Former UFC lightweight champion, Sean Sherk has expressed his displeasure toward the treatment of fighters under his former stomping ground’s banner, encouraging mixed martial artists to form and join a union, before claiming the UFC should be “extremely embarrassed” regarding the rising issue of fighter pay amongst competitors.

Sherk, a former undisputed lightweight titleholder under the UFC’s banner between October of 2006 and July of 2007, called time on his professional mixed martial arts career back in September of 2013 — last competing back at UFC 119 where he scored a split decision win over fellow veteran, Evan Dunham.

Battling now PFL colour commentator, Kenny Florian for the vacant lightweight championship back at UFC 64: Unstoppable, Sherk lifted the crown via a unanimous decision, before successfully defending the title with a unanimous decision success against Hermes Franca. Sherk was later stripped of the undisputed lightweight championship after he tested positive for the banned substance, nandrolone in his post-fight drug test. 

Posting on his official Facebook page, Sherk reflected briefly on his time with the promotion, detailing how not much has changed in regards to how things are handled, before criticising the current situation regarding fighter pay, explaining how the UFC should be “extremely embarrassed” regarding the issue.

I think the UFC should be extremely embarrassed by the fact that their former champions and top-ranked fighters have to go fight YouTube stars with barely any fighting experience and make 10 times more money than they do in the UFC,” Sherk posted. “I’ve been retired for 10 years and nothing has changed in that organization. UFC fighters are still the worst paid athletes on the biggest stage. Believe me, I have my stories too.

Sherk is, of course, commenting on the April professional boxing match between former UFC welterweight contender, Ben Askren, and YouTuber, Jake Paul — as well as the upcoming August boxing match between former undisputed welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley and Logan Paul. Both Askren and Woodley claimed that their respective paydays would be the biggest of their professional careers in combat sports.

UFC middleweight contender, Paulo Costa recently commented on the rise of professional boxing matches between the likes of the Paul brothers and UFC fighters, questioning how YouTubers could earn more money in combat sports than actual fighters. His once-slated opponent, Jared Cannonier also explained how someone needs to step up in a bid to secure fighters a larger percentage of revenue from promotions and organizations.

In a response to a Facebook user, Sherk shares the same sentiment as Cannonier, claiming that mixed martial artists need to unionise.

The fighters aren’t doing anything wrong,” Sherk replied. “The fighters want to win world titles on the biggest stage. I’ve been there so I know. What’s wrong is that the fighters need to unionise, without the UFC there will still be fighters but without fighters, there is no UFC. For some reason the fighters refuse to do that, it has to be an all or nothing kind of thing. The big-name fighters need to jump on board but they’re the ones making big money so they have more to lose than gain.” (H/T BJPENN.com)

https://www.facebook.com/sean.sherk.5/posts/4097260273687345
Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.