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.”