Quarry offers six suggestion to improve the UFC for fighters


Last week retired UFC middleweight Nate "Rock" Quarry made a post on the The UnderGround that was cited in dozens of articles and drew a response from both Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White.

Now Quarry has come back and offered some further suggestions.

My Mistake...

From: Nate 'Rock' Quarry
Member Since: 8/24/02

Let me state that I had the numbers wrong for my fight against Franklin. I swear I thought the gate was 3.5 million. It's been pointed out to me that the gate was about 2 million. The PPV buys about 200k. But we really don't know for sure because that information is not disclosed.

How much did I make? $10,000. But that number is NOT important. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that, I should have negotiated a better deal. I should have negotiated like Randy did so I would have the rights to use my fight photos and videos.

But I didn't. Water under the bridge.

None of that is important. My last fight I was paid around 40k. Although I took a horrendous beating that took months to heal from and now have 13 screws and titanium in my face, I think I was paid very well for that fight.

Then why did I speak up in the first place? To change the past? To speak about low pay from 8 years ago? No, no I didn't.

I'm trying to address issues that are occurring right now with fighters. The sponsorships being cut, the sponsorship tax, things like that. Things that will benefit the fighters without hurting the UFC.

So let's look at some individual issues and look at potential solutions so I don't come off as a total whiny little baby:
Fight Week: Fighters are given two flights, one hotel room and $50 per diem
I suggest: Give the fighter 3 flights and $100 per diem. The days of one cornerman are over. Fighters are taking money out of their purses to pay for the numerous coaches they have to fly in to deliver the best fight possible.
Hotel Gyms: Fighters are allowed to use the gym for free, their corner has to pay to use the hotel gym where the fighter is actually fighting.
I suggest: The fighter and up to 3 cornermen get to use the hotel gym for free. This would cost next to nothing and is one little thing that shows the fighter that they aren't being nickeled and dimed.
Sponsorships: This is completely random. The last time I was dealing with the UFC, clothing and supplement sponsors had to pay $100k for the privilege of having a fighter put their logo on the fighter's shorts. Random companies don't have to pay a fee.
I suggest: Remove the sponsorship tax. This is going to bring back a myriad of sponsors that want to support the fighters and can't afford to pay 100k to the UFC.
UFC uniform: This is speculative but it seems that the UFC is moving towards a uniform for fighters to wear out to fight in. This is going to kill the remaining sponsors. No longer will they have a shirt sponsor if everyone is wearing the same shirt. No more shorts sponsors if everyone is wearing the same pair of shorts.
I suggest: Kill this idea. If the UFC is unhappy with certain fighters wearing inappropriate shorts or shirts, punish THEM. Not every fighter in the UFC.
UFC fight contract: I may be wrong but I believe the minimum wage in the UFC is $6,000. It goes up from there. I've had agents tell me they are pushing for a 5 fight contract. Why? If you're fighter goes on a win streak he can't demand more money. If he loses, he gets cut.
I suggest: A three fight NO cut contract. This lets the fighter know that for one year they are UFC fighters. They can focus on fighting and that's it. The UFC is going to be more selective knowing that the guy they sign will be around for a year. This gives the fighter time to get over the Octagon jitters. And build a fan base because the fans know this guy will be around for at least a year. Right now guys come and go. So what difference does it make if you have one guy signed for three fights instead of three guys that are one and done?
Pay scale: Again, I could be wrong, but I believe the UFC minimum is 6k.
I suggest: Starting salary $10,000 to show, $5,000 win bonus. If you win, your next fight is $10/7.5. The third fight on your contract would be $10/10. For one year the fighter knows that they will be making a minimum of 30k.

"Don't talk about money!"
That's the golden rule when it comes to athletes. The average person will think you're an ungrateful crybaby and the owners will think you're ungrateful for all they've done for you.

"You got paid to follow your dreams!"
Sure did. And much like a painter who loves to paint and someone comes along and offers to sell their paintings and makes a mint off of them, the painter deserves his fair share.

"You're saying this over social media? You should be a man and say these things privately and face to face!"
I did. Over many years. And I was labeled an asshole and not a company man. And if you're not a company man that means no appearances and no exposure from corporate. And social media is today's version of picketing outside the offices. I can reach millions of people that are in my key demographic of people I want to reach instead of wearing a sandwich board outside an office. I did complain about having to pay to use the gym at the Palms to help my fighter cut weight. I was told rather soundly that I was the only one complaining and to be quiet. I did complain about sponsors being charge a tax or not being able to thank sponsors after fights and got THE call, telling me to be quiet. I even went to the MMA "journalists" and was told the repercussions of doing a story on such things would result in passes being pulled.
Do I represent every fighter? Hell no.

