(I look at this photo and think, “now there’s a guy who just wants to open up a dialogue and find some common ground.” / Photo by Cindy Schultz for Times Union)
Last week, former UFC middleweight Nate Quarry went on the Underground Forum to discuss the low pay and sponsorship limitations he encountered while fighting for the promotion. As he saw it, the UFC viewed its fighters as “just a product to use and discard.”
Normally, this is the point where UFC president Dana White would find the nearest video-camera and call Quarry a [expletive] loser crybaby who never did anything for the promotion and is lying about how much money he made in the first place. Instead, Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole asked UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta how he felt about Quarry’s remarks. Here’s what the UFC’s less-visible, more level-headed frontman had to say:
“This sport is in its infancy, and I’ll admit that there is so much more to be done, but the media is focusing so much on the negative and there are far more positives out there in terms of what we have done for the sport and the fighters,” Fertitta said. “You come to work every day and you kind of feel beaten down because it’s something new [to complain about] every day…
“I’m not going to argue or counter every specific claim made by Nate Quarry on some website,” Fertitta said. “I’m super proud of what we have done for our athletes, this sport and this company. Our track record is darn good as a whole and we have nothing to be embarrassed about.
“This fight Nate is talking about was so long ago and clearly the business wasn’t where it is today. It was in its infancy and we were coming out of a period where we suffered millions upon millions in losses. It wasn’t an insignificant amount of money. And I’ll tell you this, Nate is a smart guy. Absolutely he is. He knew when he signed his contract exactly what he’d be paid….