Low fighter pay has been a huge issue in mixed martial arts for several years now, but if you ask the UFC President, it’s not a real issue and it’s all just a creation of the media. According to Dana White, fighters aren’t really underpaid, the media just convinced them that they are.
“You have these scumbags out there that know nothing about the business telling all the fighters ‘oh you’re all being underpaid. You’re not being paid enough money. You’re not this’ — it goes on every f—king day!” White ranted on Travis Browne’s podcast.
“Every media member that talks about fighter pay is a scumbag who is basically just out there to get attention, because they literally know nothing about the business or the pay or how any of this shit works,” he said. “It’s all part of the game.
“That’s who they are and that’s what they do, and I literally could give a f—k.”
White is taking a page from his friend Donald Trump’s playbook once again. They’re not at fault, they didn’t create or do anything wrong, it’s all fake news, all just a media creation.
Over a decade of fighters asking for bonuses and bigger purses so they can pay for basic needs and train full time? Athletes from other sports getting a significantly larger slice of the pie? Boxing stars making far more money than UFC counterparts with similar or even more drawing power? Countless other complaints, grievances and even lawsuits from legions of fighters from different eras of the sport?
Is all of that just fake news and an elaborate scheme created by media for several years to — *checks notes* — get attention? Or is this again just a transparent attempt at passing blame?
But hey, don’t take my word for it. I am part of “the scumbag media” after all, so just listen to the UFC!
Year over year, White, UFC and Endeavor bragged about doing record business, and raking in massive amounts of money. Endeavor announced that 2021 was the “biggest first half ever” for the UFC, and could end up reaching the billion dollar revenue mark for the year. They also revealed that event operating costs, which include fighter pay, dropped by an average of $1 million per event.
In 2020, White used the pandemic and not having ticket sales as an excuse to not increase fighter pay, claiming they will “lose over $100 million.” He then boasted that that UFC “broke every record” in 2020, including revenue! Prior to that, White also announced that 2019 was their “biggest year” to date.
White also previously discussed fighter pay and said it was comparable to other major sports leagues. He says fighters make a lot of money and claimed that “opportunities today, are just like playing in the NFL, NBA, or Major League Baseball.” While those leagues have large minimum contracts and close to 50% wage share, Zuffa’s own “company overview” documents showed that the UFC themselves planned to keep “athlete compensation” at just 17% for years.
I could go on and on, but are all of the quotes and numbers from them all also created by “the media” too?