On Friday, GQ posted an interview with UFC president Dana White was insistent that the UFC's pay scale won't dramatically change on his watch. The organization has come under fire in recent years for what many view as fighters being dramatically underpaid. White dismissed that saying the fighters, "get paid what they're supposed to get paid."
UFC pays fighters about 20 percent of the company's revenue. Most major sports leagues share around 50 percent with their players, as their unions have collectively bargained for more cash. The fact that fighters with the UFC are independent contractors makes unionizing difficult. Various efforts to for a union of MMA fighters have failed over the years.
Here's the full GQ video:
UFC currently faces an anti-trust lawsuit filed by former fighters claiming UFC is a monopoly and uses its power to lock fighters into restrictive contracts.
The top fighters in the organization will always make big money, as their contracts are larger and can include pay-per-view percentages. But fighters starting out can make as little as $10,000 for fighting, and the rate doesn't jump up quickly.
Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold spoke for many fighters a few weeks ago when he ripped the organization's practices:
"What the f--k are we doing here? F--king $50,000 bonuses that are getting paid out for like two decades? What the f*ck? The valuation of the company’s going up f--king billions of dollars, and we’re still stuck on $50,000 bonus checks? What the f--k is this?”
Yeah, he's right. It doesn't make sense.
White has been steadfast that UFC pays its fighters well. Fighters, almost universally, disagree. And, UFC has pretty much cornered the MMA market. There are very few viable options out there for fighters to take advantage of. On top of that, fighters can have endorsement deals, but they're not allowed to advertise them off during UFC-branded fights or events. Which ruins the entire point.
At some point this will come to a head. UFC can only keep this going on for so long before fighters get fed up and someone with deep pockets creates a competing organization.