Chuck Liddell: The UFC is not a welfare state


Chuck Liddell, former UFC light heavyweight champion and current UFC Executive Vice President of Business Development, recently appeared on SiriusXM Fight Club, and discussed fighter compensation.

"Those guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports," said Liddell. "You fight good, you win, you get paid. Alright? You're starting out, no one knows who you are, no one cares, you don't get paid. Period. It's simple.

"I mean, my first contract I was offered by the UFC, or my second contract, it was 1-and-1, 2-and-2, 3-and-3. That's 12 grand for the year... Don't complain to me about fighter pay. It was $12,000 for a year, and it was exclusive.

"It's a performance based business. You get good, you win, and then you get paid. Guys are getting paid plenty, trust me. I got paid plenty, trust me."

"People have to want to see you fight. If they want to see you fight, you'll get paid. If you're a fighter that's worth money, you'll get paid.

"Everybody points to, ‘Oh, boxing these guys are getting (paid).' There's a couple guys that make these big huge paydays. That's it... The undercards don't make anything. There's bottom guys on some of those cards that are making 100 bucks a round. 100 bucks a round. That's $400 for a four-round fight.

"People got to understand, the fighters at the top are the fighters that are supposed to get paid, because they're the guys that are bringing people in, bringing eyes to the TV, getting pay-per-views buys, and putting people in the seats. I mean, that's what it comes down to. You want to get that? Beat everybody. Be good enough. If you're not good enough to get there -- sorry. It's not a welfare state."

"You picked the wrong profession. I saw a guy who said 'Hey I won eight fights in a row and I can't make a living. I looked at your record. Yah, you won eight fights in a row on these small shows. You went and you fought in the UFC twice. You lost, both times. You picked the wrong sport. Hey, you made a good run at it. You tried. Hey, try another sport because this one doesn't work for you. Sorry."

Listen to entire interview...

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Recent Comments »

time traveling 12er site profile image  

7/12/13 3:55 PM by time traveling 12er

What is the UFC doing to force Bellator to pay less than them?

EazyG site profile image  

7/12/13 2:24 PM by EazyG

^^^It continues to amaze me how uniformed some folks here are about economics. The key issue has nothing to do with a living wage.The key issue is whether the UFC is a monopsony and exploits this to pay below free market wages. If true this is the antithesis of the free market outcome many here worship. This is the issue the Wagner Act and the FTC analyze when determining price fixing issues.If you cannot construct a logical argument about the key UFC monopsony issue, you are not adding any value to the discussion.

UncleGrappler site profile image  

7/12/13 2:09 PM by UncleGrappler

The funny thing to me is that many posts here reflect the unfortunate changes in our culture. Too many people think they are "entitled". Something for nothing, or something for very little. Guy A thinks he should have everything Guy B has, but isn't willing to work as long and hard, or doesn't have the natural abilities, but still thinks he deserves the same.

UncleGrappler site profile image  

7/12/13 2:03 PM by UncleGrappler

"Livable wage" I get so sick of people throwing this term around. They apply in in situations that don't apply. A fighter starting out, get's what they get. Nobody told them they would be paid enough to support themselves or their family starting out. Because someone makes a decision to become a fighter, it automatically makes the organization for which they fight obligated to pay them enough to live???? Supply and demand, simple and true. If a fighter by way of his performance, creates a demand, he or she has better control over the supply and therefore can negotiate more money. It's to a large degree self-regulating. Don't like it? Guess what, you're free to go make a living some other way. This is a highly entertainment-based sport. Everyone should understand it.

Herman Munster site profile image  

7/12/13 1:31 PM by Herman Munster

Lets see how much money Chuck would have made if he started his career today and had to go through Bones Jones to get himself famous.  The sport has grown Chuck.  It's evolved like all sports do.  When sports grow and evolve, so does the money.  Chuck's arguement is about as stupid as a pro football player talking about what he made in the 70's compared to today.   The talent pool has expanded, new divisions have been introduced and each division has gotten significantly better except for maybe LHW with the exception of Jones, which has always been a weak link division.  The UFC claims itself big league, but doesn't pay their employees enough to not have a secondary source of income.  .  By all means, keep the starting pay low where guys breaking into the UFC can't afford to train full time.  That's not big league, so just be honest about it and dont compare yourself to the biggest sports leagues in the World. The UFC is as big league as the CFL is.

melendez site profile image  

7/12/13 1:21 PM by melendez

  What Dana and the Fertitta brothers have done for the sport that we all love is beyond description. They took a failing business that nobody cared about, flipped it around and turned it into a billion dollar industry. There is no disputing that and I will always be grateful and appreciate of them for their efforts. Same goes for all the guys who helped build the sport like Randy, Chuck, Tito (who you left out shame on you) and others.   All guys are saying is that they would like to see things get a little bit better for the fighters thats all. Nothing more. Chucks comments were spot on and I agree with what he says about pay. However, Chuck is not in the same position as many of these guys. He will never have to worry about money ever in his life. He has as special job that was created just for him...He is in the good graces of the brass. For other guys I fear that there will be issues down the line. Am I worried too much about how much they make? Possibly. Do I have genuine concern for guys that have given their blood and sweat for my own entertainment? 200 percent. As for ball players...I dont know what to say about your comment but Ill give you an example-I am a Soldier. If I get injured, I am able to get a doctors permission to stay home for a certain amount of time while I recover. This is called convalescent leave. Should I not get paid becuase I was injured? The same would go for a guy who worked at Wendy's. He slips and falls and breaks his leg at work. Is he then not paid because he can't work? Ohhhhhhhh they have that whole compensation thing for people who are injured on the job right? I wonder if you feel like if you were hurt at work and couldn' t do your job, you should be fired away for "not performing...."

EazyG site profile image  

7/12/13 1:04 PM by EazyG

Much appreciated.

Infamous Ed site profile image  

7/12/13 12:45 PM by Infamous Ed

Damn I miss seeing him fight

MrMead site profile image  

7/12/13 12:35 PM by MrMead

I have really liked a lot of what you are saying in your posts on both the UG and OG. Keep up the good work man.

EazyG site profile image  

7/12/13 12:22 PM by EazyG

^^^ Great reply to empty arguments.