Pay for fighters in the UFC has been a hot topic of debt lately and it seems like everyone has an opinion, including Dan Hardy:
Well, fighter pay is really a strange situation, because there's such a vast difference in the guys that are on the first three fights of a card and the guys on the last three fights of a card. The guys on the lower end are seeing what the main card guys are doing and thinking, 'Well, I'm doing all the same stuff that they're doing, sacrificing just as much.' They're spending just as much on their training camp, but they're not getting the same kind of compensation.
The problem is that the fighters are in a situation where we don't really have a great deal of options, as far as bargaining power. There are 100 guys that would step in and do my job for free. That kind of devalues us. There aren't any options as far as where we can go and what we can do.
With the sponsor fees, it really limits what we can do outside the sport, as well. It's just a very difficult situation to be in. I'm fortunate, because I live an inexpensive life. I've got a few Lego sets and a $7,000 muscle car. Those were my treats throughout my whole career. I've not really spent any money on anything else. I just don't have expensive living costs.
There are fighters out there with kids and families. Now, with there being so many fighters, the guys aren't getting three fights a year any more. It's down to maybe two a year, and it all just comes back to not having many other options. I can understand that the UFC has a business model, and their lower tier fighters fare much better than pro boxers, but it's just not enough to live on.
Training camps consume so much of our time and energy and expenses, as well. We effectively wind up fighting for nothing anyway. Unless you win the belt or break into that PPV buy cut, or are in the very top tier, you just can't get by with it being your sole source of income.
Frankie Edgar recently fought and got a whole chunk of change. He fought really hard, and he deserves that money, but he didn't start making that kind of money until he fought for and won a belt. I've fought for a belt, and I'm certainly not making anywhere near that kind of money.
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