clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

WWE releases huge amount of contracted wrestlers, are UFC fighters next?

New, 26 comments

World Wrestling Entertainment went into cost-cutting mode today, trimming their talent roster to a large degree. Could the UFC be forced into the same position?

WWE Superstars For Sandy Relief Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for WWE

Despite going back to filming live shows this week, WWE needed to save some money. The “essential business” tag in the state of Florida wasn’t enough to keep every contracted wrestler, producer, or office worker around. So the axe fell, and it fell heavily.

Earlier in the day, WWE sent out a press release announcing that they were making wide-ranging cuts that would include:

  • Reducing executive and board member compensation;
  • Decreasing operating expenses;
  • Cutting talent expenses, third party staffing and consulting;
  • Deferring spend on the build out of the Company’s new headquarters for at least six months.

They added this tidbit:

“Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Company also identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately. The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the Company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature.”

Some of those changes came nearly immediately.

Reports are still coming in as of this writing, but at least 17 members of the talent roster have been outright released:

“WWE has come to terms on the release of Kurt Angle, Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), Luke Gallows (Drew Hankinson), Heath Slater (Heath Miller), Eric Young (Jeremy Fritz), Rowan (Joseph Ruud), Sarah Logan (Sarah Rowe), Mike Chioda, Mike Kanellis (Mike Bennett), Maria Kanellis, EC3 (Michael Hutter), Aiden English (Matthew Rehwoldt), Lio Rush (Lionel Green), Primo (Edwin Colon) and Epico (Orlando Colon Nieves). We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

They have also furloughed nine producers (names via PWInsider, confirmation of furlough via Pro Wrestling Sheet).

While some of the above were not being used, and some had actually asked for their release in the past, it is a huge purge of talent nonetheless. That begs the obvious question as an MMA fan, though.

Could the UFC be forced to do something similar?

While their office staff isn’t as large as WWE’s, they do have a much larger roster of independent contractors. It’s unclear how many of these contracts have a time length attached to them as well as a number of fights (ie. an eight-fight contract where eight fights have to be offered to the fighter over the course of, say, three years). Also, with so many fighters residing in countries where they cannot currently leave (Brazil, Russia, etc), it seems very difficult to get them fights. So could some of them potentially be jettisoned?

Then there’s also independently-contracted production crews, announcers, and others as well. It remains to be seen if it’s even an issue for a roster of independent contractors with no set minimums built in. But even if the UFC presses forward and tries to reach their alleged 42-card minimum to get paid out their 750 million dollars by ESPN, cuts could very well be a thing.

Or not. We’ll have to see.