Inside the UFC’s top-secret fighter contract
As a private business, the UFC is generally tight lipped about most it’s business practices and contract negoations. However, Bleacher Report’s Jonath Snowden recently had the opportunity to sit down with UFC President Dana White, CEO Lorenzo Fertitita, and general counsel Ike Epstein for an unparalleled look and discussion about the contract Zuffa has with it’s fighters:
After analyzing it for several days, Bleacher Report has come up with some interesting points you should know about the contract every fighter has to sign to gain entry to the UFC. Adding expertise and nuance to the discussion are Eigen and Ibarra, who went over the contract with us term by term to share their thoughts.
Fertitta, White and Epstein also lend their perspective.
“Ask any questions you want,” White told Bleacher Report. “We’ll sit and walk you through everything.”
And so we did. Click through for a sneak peak at 18 key points in the UFC contract. Any questions? Hit us up in the comments.
Below UFC executives respond to some of the terms of the contract, explaining what it means and why it’s in the contract.
Lorenzo Fertitta: “You’re not going to put an event on television, and five years down the road, not have the rights to show that somewhere. You have to have those rights. It’s no different than a movie or anything else.”
Lawrence Epstein: “We’re trying to capture the rights that can emanate from the fighter’s participation in our event. The video that we capture of the pre-event, the post-event, the event itself—we want to be able to exploit that in any way we possibly can. At the end of the day, that’s the only real asset that the UFC has.”
Lorenzo Fertitta: Our structure is different in that it’s not just one guy on the card that’s making that kind of money. We’re paying significant dollars for the main event (and) the opponent. The co-main event (and) the opponent. Guys who are headlining on the pay-per-view and guys who have to be the main event on the prelim show on FX…the wealth is spread a lot more evenly than it is in boxing, where one guy garners more than his fair share, or the entire share.
Lorenzo Fertitta: The way we’ve structured the compensation is fair. Our top guys simply eat what they kill. Which means they get a back end on the pay-per-view. And for guys we think perform and do a great job, we then sit down and we hand out a significant amount of discretionary bonuses.
I’m sure at times it’s frustrating for some of the media, because they can’t quite figure out exactly what the compensation levels are, but our fighters do well. And when the event does well, they get paid more money….really their earning potential is unlimited. It just depends on how many buys they can do and how much revenue they generate.
Dana White: Everybody needs more money. Everyone wants to make more money…Every day a new guy’s contract is up and we bring him in, we sit down and negotiate and our goal is to have that guy walk out that door happy. We want the people here to be happy. You can’t make everybody happy all the time. You saw what happened with Rampage. Rampage made it very clear he wasn’t happy here in the UFC. Okay.