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Prior to his performance winning win over Erick Silva at UFC 153 last month, Jon Fitch had fought just once in 18 months, which left him woefully short of money, and concerned he would need a day job if he lost.
Despite a lifetime record that is the best in modern UFC history for any fighter who has never won a world championship, if Fitch had no fights, he had no money.
"The economy itself is slow," explained Fitch. "It's a lot harder to make money outside the UFC now, as far as sponsors and stuff go. The sponsors have kinda dried up. The appearances have almost dried up."
"You don't want to start doing appearances for like $500, and then everyone hears that, and they never offer you anything higher than that even if the economy comes back."
"If I still lived in Indiana, it wouldn't be such as much an issue, but I live in California, and it's expensive. Even the cost of food at the store is more expensive."
"If you're not fighting, you're not getting paid. It's not a comment in any way to pay scales or anything. It's just a simple fact: If you don't fight, you don't get paid."
As reported by MMAJunkie for USA Today, that is not the case with GSP. Due to a torn ACL in his right knee, prior to tomorrow night's showdown with Carlos Condit, GSP fought exactly zero times in the last 18 months. During that period he made millions.
Just in the last 12 months St-Pierre has signed lucrative endorsement deals with companies such as Coca-Cola, Google and Bacardi. He's got a deal with HarperCollins to write a book that he describes as part autobiography and part philosophy ("kind of like 'The Art of War,'" St-Pierre said). He's also renewed his apparel deal with Under Armour and signed one with noted MMA equipment manufacturer Hayabusa, all despite not setting foot in the UFC octagon since April of 2011.
St-Pierre currently has 14 endorsement deals with each paying him somewhere in the six-figure range. If you tally up the numbers from past and present deals, his income outside the cage is well into eight figures, with much of it coming in the past year alone.
"He's a superstar, and he was a superstar when we met him," said Mike Fonseca of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which has represented St-Pierre for the past four years. "We just had to take him and figure out how we were going to market him."
"The first two years there were a lot of brands that wouldn't meet with us, wouldn't take our calls on this, and basically said, listen, we work with you on other clients, but this is not a sport we're interested in."
"We spent a lot of time with the Coke team in those meetings, getting them used to Georges and how they can use him. They're a very risk-averse company, but to Georges' credit, people fall in love with him."
"I think what they want is a good athlete, somebody who has success in the sport, but also somebody who carries himself well outside of the sport," St-Pierre said. "They want a good spokesman and role model with a good image. That's who I am."
"There's no doubt that a guy like Georges St-Pierre helps the sport and the overall business," said UFC President White. "He's a guy you can rely on in every way, shape and form. He's a guy you can build your business around. You don't have to worry at night that you're going to wake up tomorrow with TMZ calling you saying crazy s---. Not with him."
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