Fighter Pay & Treatment:
The UFC has long been known for a ruthless business practice dating back to previous owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, and for their part, they were very successful at bring MMA to the forefront of combat sports while squeezing the most money out of it as they could.
Much of that came at the expense of paying fighters what they possibly were worth, however, and with the UFC’s $4.2 billion price tag becoming a well-known fact last year, more and more fighters are speaking out to make more money in a sport where their health and well-being is on the line each time out too the octagon.
There have been countless attempts that have failed miserably, but it would seem like a fighter’s association or union of some kind is on the horizon, although it doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon. A bi part why fighter’s just can’t seem to organize effectively is the fact that it’s an individual sports where each combatant seems to hold to a closely-knit inner circle, worrying about their contract and pay but not having much of a reason to care about the next potential foe’s pay.
But with many top-ranked athletes actually leaving for rival Bellator MMA in recent months, it’s becoming clear that UFC’s system of paying fighters, burdened heavily by the constrictive Reebok deal that disallows the use of any outside sponsors in-cage, has become a true motivating factor for fighters to stay or go.
The recently ill-advised fighter retreat didn’t seem to help much, either, as many fighters wondered why they would pay to have speakers like Kobe Bryant and Michael Strahan tell them how to manage the money they weren’t making instead of actually passing down some of those dollars to the actual fighters. The fighters must organize if they want to make any progress, and it seemed the Fertittas knew that and saw the writing on the well that the time was ripe for them to get out.
They secured a banner year and parlayed it into a record-breaking franchise sale that WME-IMG is probably regretting in a big way as of right now, because fans and fighters alike are starting to rebel against their strong-arm tactics, and it’s contributing to the overall decline of attention fans are willing to give the UFC on weekly basis.