Do I think the UFC deserves to make the lion's share of the money? Hell yes. They are the ones that invested millions of dollars and years worth of time. And they are continuing to grow, worldwide.

And the UFC wants to present itself as a professional organization with uniforms and codes of conduct. And yet with all that, there is no one representing the fighters and what they want and need.

If you know me you would know I'm for increasing the minimum wage to about $10 an hour. But not $15 an hour. The minimum wage in the NBA is about $470k. I'm suggesting the minimum wage in the UFC be about $30k. You may call it apples and oranges but we have to start somewhere.

Feel free to quote stats that make me look like an idiot. Point out how I fought for the title and got brutally KO'ed. All I'm doing is trying to help my fellow fighters and speak my opinion. I'm not representing anyone but myself. I can only speak from my own experiences.

And my experience with the UFC was amazing. I got to fight for the world title, man! And Dana personally decided to pay for my back surgery. Not too many other bosses would do that. Everything in my life besides my daughter has come from fighting. And I'd do it all over again.

Oh, I'm not trying to generate interest for a comeback on my part. I'm not trying to promote Bellator or get cut from the UFC so I can fight for them. I'm sharing MY experiences. Good AND bad. And when I see the fighters losing sponsorship dollars for no good reason, that's when I feel I need to speak up.

Honestly, I don't enjoy this. But I have this little voice inside my head that won't let me sleep unless it gets its chance to talk.

Thank you all

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Recent Comments »

Nate 'Rock' Quarry site profile image  

3/12/14 2:51 AM by Nate 'Rock' Quarry

It's always amusing to me when people say, "Where would you be without the UFC?!"Doesn't that go both ways? Where would the UFC be without the fighters? The UFC could NOT exist without the fighters. Can we agree on that? Without the fighters there would be NO UFC.Would every one of us fighters cease to exist without the UFC? Or we'd all be homeless? Destitute? Total bums? Shocking to me how blind people are. But then most people have no desire to change their minds. Because that would mean that they were wrong. And most people just can't handle that idea, that anything about them could be wrong. You know what made me successful? Not being afraid to look stupid. Not being afraid to look at something and see someone else's point of view. And brother, I've looked stuped :-) more times than I can count. Pain is weakness leaving the body? Then smarts is stupidity leaving the body. To those giving support, thank you. We fight hard for ourselves and yes, for the fans. I had a fan message me years back saying that he hoped I could come back from back surgery. Because my fight wasn't just mine. It was a fight that everyone could relate to. Trying to overcome and follow a dream when no one believes in you. Because you can ask where I'd be without the UFC. But more importantly you should be asking, "Where would you be without the fans?" Because none of this is possible without you.

theingcrowd site profile image  

3/9/14 10:09 PM by theingcrowd

I have spoken with him about it.

Brian J DSouza site profile image  

3/9/14 5:44 PM by Brian J DSouza

"the fighters pay has increased every year and with every event-time will balance the fairness issues I'm sure."How will time alone do this? Just like how time caused motor racing to become accessible as a sport to ordinary people without deep pockets? Or how time brought American kickboxing to great heights in the US?There have to be moves made by different stakeholders involved in MMA. Right now, everyone's looking to the UFC-- Zuffa can't do everything, and they certainly have no incentive to act outside their own interests.

Blazing Knees site profile image  

3/9/14 8:01 AM by Blazing Knees

And you know this-how?

theingcrowd site profile image  

3/8/14 9:42 AM by theingcrowd

Nate is not paid for his work with Better Way Back. It's an awesome program. It was his idea, not Nuvasive's. It is a nonprofit.For me, if Dana says he has nothing bad to say about Nate, that's good enough for me.

fatshitsu site profile image  

3/8/14 9:13 AM by fatshitsu

Beautiful post.

