UFC President Dana White says fighter pay in the organization won’t change dramatically in his current position, telling GQ in a video released Thursday that he believes fighters are “paid what they’re supposed to earn.” .
The issue of fighter pay has been a hot topic in MMA for years and has been pushed further into the spotlight in recent months by YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul. White has said he believes top-flight boxers are overpaid and reiterated in the GQ interview that he believes UFC fighters are paid more appropriately.
“Boxing has been absolutely destroyed because of the money and all of the things that are going on,” White said. “It’s never going to happen as long as I’m here. Believe me, these guys get paid what they’re supposed to get paid. They eat what they kill. You get a percentage of the pay-per-view purchases. And the money is distributed among all the fighters.”
The UFC pays fighters around 20% of their earnings, according to data unearthed during the ongoing anti-promotion lawsuit by some former fighters. Other major sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA and MLB share about half of their revenues with players, but these leagues are unionized and athletes can bargain collectively through players’ associations. MMA fighters, and UFC fighters in particular, currently have nothing quite like them.
“Boxing has been absolutely destroyed because of the money and all the things that are going on. It’ll never happen as long as I’m here. Believe me, these guys get paid what they’re supposed to get paid. They eat what they kill. You get a percentage of pay-per-view purchases. And the money will be distributed among all the fighters.”
Dana White, on UFC salary increases
UFC fighters are classified as independent contractors, which could make collective bargaining legally difficult. Several attempts to unionize UFC fighters have failed over the past 10 years, including one by former baseball agent Jeff Borris.
“There aren’t too many things to talk about about the UFC,” White told GQ. “When you look at what we’ve done with the business over the past 22 years, it’s incredible. Never have the things been done that we have done in combat business. You must always have something to complain about, I think. And fighters always want to make more money.”
White and executives at UFC parent company Endeavor have argued that fighter salaries have grown exponentially over the past decade, although UFC’s revenue has also grown sharply since then.
“No major sports organization pays their athletes as badly as Dana White & UFC,” Paul said tweeted in response to White’s GQ comments. “If you don’t see that, then you’re one of Dana’s sheep. They always talk about selling out 21 events in a row, but never about increasing the pay of the fighters, giving them health care and a fair revenue sharing.”
The antitrust lawsuit, filed against UFC in 2014 by former fighters including Cung Le, alleges that the promotion is a monopoly, or monopsony, that controls the vast majority of the sport’s market share and locks fighters into restrictive contracts that don’t allow them to compete Tests allow their value in the free market and the suppression of wages.
The lawsuit is being brought by fighters from the MMA Fighters Association, which does not want unionization. Instead, MMAFA wants the Muhammad Ali Law of Boxing, which gives boxers contractual protections, to be extended to MMA. This expansion to MMA was introduced as a bill to the House of Representatives in 2017 by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., but has been stuck in the Legislature since then. UFC has spent hundreds of thousands lobbying against the potential law.
In 2020, a federal judge said he would grant a class-action lawsuit in the antitrust case, making it a class-action lawsuit that would allow a larger number of fighters to win a share of potentially billions in damages. The judge, Richard Boulware, has not yet made the class certification official, and the case looks set to continue for many years to come.
“The UFC has established a salary structure that pays fighters less than 20% of revenue,” MMAFA founder Rob Maysey told ESPN. “The only way to determine which fighters should be ‘paid’ is to remove the UFC’s contractual restrictions and bring real competition to the market for combat services.”
https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/34389555/ufc-president-dana-white-not-planning-fighter-raises-guys-get-paid-supposed-get-paid UFC president Dana White not planning fighter raises