The much ballyhooed ESPN: Outside the Lines (which we originally erroneously identified as E:60) episode dealing with UFC salaries and the assertion that the promotion is becoming a monopoly will air Sunday morning on the sports network and Dana White says he’s looking forward to it.
According to the UFC president, the company is preparing to counter-program the show with the uncut and unedited version of the interview with UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to expose ESPN and the outlet’s main MMA analyst Josh Gross, who contributed to the episode.
White and Gross have a tumultuous history, and White makes no bones about his feelings about the former managing editor of Sherdog.com, who revealed the finalists of TUF 4 prior to the season finale of the show and wrote a vitriolic open letter to White, pointing a finger at him and the UFC for the epidemic of fighter PED use.
According to an ESPN story posted yesterday about Sunday’s piece, several UFC fighters who expressed displeasure about fighter salaries were too afraid to speak about the issue on record. The only past and present fighter who would talk about it was Ken Shamrock who recently lost a legal battle with the MMA juggernaut. White has promised to expose Shamrock as well.
Perhaps the most telling tweet by White touches on why ESPN, who has a lucrative UFC broadcasting deal in the UK would attack Zuffa on this front.
Coincidentally, MMA-Manifesto released a comprehensive list of all of the UFC base salaries this week and although they are a far cry from those of their counterparts in other professional sports, fighters don’t do *that bad*, considering they often receive back room bonuses and sponsorship money as well. Keep in mind that a lot of these guys made minimum wage (or approximately $16,000 a year) prior to being signed by Zuffa. That being said, hopefully the disparity in pay eventually matches the 70/30 split boxers share with promoters some day, but unless a union eventually happens, it’s unlikely.
Check out the rest of The Baldfather’s tweets on the show below: