Kennedy latest to speak out on fighter pay
June 29, 2013
The issue of fighter pay continues on as Tim Kennedy made statements about how he could make more money emptying trash cans than fighting in the UFC.
Kennedy stated on the Grappletalk podcast that while he will be making $70,000 at UFC 162, he would only be taking home $20,000 after expenses. He also chastised MMA web sites for regurgitating UFC propaganda.
Kennedy went into damage control mode stating that his comments were taken out of context. He said on the podcast that “the UFC doesn’t pay very well.” Apparently, that was interpreted incorrectly.
Via MMA Junkie:
“The intent of these statements was to highlight that professional fighters incur significant expense associated with their preparations to fight and that fighter compensation is still not on par with other major sports.
“Unfortunately, I made statements that alluded to how the UFC in particular pays its athletes,” he wrote. “This was particularly offensive as Zuffa has taken better care of me than any other organization, even giving me a bonus for being amusing on Twitter. My choice of words was poor, not properly informed, and did not match my intent. Additionally, my comments were taken out of context. “
Criticism of fighter pay usually occurs after your career in the organization is over. Kennedy’s first fight with the UFC is Saturday. Kennedy joins John Cholish, Jon Fitch and Jacob Volkmann as UFC fighters that have spoken out about fighter pay. The only difference between the four is that Kennedy is the only one that was currently on the roster when he talked about UFC pay. Cholish retired, Fitch and Volkmann were released.
Travis Browne chimed in with an interview with MMA Junkie in which he stated that while he respects Kennedy, Browne realizes what he signed up for when he signed on with Zuffa. While he’s not making top money, he’s content with his UFC salary.
While Quarry does not believe a union will occur, he would like to see the fighters get a 3 fight contract with a no cut clause from the UFC. Quarry is against the sponsorship tax as he told BE that one of his sponsors at the time, basketball brand And 1, ceased sponsoring him once the UFC stated it would require it pay the organization $50,000. While the Zuffa arguments that a sponsor fee would preclude lower paying brands and facilitate more blue chip sponsors to the UFC, Quarry indicates that it’s not happening.
With the latest public comments on fighter pay, does Zuffa care?
Fighters not satisfied with their pay? Sounds like just about everyone else that has a job. As has been outlined numerous times, the life of a fighter is difficult and while it may seem like they have made it by being in the UFC, its obvious that there are financial realities for those not at the top of the card.
Quarry’s explanation of the realities of fighter pay are sobering and offer a glimpse of what he had to do to make ends meet. Of course, he’s retired and has had some time to think about his time as a fighter. Kennedy’s responses to the line of questioning on the podcast may be honest but not prudent for the longevity of his career in the UFC unless he wins all his fights.
Could all of this talk about fighter pay be helpful in creating a change. Or maybe Dana White will just bury anyone that talks out about it. Kennedy will be an interesting case. He has served in the U.S. military and should be respected. So, White may not be able to dismiss Kennedy that easily unless he loses this Saturday. Yet, his comments may make Zuffa concerned. Its obvious that there’s a portion of fighters that are not content with their pay. Maybe its not the actual pay but the amount of times they are chosen to fight. Certainly White will have some comments this week about the issue.