After the coronavirus forced numerous event cancelations, a new report came out contradicting the earlier statements that fighters would get their full “base pay.” According to this ESPN, fighters who were supposed to compete at UFC London received compensation that was “no more than $20,000.”
These fighters have already invested and paid for full training camps, expecting to receive their contracted money. Some fighters would be unaffected by that limit, especially the newer UFC fighters on the card, who are living and training in Europe. For those with bigger contracts though, $20,000 represents a huge pay cut.
Leslie Smith, who previously clashed with the UFC and long tried to unionize fighters for better pay, reacted to the news and explained her current situation. Now two fights into her new home in Bellator, Smith was supposed to have her third bout with the promotion last March.
Like everything else during this coronavirus pandemic, Bellator 241, along with their other planned shows, was canceled. Scott Coker stated that fighters, officials, judges, cutmen, and event personnel have all been compensated.
Smith now claims Bellator paid her significantly more for their canceled event, than what the UFC is handing out to their fighters.
I got more than double $20k from Bellator. And Bellator has a life insurance policy. Feeling good about my career choices right now https://t.co/fZTk8gnmdW— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) April 23, 2020
“I got more than double $20k from Bellator. And Bellator has a life insurance policy,” Smith wrote. “Feeling good about my career choices right now”
Smith isn’t the only Bellator fighter criticizing MMA’s world leader. Double-champ Patricio Pitbull recently slammed the UFC’s “f—k the fighter” approach to this pandemic, calling his efforts “inhuman.”
In terms of percentages, Bellator has reportedly paid fighters 44.7% of their revenue up until 2016, and is expected to be “around 50%” in the next few years, which similar to major sports organizations. Meanwhile, UFC’s own projections had them giving just around 17% of their record breaking revenue.
These revenues between the number one and two MMA promotions aren’t even comparable though. Both promotions reportedly had their biggest year in 2019, with Bellator generating an estimated $80 million and UFC having a $900 million.