Businessweek covers the issue of UFC fighter pay

July 4, 2013

Businessweek reports on the ongoing issue of fighter pay.  It looks at the fact that while fighters are beginning to voice their opinion, there is no real solution unless Zuffa decides to do something.

The article paints a picture of the fighter discontent versus Dana White’s irritated response in his proposed elimination of fight night bonuses as the solution to do away with the complaints.  The article refers back to the ESPN expose on fighter pay last year and Bleacher Report’s analysis of the proposed UFC contract of Eddie Alvarez.  The latter being reviewed by labor law professor Zev Eigen with the professor concluding it was the “worst” arrangements in entertainment industry.

In an interview with Businessweek, Professor Eigen indicated that UFC Fighters should be treated as employees rather than independent contractors.  As an employee, the fighters would be entitled to more benefits and rights than they receive presently.

Payout Perspective:

The article is a sign that the issue of fighter pay is not going away and White may not be able to dismiss in his usual way.  The conclusion that fighters should be employees is an old issue that has come up in many industries.   The world of professional wrestling has had lawsuits related to the issue of independent contractor vs. employee.  But the main issue is that most fighters may be unhappy with their pay but will not voice their opinion since Zuffa is the top organization in their industry.  Unless Zuffa adjusts its budget to pay its fighters more, this is issue will continue.

32 Responses to “Businessweek covers the issue of UFC fighter pay”

  1. Tops of on July 4th, 2013 8:40 PM

    Great….finally the media is starting to take notice…..

  2. Tops of on July 4th, 2013 9:53 PM

    UFC Fighters Get Pummeled for a Living, and the Pay Stinks

    The title of the article in businessweek…..accurate tittle

  3. John S. on July 4th, 2013 9:58 PM

    The most important thing being classified as employees would do is give fighters the right to try and organize a union. Right now, as independent contractors, they can’t legally form one.

  4. BrainSmasher on July 4th, 2013 10:00 PM

    There is a reason nearly all the fighters are not saying anything. The same reason anyone with a good job and good pay doesn’t say anything. Why doesn’t everyone ask for more money? IF the pay was so bad or the wage wasn’t competitive. The fighters would speak up in a heart beat. The UFC pays at least 5 times the going rate across the board for every single fighter.

    The fighters will never have a leg to stand on as long as they are attacking a single company in an industry. You cant demand the UFC pay X amount while their admitted rivals and competitors do not have the same pay structure to follow. If you want to enforce it across all MMA. It will completely kill every promotion except the UFC.

  5. Aintitthetruth on July 4th, 2013 10:49 PM

    I have said multiple times that “independent contractor” is the same thing a stripper is classified as. It just isn’t fair to them (or the strippers, but thats neither here nor there). Bs what do you mean “as long as they are attacking a single company” as if there was another company to attack? Bellator is nothing compared to the UFC revenue/payout wise. I remember jaime jara (who is a beast!) got a paltry 1k to fight a couple years ago for bellator. Meanwhile the UFC swallowed up all the competitors… They hold a virtual monopoly on the sport. And as i said earlier every so often White will come out and say “We have too many fighters” as if it is some accident. No, they grab up any talent they can to deny smaller organizations. It also creates a threat from below that if you do complain you can be fired and easily replaced.

  6. Aintitthetruth on July 4th, 2013 10:54 PM

    John S, that is a great point. I wasn’t even aware of that. And I am a union guy!

  7. Matt C. on July 5th, 2013 7:29 AM

    I’m with BrainSmasher on this one. Be fair in your criticism here is all I want to see. If you expect the UFC to pay fighters a certain amount then you should expect other organizations to pay fighters the same amount. The work is no different a fight in the UFC is just as dangerous as a fight in Bellator or any other organization. Well I’ll make an exception to that I would say in some countries or any unregulated event for that matter it is probably more dangerous.

    If you don’t expect the same across the board in the industry then you are hampering one organizations ability to compete fairly or you might be enhancing their ability to compete fairly which wouldn’t be fair to the smaller organizations. Either way apply certain conditions to one organization isn’t fair.

    However I am for higher fighter pay for the lower tier fighters. I just want it to be fair to all parties involved and to be fair across the MMA industry as a whole not favoring or doing harm to any one organization.

  8. aintitthetruth on July 5th, 2013 7:55 AM

    Others couldn’t compete fairly until bellator came along. Watch american gangster and watch catone give his dairy farmer talk about how being fair at the unreasonable expense of others is unamerican. you need to hear it and it will make can I not resent the fact that zuffa lied about not shutting down PRIDE? and they absorbed every longstanding org that isn’t bellator. There is a huge gap between the two so bellator usually gets a pass. So since you try to equate the ufc with mma ufc will be held to a higher standard. And I did complain about jaime jara getting only 2moro a bellator fight. Dude was a four dobson champion as was a beast.

