Jose Aldo Says Fighters Should Receive A Salary

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Reigning long-time UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has never been quite when it comes to voicing his opinions on fighter pay, and the highly discussed UFC sponsorship deal with sports apparel giant Reebok.

Recently speaking on the topic once again, “Scarface” pitched the idea of fighters earning a salary, noting that times can get extremely tough for fighters who don’t fight as often, or who don’t earn top pay-per-view (PPV) money:

“I support this idea, of course.” Aldo told Combate. “In the NFL, Nike makes the uniforms, but teams still pay their athletes, the same goes for NBA. Life gets hard for fighters who are just starting and earn no pay-per-view money. We spend a lot with trainers, sparring partners, etc. Nobody in this day and age goes to a gym to be punched in the face for free. Whether we like it or not, we are susceptible to injuries which could leave us sidelined for a long time. That harms the fighter who only gets paid when he fights. If you’re hurt, there’s no income. It’s good to have sponsors, because that’s what keeps a fighter going.”

Improving fighter conditions has been a widely discussed topic in mixed martial arts (MMA), and the idea of potentially forming a fighters’ union has been thrown around as well. Aldo said that rivalries between gyms may have slowed down the formation, but he does support the idea:

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“Nobody has spoken to me about a union, but it would be great. It’s a way to protect athletes, it could really help. Nobody considered this. Fighters are too disunited because rivalries between gyms in the past. Of course this is not as strong as before, but it still happens. It’s like this, if I don’t fight for a price tomorrow, somebody else will accept that money.”

As far as being the leader for such change, Aldo said that at this point, he must focus solely on fighting, and defending his 145-pound title. However, once he retires, he could see himself taking a larger role:

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“Today, I can’t see myself responsible for this. I need to live the fight, I’m a champion and I can’t put that aside. My life as an athlete is still strong so it’s hard for me to do this today, but maybe one day, once I’m done fighting. I’ll look into this and together with others, we could arrange something to help new fighters.”

Aldo will fight for the very first time under the Reebok deal when he meets interim champion Conor McGregor in the most anticipated fight of all-time in the main event of UFC 194 on December 12, 2015.

Will “Scarface” remain the king of the featherweight division?