Fighter pay seems to be an increasingly popular issue in the sport of mixed martial arts, especially with the new UFC-Reebok deal setting in which has proven to hurt the earnings of many fighters despite some being fond of it.
Of course there are some fighters in the sport like former stars Anderson Silva, and Georges St. Pierre, as well as the UFC’s new golden boy Conor McGregor who make it well off in the fight game, but there are also some fighters who have quite a tough time making money in the sport.
The talk of a fighter’s union has surfaced in order to secure better conditions for the combatants, but nothing has seemed to materialize just yet. An interesting report recently came up via The Economist that talked of McGregor’s earnings, but also stated that the average fighter only earns $24,500 per fight fighting an average of twice per year.
The report also mentions that a culinary union has expressed desire to help the fighters:
“Mr McGregor reportedly earned $500,000 (not including bonuses or sponsorships) for a recent bout. But most UFC fighters make decidedly less. The median pay per fight is $24,500, and most pugilists get in the ring only a couple of times a year. Some fighters think the muscle of a union might help them get better pay and more say. Earlier this month, the Teamsters, along with a local culinary union, announced that they intended to help fighters organize.”
Multiple ex-UFC veterans have also compiled a class action lawsuit against the UFC involving money, and the so-called poor treatment by the UFC of their fighters, but no decision or agreement has come from that just yet.
If many fighters are indeed struggling as this report seems to indicate, what would be the best plan of action to improve their conditions?