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Tag: fighter pay

CagePotato Ban: Asking if Something Is ‘Fair’


(Hughes has been hunting since he was in camo diapers, but never has he seen anything with a rack that nice.)

By Jason Moles

Over the past few days, there’s been a lot of talk about what is fair and what is not. ESPN’s latest Outside the Lines episode, in which they attempted to sabotage the UFC  find out whether or not the UFC holds a monopoly in mixed martial arts, was mostly focused on how much money entry-level fighters are making compared to top fighters, and how unfair that is. Over and over again we were forced to hear terms like “revenue pie” and “fair share.” And just like that, the MMA fanosphere exploded as everyone with an Internet connection shared their inebriated take on fairness and injustice.

Let me stop you in your tracks right there. Who said life was fair, or even that it should be? Need I remind you just how unfair life is?

Why is it that Chael Sonnen gets busted with elevated testosterone and pleads guilty to money laundering and not only keeps his job, but is now in a number one contender bout at UFC on FOX while Nate Marquardt gets popped for the same thing and is excommunicated from Zuffa, relegated to the unemployment line? How in the world did Michael Vick spend more time behind bars for killing dogs than OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony did combined for killing people?! Does that seem fair to you? Don’t even get me started on the number of times Kenny Florian has fought for a title.

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Video: ESPN Attacks UFC Fighter Pay on ‘Outside the Lines’; UFC Releases Unaired Footage in Response

So here’s that ESPN Outside the Lines piece that got Dana White so hot and bothered. Even before it aired yesterday morning, the segment — and accompanying feature article by Josh Gross — drew criticism for its reliance on anonymous sources (as well as Ken Shamrock, who’s not exactly unbiased), and for downplaying the reality of the UFC’s business model, in which fighters are paid handsomely for performing well and drawing a crowd. Should a new UFC prospect deserve to make as much as an NFL player simply because he’s signed to the UFC? Lorenzo Fertitta doesn’t think so: “[L]ike any other company in America…You have to perform, to be able to get compensated.” There is also some mis-representation in the UFC’s $6,000/$6,000 system of payment for prospects (skip to the 5:03 mark), which ESPN seems to believe applies to all fighters who enter the promotion.

The segment does make a couple of solid points, pointing to the lack of a Muhammad Ali Act in MMA, and explaining that athletes in other major sports leagues are so well paid because they get 50% of the leagues’ revenues — while the UFC, according to “multiple sources” (all anonymous, of course), pays closer to 10% of its revenue to the fighters. Lorenzo Fertitta disputes this, saying it’s “in the neighborhood” of 50%, but since the UFC won’t disclose exactly what they’re earning (or exactly what they’re paying out to fighters, for that matter), it’s impossible to come away with a clear answer to this question.

Check it out and let us know what you think. After the jump, some unaired footage from the interview released yesterday by the UFC, in which Fertitta explains that the lowest-paid UFC fighter earns about ten times more than the lowest-paid boxer who fights on ESPN, so suck it.

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