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UnderGround Forums >> John Cholish blasts UFC fighter pay


5/20/13 2:22 AM
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BTT-RyannVonDoom
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Garv -

The UFC is supposed to be the big leagues but the fact is that at entry level, the fighters are hobbyists, not people making a living.  At the smaller shows that makes sense, but when you hit the big leagues you're supposed to hit big league money.

 

This Phone Post 3.0
5/20/13 2:52 AM
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NorthFromHere
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MMAViking.com
It's pretty much impossible to form a MMA union. The union wouldn't work in MMA like they do in big American sports were vast majority of the talent is actually American and the events are held on US soil.
UFC is a global company with a global talent roster. It would be like trying to set up a union for Google employees around the world.
5/20/13 6:33 AM
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Dominique Robinson
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They pay 1 hotel, 1 coach flight, $50 food a day. Phone Post 3.0
5/20/13 6:34 AM
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Dominique Robinson
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Cholish has some points Phone Post 3.0
5/20/13 9:50 AM
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epwar
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trobinson21 - 
daba - $4k per fight is not a livable wage in the u.s. It's below min. wage. And then you have to figure some of that goes to managers and training.

You basically can't be a full time fighter at that payscale which seems crazy when these guys are pro athletes under a multi billion dollar company. Phone Post 3.0
College is still an option for all these guys who chose MMA fighter as a career. America is great in that you can follow whatever dream you choose, but its not anyone else's job to pay for it. Phone Post

Guess you missed the part that Cholish has a college degree and a full time job.  So you're basically saying, "Yes, you can become an MMA fighter, just don't expect to be paid money you can live on.  DREAM BIG KIDS!"

5/20/13 10:50 AM
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KingInFishnetsBottomingBetas
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I think when it comes to this subject I just want the fighters to enjoy a middleclass life.....shit atleast 50k a year to take home after expenses........I remember years ago seeing baroni drive some old POS car probably worth 2k on his way to the gym (video he released on youtube). That didn't sit right with me
5/20/13 10:54 AM
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epwar
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Edited: 05/20/13 10:57 AM
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KingInFishnetsBottomingBetas - I think when it comes to this subject I just want the fighters to enjoy a middleclass life.....shit atleast 50k a year to take home after expenses........I remember years ago seeing baroni drive some old POS car probably worth 2k on his way to the gym (video he released on youtube). That didn't sit right with me

"fuk u goof" - DW

 

5/20/13 1:16 PM
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leethal21
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in for later

5/20/13 1:56 PM
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AceAtGSU
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Maybe fighters at the bottom tier of the UFC do deserve more, and at that point I want to hear what people think is a reasonable living wage for guys at the bottom. Mayb 10k to fight, 10k to win, which gives you the opportunity to make 80k a year if fight and win four times a year? Not to mention bonuses, that would put you well above what the average American makes.

In any case though, no one is going into this with their eyes closed, if they are, then it is their own fault. People follow their passions all the time and don't ever make good money. Musicians, Actors, Writers, etc. There are many fields where just because you are good at something doesn't mean you are guaranteed to get paid. Even making it to a top organization, you sign a low level contract, if you win and show your good, you will get a better contract, but if you are mediocre or your supply is not demanded by the public then you may not make any money. The option is always there to leave.

The point is if the low level guys deserve more, what should the benchmark be? The UFC and MMA are very new in comparison to boxing, the NFL, etc, so don't expect those kind of pay wages, because this product is not nearly as proven even if it is popular now and we all love it. Again though, it is a great thing to follow your dreams, but no one is making anyone sign these contracts or fight, at least not that I know of. A fair price is not what something is worth, it is what someone will pay for it.
5/20/13 2:04 PM
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UGCTT_VA757_GJTT
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Dominique Robinson - They pay 1 hotel, 1 coach flight, $50 food a day. Phone Post 3.0
Damn..I made more in per diem working for the government Phone Post
5/20/13 2:06 PM
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Lobo8
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pete southhammer - 

fighter pay in the ufc is a joke compared to boxers pay in mid level orgs


Boxing pay is far worse. Only a select few are making decent pay, and another handful are making the multi millions. The rest dont get much of anything. Ufc pay is way more evenly spread out.
5/20/13 2:16 PM
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Lux Fixxins
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These threads always show what posters know nothing about business Phone Post 3.0
5/20/13 2:22 PM
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AceAtGSU
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Lux Fixxins - These threads always show what posters know nothing about business Phone Post 3.0

I think most people aren't endeavoring to look at this from a business point of view, but are looking at it in the purely humanistic sense. They put the business aspect aside completely and take a purely emotional stance, maybe it stems from lack of knowledge about business as you say or maybe they are so invested and love the sport and fighters so much it is hard for them to look from the other side.

