Don Frye is one of MMA's biggest personalities. His tendency to speak his feelings as honestly as anyone in the sport along with his sense of humor and a history of being a "go for broke" fighter have turned Frye into one of the most beloved figures around the sport.
Of course, talking about UFC fighter pay in any negative way is a quick way to change that. The question of "Are UFC fighters underpaid?" was asked while Frye was on the "Savage Dog Show" on Sherdog and this was his response:
Oh my God, it's a crime. It's a crime. You see some of these guys only getting two or three or six thousand dollars and you've got Dana bragging about having 30 Ferraris. Come on. You have a sponsor and he charges a sponsor what, a hundred and fifty grand to have your stuff on the fighter? That's money he's stealing from the fighter. Then he goes and he pays them two or three thousand dollars. That's crazy.
While it's not a particularly new stance, and despite my feelings that there is a slight pay issue in the UFC, this seems to miss a bit of the point. What Dana makes off the UFC should have no bearing on what the bottom level fighters should make.
Simple business sense would suggest that Dana White is far more important to the success of the UFC than an opening level fighter (who seems to make no less than $6,000) and is therefor worth more money.
My issue with pay is less about the bottom rung fighters and more about the gap between the current "middle class" which tends to average somewhere around $30,000-50,000 (with win bonus) and the top end which is generally well over $100,000. But that's all in flux and something that may well correct itself in the next year or two.
Frye also thinks that Dana White has "ruined the sport":
I do. I really do. I had a lot of fun. The fans are fantastic. Fantastic fans. But the thing is, Dana White's just ruined the sport. I got to thinking about it today and you know, he ruined it for me. I thought, ‘Why am I letting that asshole dictate my life and take all of the fun out of it for me?' I just ignore him and go on with my life. I might climb back in the cage just because I finally say, ‘F--k it. Why let him ruin it?' I just ignore him and go on with my own business.
Even if I disagree with him, I'm firmly in the camp of people who'll never be able to get too mad at Don. The man is a national treasure.