Part 1 UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta talks about his history with Dana White, what makes White so good at his job and much more.
“I met Dana when we both started as 9th graders at Bishop Gorman High School here in Las Vegas, so me and Dana White go way back to the time when we were like 14, 15 years old, knew each other through high school. After high school, we kind of parted, went our own ways. I went off to college, he went off and did what he did in Boston and we hadn’t seen each other in about 6 or 7 years until we met up again at a common friend’s wedding and it was just like a nice reunion. Hey, what are you doing, where you’ve been. He informed me that he had been training some boxers and at the time I was on the Nevada State Athletic Commission, so we obviously had some common interests and he said, ‘you know, you should come train with me, I’ve been training some executives, I just don’t deal with boxers,’ and I said, you know what, that’s a good idea, I haven’t been anything since I got out of high school so it’s time to get back in shape and I met up with him at the gym and I think I’ve talked to him every day since then.”
Fertitta discusses the company's issues with the Culinary Union, fighter pay salary controversy and much more.
Dave Farra: “Sports fans compare UFC athletes to NFL stars or NBA stars and a lot of keyboard warriors say that UFC fighters are just underpaid considering how much that Zuffa makes. How do you respond to those critics?”
Lorenzo Fertitta: “You know, the reality is they don’t know. They don’t know what the reality is. I mean, the fact of the matter is that when we bought this company, yes, guys were getting paid very, very little. But as our company has continued to grow and revenues have grown, guys are now making a lot more money, too. I can tell you that there is a number of guys that make well into the millions every single years, there’s guys that make into the $10 million (range) every year, in that category. That doesn’t include sponsors or anything like that, so all these keyboard warriors have no idea what they’re talking about. If you take a look at our average undercard payroll relative to say a boxing PPV undercard, we’re paying out upwards of eight times more money for our undercard versus the PPV boxing undercard. So, it’s a complete misnomer and the people say, well, why don’t you guys publish what the guys make? Guys don’t want people to know what they make. Do you want everybody to know what you make? Put your salary in the paper?”
LF: “I mean, that’s just the reality, there’s confidentialities built into the contracts and, you know, that’s the way we run our business. Sure, are there fighters that want to get paid more? Of course, there’s always people that are unhappy, but at the end of the day if you go out there and you perform and you become a fan favorite, somebody that can drive ticket sales and PPV, you’re going to get paid.”
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