(This is what an unhappy millionaire looks like.)
Tito Ortiz has been a vocal critic of both Dana White and the UFC payscale for much of his MMA career, so it only makes sense that he would combine his two favorite topics as the last fight on his current contract draws near. A recent video from Throwdown features Ortiz with some incendiary rhetoric and fuzzy logic as he rails against the UFC and his former manager:
“Back then [Dana White] used to fight for things that I believe in. He fought for me to get paid more money…He was the guy battling for me. Now I’m battling against him. I’m not asking the fans for more money. I’m not asking you guys for more money. I’m asking the company that you guys pay for more money.
We’re the modern day gladiators, and we’re getting treated like gladiators…those guys were slaves. I feel like a slave. Yeah, I get paid a little money, but these guys are keeping the big revenue.”
This has become a popular line of reasoning among pro athletes in recent years. Because they only make a portion of the total revenue, the thinking goes, they are being used and exploited, much like slaves. Of course, slaves made no money and were not free to quit when they felt like it. So, yeah, there are some holes in that logic.
It also ignores the fact that while the organization is keeping most of the profit, they’re also incurring all the financial risk and paying all the promotional and marketing costs. That’s not to say fighters don’t have a gripe when it comes to pay, but that doesn’t mean that the economics of fight promotion are as simple as the fighters getting one percent while Dana White and the Fertittas pocket the other ninety-nine, as Ortiz implies.
Ortiz claims that he made $8 million in eleven years as an MMA fighter, a figure which he finds unsatisfactory. He also points out that he had to pay taxes on that money, as if that somehow makes him different from the rest of working America.
Lest you think he’s just greedy, Ortiz goes on to explain why he’s been so public and so persistent with his complaints.