  9. BrainSmasher on July 5th, 2013 11:04 AM

    Anyone who says the UFC just shut Pride down is a moron who doesn’t know the facts. The UFC worked for ever to get in Japan. Because the Stigma of Pride and the mafia In Japan that still controlled everything it was never going to happen. That is why it took years for them to get the UFC in Japan. There is no reason to shut it down.

    I do not think they had long term plans to run Pride as it would not make sense to run a Brand that only has value in Japan. Pride in the US was worthless. Most of the people like you who talk about Pride never watched it and certainly never paid for it. But it would have been very profitable for them to run a few events and capitalized of the few Pride names they had. They paid 65 million for a bunch of has beens. They could have got some of that back if they could have used CroCop, Wandy, and Nog in Japan for a few events. Japan isn’t the first country the UFC has/had trouble getting into.

  10. BrainSmasher on July 5th, 2013 11:16 AM

    Also, the UFC is t the reason these promotions do t last and sell out to the UFC. It is their own poor management. Pride refused to leave Japan when all their fans demanded it. They promised to come to the US for over 5 years. It wasn’t until they were on the ropes that they come but they had no time to build it up and were out of business after 2 events. They put all their eggs in one basket in Japan and paid the Pride. Elite Xc took bad tv deals and promoted a side show that bleed their accounts and bit them in the ass. Affliction over paid all it’s fighters. Many fighters got 5 times what the UFC was paying. If they Paid UFC level pay. They could have last for many more events and maybe have caught on and landed a good tv deal. WFA bought some big name fighters with no way to monitize them. So they killed them selves. IFL was just a scam IMO. They made more mistakes than I can count. Horrible tv deals just to get on tv. Bad team concept. Over paid it’s fighters. Useless over paid coaches. Poor fight rules.

    These guys killed themselves. Not the UFC. KOTC has been around as a good size player since the early 90’s. They haven’t killed themselves with stupidity and the UFC hasn’t bought them out either. Go figure!

  11. Tops of on July 5th, 2013 5:41 PM

    In summary b.s. only 1 promotion for the sport of mma…the UFC….which pays very low haha…the future looks bright

  12. aintitthetruth on July 5th, 2013 6:43 PM

    King of the cage does alot of amateur shows these days. Its not bas ruttens kotc anymore. They are not even relevant it is a huge stretch to use them as an example. White said they would keep PRIDE going and didn’t. No matter the excise white lied. They would have gotten bellator bit viacom got it first.

  13. aintitthetruth on July 5th, 2013 6:48 PM

    Elitexc wfa and ifl were flash in the pan orgs. Longstanding meant wec, pride, and strikeforce. All of which ufc bought and buried.

  14. BrainSmasher on July 5th, 2013 9:39 PM

    Again you show your ignorance. Bas Rutten never owned King of the Cage. Terry Trebilcock has always owned KOTC except for that 2 years with Elite XC. KOTC puts on fights. Doesn’t matter what they are. They often franchise the brand out. But they are always making money. They know their place and they are still around today because of it. They have ran almost 300 events. I went to one of their local events 9 years ago and it was packed. At least 3000+ people.

    LOL @ you thinking Bas owned or ran KOTC just because of the name of their first event. Then trying to act like you know what you are talking about.

  15. BrainSmasher on July 5th, 2013 9:42 PM


    UFC is low paying compared to who? Name a fight promotion who pays more? You cant! You can only use other sports which only makes you look like an ass. That’s like saying Lawyers are under paid because they make less than Microsoft CEO’s.

  16. Tops of on July 5th, 2013 9:46 PM

    UFC 162 salaries: Anderson Silva hauls in $600K/$200K to just $24K/$24K for Chris Weidman
    Latest payout news….weidman would receive a whooping 24t!!!!…….now that’s championship money……

  17. BrainSmasher on July 5th, 2013 9:50 PM

    Showtime buried Strikeforce. Not the UFC. Zuffa owned SF and they refused to listen to Dana about the product. They also refused to pay anything for the content. Which means SF didn’t make enough money to survive and Showtime created enough tension to where no one could work with them. There is a reason Diaz left and Reem was leaving and Coker and his group sold out. Because Showtime had already put the burial process in motion because they were locked into a low paying tv deal with ever increasing fighter pay. SF was making stars and Showtime was getting ratings. BUt they refused to pay accordingly and SF could no longer afford their fighters.

