Oh, you thought it was just UFC fighters upset over pay?
Ryan Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) has been projected as one of boxing’s next big superstars, but his career is on pause at the moment. The 21-year-old lightweight was angling for a return on July 4th on DAZN, but that appears to be off the table. What’s at the center of his frustration is his pay and how he’s been treated by DAZN.
“I’m not getting respect in the business matters,” Garcia said to Sports Illustrated. “They promote me as one of the biggest names that they have got. I’m not feeling the extra love that they claim I’m getting shown. I’m one of their most viewed fighters. Guaranteed, top-three. I’m getting the views. I’m getting the clicks. More than anyone but Canelo [Alvarez] and [Anthony] Joshua. Where’s my love?”
According to Garcia, whose last bout saw him score a fantastic KO of former world title challenger Francisco Fonseca, he was only offered $200,000 by DAZN to take on an opponent TBD.
“That’s bullsh-t,” Garcia said. “Why am I being held back financially? What is the problem here? Why is DAZN giving out big numbers to guys fighting nobodies? It’s f—ked up how I’m being treated. I’m not asking for $100 million. Just give me the check I deserve. How am I one of the biggest fighters in the world and I get bigger paychecks outside of boxing?”
Garcia’s previous two fight purses were $250,000 apiece for the Fonseca and Romero Duno bouts. Of course, Garcia was at odds with Golden Boy over the debacle that was accepting a short notice fight with Duno back in September, after his original opponent was literally arrested before the weigh-ins. Golden Boy eventually signed him to a new, multi-fight contract that represented a significant bump from the $50,000 purse he got vs. Jose Lopez in March of 2019.
Sources tell @TheAthletic Ryan Garcia has retained powerful boxing attorney Guadalupe Valencia, who is also advising him. One big issue: Garcia earned $50,000 for his March bout, despite Golden Boy approaching $1 million in revenue from a DAZN event Garcia headlined as A-side— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) August 5, 2019
Golden Boy president Eric Gomez denied that Garcia was asked to take a pay cut, and much like Dana White with Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal, he pointed to the fact that Garcia did sign that contract recently.
“We are exclusive to DAZN and Ryan is exclusive to us,” Gomez said. “We’re living in a pandemic. There are some real hard times out there. It’s arguably the worst financial downfall since the Great Depression. Ryan’s next show is not going to have any fans. His gate is significant. But he wasn’t asked to take a pay cut. In the contract that we recently signed, we were going to pay him above his minimum for this next fight.”
To clarify things just a tad, Golden Boy Boxing has a broadcast deal with DAZN. As Chris Mannix notes in the article, DAZN doesn’t deal with fighters directly, and that “DAZN agrees to pay a promoter a set license fee over the course of a year, with the promoter determining the purse fees for its fighters.” Garcia wants to speak directly with DAZN, because he’s “tired of going through middle men.”
DAZN has invested heavily in combat sports since its United States launch in 2018, and now they are facing financial difficulties as the pandemic has indefinitely sidelined anything resembling a regular sports schedule.
As for Garcia, he has yet to fight for a major title, and the hope was that he’d take on former lightweight champion Jorge Linares in the summer. The pandemic has put that on the shelf, as Linares is still stuck in his adopted home country in Japan. That would’ve represented the biggest fight of his career.
For now it’s a waiting game for Garcia — a man with a lot of talent, a big social media following, and the (currently useless) ability to draw a crowd in Southern California, and right now a lot of frustration.