Rule Numero Uno: You have to get signed, of course.
Rule Numero Dos: You have to make sure you don't lose more than two fights, especially not more than two back to back.
Rule Numero Tres: Never ask for a pay raise.
And now you know, but too bad Lyoto Machida didn't read my valuable rule book before Dana White put his business out in the street via the internet and ESPN. One could argue both sides of this all too familiar issue when it comes to fighters and their promoters. But what did you expect from a guy like Dana White? Not only did he come from the boxing world where such practices are common place, but he still holds some of his boxing promoter tricks close to the vest so he can maintain his empire. The man simply doesn't want to pay his fighters, and he won't pay the ones he feels don't deserve it. I've long been an advocate of mma fighters having an opportunity to make Floyd Mayweather money, but those prospects are a foreseeable improbability. After all where would one go to make 250 million dollars for one fight if they can't even make 300,000 in the most prominent mma promotion in the world? Why sign with Bellator and make less? Sure you could sign with Strikeforce but you're essentially back under the Zuffa umbrella and back where you started. Besides that's like dating the UFC's less attractive sister.
So at the end of the day professional mixed martial artists in the UFC should know their place and keep quiet. Their worth is calculated in dollars earned for Zuffa, not how many fights they win or how skilled they are. If they can market you and use you to turn a profit, then you're worth the extra cash. Chuck Liddell made 500,000 dollars win or lose because he was the face of the UFC in his prime. Tito Ortiz made a lot of money before he got too big for his britches and wanted to control his own career. He had to learn the hard way that you simply cannot control what happens to you and work for Zuffa at the same time. It's like oil and water, the two don't mix.
The downside of one force controlling mma is the lack of freedom for fighters to demand their worth. There's no union backing you up with the threat of a strike. There are no mainstream outlets for fighters to voice their beef and garner support from the public the way NFL players and MLB players have.
According to Dana White Machida and his management team back out of a deal to fight Rashad Evans because he wanted more money for the fight. Truth is both are right. It's absurd for Lyoto Machida to expect the kinds of pay days Anderson Silva is used to. At the same time Dana White shouldn't be so wrapped up in his astonishment that a fighter who once held a title at 205 and enjoys top 10 rank status wants more money. No matter how you feel about what Machida or anyone should earn, both sides come out the loser in all this. Dana White further fuels the idea that he's a selfish money grubbing promoter with his own well being in mind, and Machida comes off looking like the cry baby fighter who wants more money than he's worth.
Even so, Anderson Silva and George St., Pierre making lower millions doesn't scratch the surface of what the top boxers in the world make. The sad part of all this is the structure in which the UFC has created. I'm not saying boxing is superior in this regard, because boxing promoters invented screwing their fights, but you can't argue against the facts that bare out the number of fighters in charge of their destiny compared to the number of mma fighters in the same boat. For every Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Muhammad Ali, and Oscar De La Hoya there's maybe one Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, and they're both retired from the sport.
Until we have multiple promoters looking to spend their own money putting on the best fights possible I'm afraid Machida and guys like him looking for an extra hundred grand will have to step in line.