Tim Kennedy: UFC pays less than emptying trash cans

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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
TOTAL 59%

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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Listen to entire interview…