Tate: ESPN deal revenue has to trickle down to fighters, right?

Friday, May 25, 2018

The UFC was on FOX for $100 million per for seven years. It made the sport mainstream. Now the UFC has signed a deal for $300 million per year for five years. On her latest MMA Tonight radio show on SiriusXM Rush former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate discussed the implications for the league generally, and for fighters specifically.

“It’s incredible. It’s a big jump up,” said Tate, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “Just when you think the promotion has hit the ceiling so to speak, it’s just a glass one that they appear to break through and go on to new levels. This is massive. This is a huge transition for the company and I think everyone is pretty excited about it.

“The fact that it’s a five-year deal and there’s just so much that ESPN has to offer. This isn’t just a one road venture, there are multiple avenues. This is a tree of ventures with ESPN and lots of opportunities for the UFC to branch out in different shapes and forms and really grow the platform. We’re putting MMA on the map in new places and growing the sport, which is awesome to see.”

“You can say what you want and think what you want but the reality is the UFC is doing fine and the UFC is going to continue to grow. Sure, has the UFC maybe had a little bit more of a rough go this past year? I could agree with that. There’s been a huge transition with WME purchasing the UFC and it’s a process. There’s been a lot of stuff going on in the UFC but just because you’re slowing down for a little bit doesn’t mean you’re not setting up the groundwork to build something amazing, and I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing here after a little bit of a rough year. We’re seeing the work and the time and the effort that the UFC is putting in with the major companies to elevate the sport to the next level and I think it’s just going to continue to grow.”

“It’s wonderful to see all this unfolding for the UFC. It’s exciting for the fighters too. This is a great opportunity for them for future endorsements and things like that. It’s good all around. This is exactly where the UFC needed to go.

“There’s definitely gonna be a lot more money flowing through the UFC with this deal and it has to trickle down to the fighters, right? This is public knowledge. I know in the past the UFC has been somewhat secretive about exactly what the make and there’s speculation on what percentage actually goes to the fighters and how much it costs to run the business and all these things, but this is completely transparent. We know exactly what the UFC is making, we know exactly what this deal offers, and that’s not everything either. That’s just what they’re doing with ESPN. So I think it’s probably got to motivate some of these fighters to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, these numbers don’t quite add up.’ So there probably will be some tougher negotiations and all that.

“I can only imagine that it’s going to lead to fighters wanting more money, deserving more money. Without the fighters, the UFC doesn’t make these kinds of deals. The fighters are the laborers. The fighters are the ones making this happen, they’re the entertainers, they are what makes the UFC go around and they absolutely deserve to be compensated. It’s a short career and it’s certainly hard on your body – probably takes years off of our lives – so I think it’s reasonable to ask for fair compensation.”