“I do understand the business model side of it, like not every fighter is bringing viewers to the program or putting butts in the seats, but at the same time we are the product that people are tuning in to see,” Aljamain Sterling explained. “So whether or not we are the big name, fighting under the UFC umbrella means that we are worthy of being watched on national television – international television on a global level.” 

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Sterling also floated the idea of an increase in bonus money available to fighters, suggesting that the promotion offer post-fight bonuses for fighters who manage to secure finish victories.

“You’re gonna get a better product,” Aljamain Sterling said. “You can get better athletes that can be able to provide for themselves and they can take a chance by not working a full-time job. It’s easier to take that risk and say, ‘Okay, I’m secure for ‘x’ amount of months or a year, and I can take this chance and really give it a shot and see what could happen’, versus me having to be a substitute teacher for three years with the (UFC) before I was able to stop completely, and just focus on fighting… Not having to go between lunch periods to go try to get an extra cardio session.” 

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“Give out more bonuses and guys will go out there and really try to get more finishes. That can solve that. Anytime there’s a finish, you give a bonus.” (Transcribed by BloodyElbow)

Aljamain Sterling weighs up two potential opponents for next title outing

As far as his next Octagon outing is concerned, Uniondale native, Sterling initially welcomed a title defense against former two-time division titleholder, T.J. Dillashaw before the close of this year, however, has also flirted with a matchup opposite former featherweight king, Jose Aldo – questioning if Dillashaw is actually deserving of a title offing.