The issue of the relatively low level of fighter pay has been getting more and more attention recently. Former Welterweight challenger Jon Fitch had a public back-and-forth with UFC president Dana White regarding his compensation while with the promotion. Then, Middleweight Tim Kennedy compared his salary as a mixed martial artist with that of an average garbage man. Kennedy softened his stance shortly thereafter, but the message was still sent.
Now, Heavyweight Mark Hunt weighs in on the issue. Monday night, he posted a link to MMA Manifesto's UFC Career Fighter Earningss on his Facebook account with the comment "really". Hunt followed up, saying:
well i don't now bout where they got there figures from but it must be true lol
this is really crap man i need a pay rise (sic) how can some of these other gooons (sic) get more than me hahahahai been cheated again,why anyone would want to be a ufc fighter if this is how much we get paid.
There are a few interesting points to Hunt's statements here. First, Manifesto has an odd way of collecting numbers. While some athletic commission report fighter earnings after each event, many others don't. So, Manifesto uses the last known numbers to report salaries for events under the authority of commissions (and the UFC) where earnings are not reported. Second, shortly after voicing complaints against the UFC following his signature win over Stefan Struve, Hunt said he was "now happy" with the promotion. Following his latest fight at UFC 160, it was revealed he picked up $160K, putting him amongst the highest paid fighters in the organization. Finally, Hunt seems to have tried to hide his thoughts behind sarcasm, though the sentiment seems clear.
As one of the higher paid competitors in the promotion, Hunt's thoughts should hold more weight than those of Fitch and other fighters that have been released. Even considering that Manifesto's numbers may not be 100% accurate, Hunt's statements reinforce the the idea the the UFC's payscale is lacking at best. While Dana White may try to dismiss the complaints and misdirect attention, when the suspected percentage of UFC revenue to fighter pay is less than 10%, this issue will remain a hot topic of criticism.
HT: Thanks to BE member Nolan Howel for the screencaps of Hunt's statements.