Tim Kennedy: UFC pays less than emptying trash cans


Tim Kennedy appeared recently on the GrappleTalk podcast, ahead of his fight with submission master Roger Gracie on the main card of UFC 162, July 6, live on PPV from Las Vegas.

Kennedy, who fights and simultaneously serves full-time in the United States Army, expressed frustration with the UFC pay structure.

"It’s pathetic that so many fighters [have to have other jobs]" said Kennedy. "I’m one of the 3% of guys in the whole entire sport and it would be slim pickings to survive off what I make in fighting.”

“It’s a good thing I have another job because the UFC doesn’t pay very well.”

Kennedy averred that he could make a better living working in a supermarket. When asked if that was simply the reality of the sport, he responded agressively.

"Anybody who accepts that as a reality of the sport is sad and pathetic," he said. "I hope this isn’t the reality of the sport, if it is I should probably go do something else, like empty trash cans. I’d make more money than I do now.”

Kennedy broke down his pay:
He said his show money for UFC 162 was $55,000, but that he would only clear around $20,000 before taxes, citing the following costs:
13% on gym fees
12% for nutrition
10% to his manager
10% to his coach
8% on his camp lodging
3% for fight medicals
3% on equipment

UFC 162 will be Kennedy's debut in the UFC. His last reported salary was for the undercard of Strikeforce Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, where he fought and beat the unheralded Trevor Smith. His salary at the time was $55,000/$25,000, or a total of $80,000. Smith got $8,000.

Kennedy has developed an ascerbic style in interviews in general and on Twitter in particular, that may feed the comments above. It is unlikely that a move from Strikeforce to the UFC, and from the undercard to the main card, would result in a decrease in pay. Further, the expenses cited, like $6,500 for nutrition and $7,000 for gym fees are higher than generally reported by main event fighters. Sponsorships, and any discretionary bonus would add more, but those are private.

When UFC 162 salaries are announced, further light may be cast on the matter, and a fuller understanding of Kennedy's compensation package may emerge. It is not likely that guys emptying trash cans or working in a supermarket are doing better.

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tags: UFC   Tim Kennedy   


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Recent Comments »

MrMead site profile image  

7/12/13 12:43 PM by MrMead

If fighter pay is not raised we will not see the top tier athletes competing on MMA. Sure, every one in a while we will get a guy like Bones go into fighting, but the majority will be the Julian Lanes of the world. Or it will be a feeder league for retired amateur wrestlers who are trying to add striking after the age of 22 to their arsenal. Please don't take that as a knock against wrestlers, as it is not.

RicGillespie site profile image  

7/12/13 11:06 AM by RicGillespie

What did he say about the other fighters? Obviously he said nothing. How do we even know he was asked about other fighters? Iole says a lot about them though. But I guess in your mind he is too much of a Zuffa shill to have valid opinions. Kind of ironic that you are questioning the lack of sources when you're a person that continually refuses to cite any for the figures you always state as facts.I wonder as well about how a lack of other fighters in the article discredits what Iole, Soares, Cox or Cruz are saying? Also I guess from your perspective being promoters makes their opinions invalid?

mrwhipple site profile image  

7/12/13 4:50 AM by mrwhipple

I've said it before but the one big thing everyone is missing when they discuss Tim Kennedy's "whining" is that he isn't really talking about himself. He's saying that he's in the top 3% in MMA yet still has to work, so think what it must be like for the other 97%.

Macedawgg site profile image  

7/12/13 4:28 AM by Macedawgg

Hahaha. What did Monte say about others on the card that are not 8/8 Ric? Oh, that's what I thought.  He didn't say anything. Monte is also stating a fact--that is the best offer that is available.  Monte is also a promoter.  Where are all the other fighters quoted in Iole's article?  Oh, that's right--they had one--Cruz, who is injured and has been unable to compete while being compensated.  I missed the others.  As to revenue, for 2012, it was $480 million. 

RicGillespie site profile image  

7/11/13 10:21 PM by RicGillespie

"Dana is no big fan of mine and he hasn't been for years," said the sport's first super manager, Monte Cox. "But that said, I believe they're really fair with the guys, I really do. Guys who are making eight and eight and who have the opportunity to win a $50,000 bonus, man, believe me when I tell you, that's more than fair and that's a lot better than what they could get anywhere else."Well, well, well.Monte Cox must be inventing, and is a fraud of a source.-- Rob Maysey

Macedawgg site profile image  

6/30/13 1:18 AM by Macedawgg

Your figures don't include advertising/sponsors, merchandise, or video game.  Not to mention their online store and website. I don't think $500 million is outlandish at all--and that is the figure they float themselves.

Lynchman site profile image  

6/30/13 1:14 AM by Lynchman

600 million gross. I have read many reports that threw massive gross PPV numbers. Yes, the PPV do that much, no the UFC does not get that much.500-600 million sounds very impressive. But Zuffa is not getting anywhere near that much.2012 did, by most estimates, 9.1 million buys. Even if you add 100 mil for Fox and say that the gates averaged 2.5 mil (they did not), you still have around 423. You could be very generous and say that the other TV deals brought in another 50 mil (I doubt it) and that would give you a total of 473 million.So the total revenue (not profit) could be between 450 and 500 million. That would include Fox.

Lynchman site profile image  

6/30/13 1:14 AM by Lynchman

From what I have read (including the disclosed PPV clauses for Overeem, Eddie and the old one for Couture), the UFC pays an average of 25-35% of revenue.Should it increase? I think so, but the UFC employs 400 non-fighters, handles all marketing and PR and has offices in 7 countries. In a perfect world, that number should be 35-45%.

Macedawgg site profile image  

6/30/13 1:01 AM by Macedawgg

Using your $265 million, add Fox $100 million, you are already at $365 million. Gates, Advertising, Merchandising, Video Game (reported at 17% gross), international rights, TV deals. 

Macedawgg site profile image  

6/30/13 12:58 AM by Macedawgg

That number is from Zuffa--to multiple sources.  Fast Company reported an owner said it was approaching $600 million.  I used $500 million to be conserative.