There was a lot to unpack from Dana White’s recent Actually Me segment on GQ’s YouTube channel. Among them were his comments about the one hot topic that’s always been associated with the UFC: fighter pay.
In case you need to jog your memory, here’s the clip:
“Boxing has absolutely been destroyed, because of money and all the things that go on. It’s never gonna happen while I’m here. Believe me, these guys get paid what they’re supposed to get paid,” White told GQ. “They eat what they kill. They get a percentage of the pay-per-view buys. And the money is spread out amongst all the fighters.”
Of course, his comments were picked up by several media outlets, including ESPN. The said article included brief information about the ongoing class action lawsuit against the company, the plans to incorporate the Ali Act, and the low revenue share UFC fighters get compared to athletes from other sports organizations, among other things.
The UFC boss was then asked about it in his recent interview with Yahoo! Sports, and he did respond in trademark Dana White fashion.
“What you’re telling me is some scumbag media guys out there watched an interview that wasn’t even theirs, took it out of context, and wrote stories about it saying fighter pay’s never gonna go up… I’m f—ng shocked!
“Come on! Get the f—k outta here! You shouldn’t even be writing a f—ng story about anything unless you do the f—ng interview.”
White wasn’t particularly happy about the stories that came off a light-hearted fan Q&A.
“You’re gonna watch a fun, ‘Haha’ GQ f—ng Q&A and write a story off it? You’re a piece of shit. You’re a piece of shit f—ng journalist.
“You’re a piece of shit f—ng journalist because if that’s the question you wanted to ask… if you had a question about that, then f—ng call me and ask me. Because that’s not what it meant.
“You’re a typical scumbag piece of shit f—ng journalist if you write a story off of some goofy, fun GQ f—ng interview, and you write a serious f—ng pay story about it? F—k you! F—k you, and you should never f—ng be able to write for anybody ever again.”
To clarify the said comments, White reiterated what he said in the same interview about how he feels about boxing as a business.
“What I said was boxing’s absolutely been destroyed because of guys being all being corrupt and all this other shit. I’m never gonna let the things that happened in boxing happen here (in the UFC) while I’m here. That’s what it meant.
“And if you’re any kind of real f—ng journalist, you call and ask. So I don’t give a flying f—k who wrote it, even if it was ESPN. You’re a f—ng piece of shit.”
It’s worth noting that White didn’t address his own quotes saying clearly that he believes fighters “get paid what they’re supposed to get paid.”
Despite countless attempts, White and the UFC also don’t really respond to inquiries about the specifics on fighter pay. Even without his direct quotes though, there have already been enough details and specifics revealed about the UFC’s finances, through the UFC antitrust lawsuit along with their own SEC filings and earning calls.
The UFC now makes well over a billion a year, but the numbers Endeavor mentioned also show that fighters receive just around 17.5% of the revenue — a figure spot on with the UFC’s own targets for years. This wage share is significantly lower than athletes in other sports leagues that get close to 50%, and the inverse of how boxers can get around 70% of the pie.
Is that increasing gap between promoters and fighters really how everyone is “supposed to get paid”?