  18. Tops of on July 5th, 2013 9:53 PM

    That’s what you call respecting your fighters…

  19. Tops of on July 5th, 2013 9:56 PM

    1 promotion in a sport of mma…..1 contender against the number 1 p4p mma fighter…..peanuts for pay

  20. Tops of on July 5th, 2013 10:10 PM

    Statement from Munoz:

    Those fight bonuses become very critical to a lot of us. We’re not like other sports where we can solely focus on MMA. The sport is just too young for that for all of us to just be athletes. I’m a fighter, a gym owner and a personal trainer. Getting those bonuses kind of lighten the load financially, and allows me to spend more time with my family. If I don’t get a bonus, then I have to work even harder. That’s why I fight the way I do. I’m trying to get a finish. I’m not just trying to score points. I want a bonus bad. The reward justifies the risk, for me.

    At least now fighters are beginning to speak out!!! More fighters would now tell the public the real situation….instead of hype machine Dana and UFC fan boys hahaha

  21. aintitthetruth on July 5th, 2013 11:04 PM

    King of the cage used to be billed as “bad ruttens kotc” you fool.

  22. aintitthetruth on July 5th, 2013 11:05 PM

    Back in 99 when it was actually relevant.

  23. aintitthetruth on July 5th, 2013 11:07 PM

    Btw I never said bas owned it. Just what it was called. You are a very simple person bs

  24. Diego on July 6th, 2013 4:59 AM

    “UFC is low paying compared to who?”

    Uhhh, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, MLB, etc. We are not debating the relative salaries within MMA, we are debating that no matter how you look at it UFC salaries suck.

  25. Diego on July 6th, 2013 5:04 AM

    “You can only use other sports which only makes you look like an ass. That’s like saying Lawyers are under paid because they make less than Microsoft CEO’s.”

    No. It’s like saying that lawyers for the UFC make less than lawyers for Microsoft. In which case the UFC will have crappy lawyers because all the good lawyers will go and work for Microsoft.


  26. Tops of on July 6th, 2013 5:15 AM

    Munoz is already near the top of the division and yet he has to be a personal trainer and a gym owner and a fighter….really bad pr for the UFC….they always try to portray the org as something that they are not….like a good con artist…

    I remember watching Anderson silva story…and before he fought sonnen fight…his hotel room was kinda small….the transportation was not impressive at all…the dressing room is small as hell there are other fighters in a common warmup area…not treated like a champ and p4p fighter…treated like a new fighter

    While on pacman fight…… hotel…the entrance of Mandalay going to the business hotel named “the hotel” there is a sign when you enter…this is the official residence of many pacquiao….he even has his own section in the kitchen exclusively for his staff to cook…The best room….etc….

  27. BrainSmasher on July 6th, 2013 12:43 PM

    Wrong Diego. You are picking and choosing which sport you compare them too. MMA fighters are not football players. If you lump them all as athletes. Well many athletes are paid much less than MMA fighters.

    Munoz career is on the rocks. That’s why he is talking about risk for a bonus.he is right. He has nothing to lose. As for his pay. He has never beat anyone and is about to wash out of his second division. He is a gatekeeper who can’t use his wrestling effectively in MMA and has no other skill to fall back on. When you keep losing. You tend to not make much money.

  28. BrainSmasher on July 6th, 2013 12:46 PM

    Also per event. The fighter make as much as other sports. IMO, if they want more money the. They need to fight more often. I think they should all fight at least 5 times a year.

  29. Tops of on July 6th, 2013 4:06 PM

    They can’t fight more often because UFC have few events in ratio to its signed fighters…..
    Increase the pay is the only fighters can make a living…it’s professional sports after all……Munoz description gave people an eye opener of how is the financial aspect of fighting for the UFC…he fought weidman for the number 1 spot…hell weidman is fighting p4p best for 24t/24t….I never thought it was this bad…it’s really bad…..

  30. Aintitthetruth on July 6th, 2013 7:15 PM

    Yeah I thought Mir had it bad. With his second go around as Heavyweight champ he was making 40/40 which seemed disturbing then. But 48k outright is a joke.

  31. BrainSmasher on July 6th, 2013 9:31 PM

    MIr has made a ton of money ever since. So lets not act like he is cheated. Also Weidman got a PPV cut for this fight and mark my words. He will get a new contract before his next fight. So claiming he is making 48K is misleading and a lie. IF you want to just go by reported pay. Then Pride was the worst in the world. You think Sergei, Sakurai, and Overeem fought for 10,000? Fedor for 300K?

  32. aintitthetruth on July 6th, 2013 11:18 PM

    Weidman already said he waited to renegotiate so don’t act like some fortune teller. Good move on his part. Rampage said PRIDE paid cash. And who knows how much the mafia there was paying them. When white offers stuff behind the scenes it is touted by you goons bit when PRIDE does it then its unacceptable. Way to have a double standard. Gary goodridge said he made at least 25k american and that was in 2000. More than mostmake now.

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