UFC President Dana White said the fighter’s pay in the organization would not change significantly while in his current role, telling GQ at Video posted Thursday He believes the fighters “get paid what they’re supposed to.”
The topic of fighter salaries has been a hot issue in MMA for years and has been pushed into the spotlight by YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul in recent months. White said he thinks top boxers are overpaid and reiterated in a GQ interview that he thinks UFC fighters are overpaid.
“Boxing is completely destroyed by the money and all the things that happen,” White said. “This will never happen while I’m here. Believe me, these guys get paid for what they’re supposed to get. They eat what they kill. And they get a percentage of pay-per-view purchases. And the money is spread out among all the fighters.”
The UFC pays fighters about 20% of its revenue, according to data discovered during an ongoing antitrust lawsuit that some former fighters have filed against the promotion. Other major sports leagues, such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB, share about half of their revenue with players, but these leagues are federations and athletes can bargain collectively across players’ associations. MMA fighters and UFC fighters specifically don’t have anything similar at this time.
“Boxing is absolutely devastated, because of the money and all the things that go on. That’s never going to happen while I’m here. Believe me, these guys get paid for what they’re supposed to get. They eat what they kill. They take a percentage of pay-per-view purchases.” The money is distributed among all the fighters.”
Dana White, on raising wages in the UFC
UFC fighters are classified as independent contractors, which can make collective bargaining legally difficult. Several attempts to unionize UFC fighters in the past 10 years have failed, including one by former baseball agent Jeff Burris.
“There’s not a whole lot to talk about—about the UFC,” White told GQ. “If you look at what we’ve done in the business over the past 22 years, it’s incredible. It’s never, ever, been done the things we’ve done in combat. You always have to have something to bother with, I think and fighters always want to gain more. from money “.
White and executives from parent company Endeavor UFC have argued that fighters’ salaries have risen dramatically over the past decade, although UFC’s revenue has also grown sharply since then.
“No major sports organization pays its athletes like Dana White and the UFC,” Paul chirp In response to White GQ’s comments. “If you don’t see it, you’re one of Dana’s sheep. They keep talking about selling 21 events in a row but never talking about raising fighters’ salaries, giving them health care and just dividing the revenue.”
An antitrust lawsuit brought against the UFC in 2014 by former fighters, including Cung Le, alleges the promotion is a monopoly or monopoly, controlling the vast majority of the sport’s market share, locking down restrictive contracts for fighters that don’t allow them to test their value in the open market wage suppression.
The suit is led by fighters from the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, which does not want to join unions. Instead, the MMAFA wants to extend the Muhammad Ali Boxing Act, which grants contractual protections to boxers, to include MMA. This MMA extension was introduced as a bill to the House of Representatives by Representative Markwayne Mullen, of Oklahoma, in 2017, but has since been stuck in legislative limbo. The UFC has spent hundreds of thousands lobbying against the potential law.
In 2020, a federal judge said he would grant class testimony in an antitrust case, making it a class action that would allow more fighters to pay a share of what could be billions in damages. Judge Richard Bulwer did not make official testimony, and the case appears set to continue for many more years.
“The UFC has created a pay structure that pays fighters less than 20% of revenue,” MMAFA founder Rob Maizi told ESPN. “The only way to determine what the Fighters are ‘supposed to charge’ is to remove the contractual restrictions imposed by the UFC and bring real competition to the Fighting Services to market.”