Inside the UFC's top-secret fighter contract


As a private business, the UFC is generally tight lipped about most it's business practices and contract negoations. However, Bleacher Report's Jonath Snowden recently had the opportunity to sit down with UFC President Dana White, CEO Lorenzo Fertitita, and general counsel Ike Epstein for an unparalleled look and discussion about the contract Zuffa has with it's fighters:

After analyzing it for several days, Bleacher Report has come up with some interesting points you should know about the contract every fighter has to sign to gain entry to the UFC. Adding expertise and nuance to the discussion are Eigen and Ibarra, who went over the contract with us term by term to share their thoughts.

Fertitta, White and Epstein also lend their perspective.

"Ask any questions you want," White told Bleacher Report. "We'll sit and walk you through everything."

And so we did. Click through for a sneak peak at 18 key points in the UFC contract. Any questions? Hit us up in the comments.

read entire article...

Below UFC executives respond to some of the terms of the contract, explaining what it means and why it's in the contract.

Article I: Grant of Promotional Rights

Lorenzo Fertitta: "You're not going to put an event on television, and five years down the road, not have the rights to show that somewhere. You have to have those rights. It's no different than a movie or anything else."

Lawrence Epstein: "We're trying to capture the rights that can emanate from the fighter's participation in our event. The video that we capture of the pre-event, the post-event, the event itself—we want to be able to exploit that in any way we possibly can. At the end of the day, that's the only real asset that the UFC has."

Article VI: Fighter's Purse

Lorenzo Fertitta: Our structure is different in that it's not just one guy on the card that's making that kind of money. We're paying significant dollars for the main event (and) the opponent. The co-main event (and) the opponent. Guys who are headlining on the pay-per-view and guys who have to be the main event on the prelim show on FX...the wealth is spread a lot more evenly than it is in boxing, where one guy garners more than his fair share, or the entire share.

Article VI: PPV Bonus

Lorenzo Fertitta: The way we've structured the compensation is fair. Our top guys simply eat what they kill. Which means they get a back end on the pay-per-view. And for guys we think perform and do a great job, we then sit down and we hand out a significant amount of discretionary bonuses.

I'm sure at times it's frustrating for some of the media, because they can't quite figure out exactly what the compensation levels are, but our fighters do well. And when the event does well, they get paid more money....really their earning potential is unlimited. It just depends on how many buys they can do and how much revenue they generate.

Article XII: Right to Match

Dana White: Everybody needs more money. Everyone wants to make more money...Every day a new guy's contract is up and we bring him in, we sit down and negotiate and our goal is to have that guy walk out that door happy.  We want the people here to be happy. You can't make everybody happy all the time. You saw what happened with Rampage. Rampage made it very clear he wasn't happy here in the UFC. Okay.




tags: Dana White   Lorenzo Fertita   


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Recent Comments »

Anderson's BBC in my Goku site profile image  

5/16/13 9:35 AM by Anderson's BBC in my Goku

It's called a j o k e. it's common in the industry.

Tombmatter site profile image  

5/16/13 8:26 AM by Tombmatter

They dont need any of those "articles" to run a succesfull business and to make a shit load of money. It's just greed and monopoly fantasies. Same goes for Bellator and the rest of them, but it's up to UFC as industry leader to lead by example (as they have done so far, to get us in to almost unbearable situation for fighters).If you want the best athletes in USA and elsewhere to go MMA instead of football or whatever, the standard of contracts need to change. Union wouldn't hurt either. But thats only if the primary goal is to advance MMA and not Fertittas position in the richest people list.

time traveling 12er site profile image  

5/16/13 3:04 AM by time traveling 12er

And how is that even close to being comparable to slavery?   Guys who's only skill is to fight being forced to hold to their contracts.  Also aren't the "perpetual" contracts just for champions?  All the stipulation is saying is that if you win the title you need to defend it here even if your contact is up.  That seems pretty fair, and about the farthest thing from slavery possible.  I'll say it again, comparing any of this to slavery is pathetic.  Ask Justin Wren how close actual slavery is to this contact bullshit.  Honestly everyone that makes that comparison should be ashamed of themselves.

time traveling 12er site profile image  

5/16/13 3:02 AM by time traveling 12er

They've got to protect themselves.  There was that issue for awhile where athletes were doing the captain morgan pose and being compensated for it.  May not seem like a big deal, but they need to control sponsors.

Dr Violence site profile image  

5/15/13 8:59 PM by Dr Violence

Cool contractTechnically you can be fired if your cornerman does that UG hand sign, though I'm sure Kirik sought written consent beforehand from Zuffa to ask them to waive the prohibition on doing hand symbols promoting Internet related companies, as outlined in section 21.1 of article XXI of the contract as determined upontherewith;

Brian J DSouza site profile image  

5/15/13 8:48 PM by Brian J DSouza

The live gate, PPV revenue, TV revenue, merchandising and other revenue streams are what matter. Boxers records don't matter so much as their drawing power. Just sayin'.

BispingsSwordInMyGapingHole site profile image  

5/15/13 8:37 PM by BispingsSwordInMyGapingHole

Which one of the fucking geniuses behind this site decided to use white text over a white picture? Good job UG news.

Anderson's BBC in my Goku site profile image  

5/15/13 11:13 AM by Anderson's BBC in my Goku

oh yeah.. they are not biased in anyway...LOL

HELWIG site profile image  

5/15/13 10:57 AM by HELWIG

Thanks for the replies.  

StratTone site profile image  

5/15/13 10:22 AM by StratTone

Right and I lobby that in my mind when coming to my opinions.  I totally respect what a fighter does and think they should be paid well for their risk as long as they bring in money.  Many of the new fighters arn't exactly a draw when they first get in and were giving the oppurtinity to grow.  Just risking your health alone doesn't pay if there isn't a industry to do it in which the UFC has provided.  Using JackASS as an example.  (a bad one maybe)  lol  But those guys did risky things and produced their garbage but they were working both sides of the industry.  The risk, promoting, money, marketing and so on.  Now a kid just doing risky shit alone doesn't pay unless there is an avenue. Ok I'm rambling at this point.  Anyway I just feel the industry naturally deserves more of the reward but a good portion should go to the fighters and I believe it is being done minus the royalties on certain items.