Dana White recently addressed fighters’ financial situation during this pandemic. After the promotion canceled multiple events already, the UFC President says they’re working on a deal to compensate those athletes who had scheduled bouts.
“People who missed their fights, we’re working out a whole deal for those guys,” White told Yahoo! Sports. “We’re working on all those stuff.”
White declined to go through specifics, after it was earlier reported that the athletes from the canceled UFC London event were paid part of their contracted purses, but not exceeding $20,000.
When further asked about compensation, White said the UFC athletes — who are independent contractors, not employees — won’t be getting any stipends during this pandemic.
“We’re not doing stimulus checks,” White said with a laugh. “We’ll be back up and running, is what we’re going to do... When you’re with the UFC, we’re moving forward. You’re going to continue to work, continue to make money, continue to feed your family. Whether you work at the offices or you fight for the UFC.”
Best case scenario for athletes would’ve always been to get paid and wait out this pandemic, but White has been bullish on that idea, and this is a business after all. The UFC President says they’ll be cranking shows back-to-back-to-back soon, and while safety is obviously still a valid concern, this would at least lead to money flowing again for those who get booked for fights.
When compared to other MMA promotions, Bellator also isn’t giving a monthly stipend, but like UFC, they plan on returning to host an insane amount of shows in 2020. While the UFC wants to start up again on May 9, Bellator plans to start back up much later, when things have settled down more.
The much smaller PFL has scrapped their entire 2020 schedule altogether, and is will be giving their fighters a monthly stipend to help them get by. While even that small amount (reportedly in the $1000 range) can help out struggling fighters, PFL was only able to afford that after cutting and releasing a big chunk of the athletes from its roster.
This coronavirus pandemic has really hit everyone hard, but if UFC and Bellator can successfully (and safely) host all the planned shows, more athletes will at least get slots on those cards and get purses coming again. For those fighters who don’t have bouts booked, hopefully they’re taking advantage of those generous COVID-19 relief benefits.