Blazing Knees site profile image  

3/8/14 7:54 AM by Blazing Knees

Sensible post and thanks for the props. Life is hard sometimes and you have to work for what you want unless you're born 'lucky' financially. The truth is-some of the most miserable bastards I've ever known had been born into money or fell into it accidentally and discover that money does NOT buy happiness. I'm not such a blind capatalilst/patriot that I can't be reasoned with logic- 'Victory without struggle is empty'. I'm all for the fair treatment of the fighters and the sport that I love-or the other hand, I look at the salaries of some NBA players and bench riders in MLB and shake my head in disgust, It's a dual edged sword. I I think initially what I took task with was the retrospective that Nate offered and it seemed so ungrateful. I don't know how you can thanksomeone like Dana and the UFC, work for them for years ( with preferential treatment, I might add) and then complain 9 years later that you got fucked. I don't think Nate would even have his current job at MMa uncensored' if not for the UFC-do you? He certainly would not be competing and having a somewhat 'normal' life if not for Dana ponying up for 100k to fix his back-and then wear NUvasive patches on his shorts for sponsor compensation would he? Was the 100k a loan or gift? If the latter, how can you say anything about 'not taking care of it's fighters" when he's one of the biggest recipients of it's graciousness? Here's the website for Nuvaisive : http://www.nuvasive.com/the-better-way-back/   Gee, who's that on the home page? Who's in the bio of the company? From the home page;  "The Better Way Back is spearheaded by spokesmen Nate “Rock” Quarry (MMA Fighter) and Bill Walton (Basketball Hall-of-Famer)"   Would this particular door have been opened for Nate if not for the generosity of Dana and the UFC? It's none of anyones business if or how much Nate gets paid, but I  know damn well it wouldn't be there if not for the 100k it cost to fix his back. So does Dana get paid back from this beneficial business relationship that he funded-or did he just throw 100k down the hole of ungratefulness? I know if I gave someone ANY money from the kindness of my heart and they turned on me later, I would be fuking pissed. So did Dana get paid back while Nate was wearing the Nuvasive endorsements?. He gives him the money, gives him main card fights, let's him keep the compensation from them without getting paid back and now shit is being talked? wtf SO, if you sign a deal with FOX to expand your company and FOX says 'no Condom Depot patches on asses' what do you do?- Pay the fighter his 'lost sponsor' revenue or have him stand in the cage like Brock did on a Bud Light cage mat and announce ' I'm drinking a fucking Coors light because Bud light sucks and it's for homo's and I'm goiing to go home an bang my wife"  This is a very complicated subject.  There are thousands of variables that only lawyers can handle. The UFC is infantile compared to the NFL MLB NBA in it's existance and will never be mainstream-never.It's good to talk about the future success of the company and the fighters pay has increased every year and with every event-time will balance the fairness issues I'm sure. To start talking about 3 fiight minimum contracts, 30k a year salaries  $10.00 an hour minimum wages, compensation for trainers, unregulated sponsors  like you've drawn up some union negotiated employment contract is not coming off well. It smacks of ungratefullness and appears to be traitorous--- the timing is wrong and Nate is the last person that I think that should be spearheading this front because of the huge amount of hypocracy involved with his financial and personal opportunities that his employment with the UFC provided-not to mention the personal aspect of preferential treatment that Nate benefited from in every facet of his mma career because of Dana and the UFC.

Kneeblock site profile image  

3/7/14 2:17 PM by Kneeblock

BK, just as you're criticizing the mentality of the modern generation, saying they're entitled and that they haven't earned anything, you're parroting a line of reasoning that comes from a different generation.  I would submit that neither generation has an intrinsically superior mentality, just one that seemed to fit the circumstances of the time. There's nothing defeatist about wanting your employer to allow you free reign to develop alternative revenue sources. In fact, there's nothing more capitalist than a worker trying to get the best deal for themselves and trying to diversify their revenue streams, particular when they're an independent contractor (which the UFC says all of its fighters are).  And no one does anything with no help no support no nothing but themselves. We're all social beings and have advantages and disadvantages. Some we're born with, some we luck into by being in the right place at the right time. "Working hard" doesn't carry any intrinsic benefits because you can work hard every day and get nowhere. The fact that you've done right by your boys mostly independently is laudable, but I think the point is that at bottom if there were opportunities for you to not struggle so much, you would be insane for not taking them. To systematically deprive a fighter of that for no good reason is greed, plain and simple.

Garv site profile image  

3/7/14 10:04 AM by Garv

"Can you imagine the hype and the star commercials.. Someting like, meet Peter, a dentist by day, a killer basketball player/star in the evening!" lol, exactly. Remember when Dana told the WSJ: "We're already bigger than the NFL." Well, NFL referees made $173K in 2013. That's more than many UFC fighters will make in their careers. It's more than some UFC champions make. And this douche is  wondering why people are talking about fighter salaries.