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.
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.