I would like to think it is the latter.
5/20/13 2:45 PM
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Il Duce
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CindyO -
meth wizard -  Regardless of his record, when you're fighting in the top org you should make a lot more than 4k. Phone Post

If their manager/agent is doing their job, absolutely a fighter should make more than $4k via purse, win bonuses and sponsorships.

 

Cindy

Ok, so this hard working manager can make what then? 20% of $30,000?

Lovely! Phone Post 3.0
5/20/13 3:00 PM
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Il Duce
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Ok, so then what happens when you're a 4/4 fighter in a FOTY that gets replayed endlessly and you only fight twice in one year? Even worse, you're injured and only fight once? How burned do you feel while the promotion you fought under uses your fight footage for all kinds of highlights, fight promotion, and other revenue generating avenues while you sit there sinking in financial quicksand? Said fighter may or may not have received a bonus or help, but there's no even trade in that example.

Sure, the UFC took the risk, put in the blood sweat and tears, and put forth the investment and yes they 100% deserve the lion's share. But that doesn't mean the situation that hypothetical fighter is in isn't one based on taking advantage of somebody. They deserve a fair shake, not a king's ransom, just a decent living wage. At least that's just my opinion. Phone Post 3.0
5/20/13 3:06 PM
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drrilll
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The UFC is a meritocracy. Frankly I think more businesses should hold employees accountable for performance.
5/20/13 3:08 PM
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ophusker
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People will always keep sticking up for the UFC pay scale but what other major sport has guys in their prime retiring for financial reasons? All the talk about people not understanding business s crap. I'm sure this guy who works on Wall Street and has an ivy league education doesn't understand business. The truth is he understands it very well and that is why he's walking away from the UFC. He's not the first guy to make this choice and he won't be the last. The pay at the bottom of the scale is a joke in the UFC.
5/20/13 3:17 PM
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MMA Girls
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Joanne, MMA Girls
youarewhatiswrong - 
epwar - 
JetSetter - When you start at a firm on Wall St you start in the mail room making 25k per year while your boss is making $50 million per year.
People act like the UFC is so out of line with the rest of society but its all relative.

The reality in life is Be the best and get the best pay or change professions Phone Post 3.0

You're not helping your point when you mention that mail room clerks on Wall Street make more than a UFC fighter.  Wage disparity isn't the issue - it is lower tier UFC fighters not even making a liveable wage.


Less than a living wage, Cholish asserts that he is going in the hole fighting for the UFC, after costs of training and travel. I don't think the lower tiered fighters should be breaking the bank, but if you've excelled enough in the sport to make it to the UFC then you should at least be able to feed yourself, rent an apartment and pay for training.

That said, I kind of have a problem with UFC level fighters paying for training, unless they are on a small team comprised of nothing but top level fighters. In any other scenario, having a UFC level fighter at your gym should be viewed as an asset and free advertising. Instruction and training should be provided in exchange for keeping that fighter at your gym.

ttt
5/20/13 5:55 PM
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youarewhatiswrong
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MMA Girls - 
youarewhatiswrong - 
epwar - 
JetSetter - When you start at a firm on Wall St you start in the mail room making 25k per year while your boss is making $50 million per year.
People act like the UFC is so out of line with the rest of society but its all relative.

The reality in life is Be the best and get the best pay or change professions Phone Post 3.0

You're not helping your point when you mention that mail room clerks on Wall Street make more than a UFC fighter.  Wage disparity isn't the issue - it is lower tier UFC fighters not even making a liveable wage.


Less than a living wage, Cholish asserts that he is going in the hole fighting for the UFC, after costs of training and travel. I don't think the lower tiered fighters should be breaking the bank, but if you've excelled enough in the sport to make it to the UFC then you should at least be able to feed yourself, rent an apartment and pay for training.

That said, I kind of have a problem with UFC level fighters paying for training, unless they are on a small team comprised of nothing but top level fighters. In any other scenario, having a UFC level fighter at your gym should be viewed as an asset and free advertising. Instruction and training should be provided in exchange for keeping that fighter at your gym.

ttt

I got a ttt from Joanne. My heart's all aflutter.
5/20/13 6:05 PM
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KingInFishnetsBottomingBetas
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Lobo8 -
pete southhammer - 

fighter pay in the ufc is a joke compared to boxers pay in mid level orgs


Boxing pay is far worse. Only a select few are making decent pay, and another handful are making the multi millions. The rest dont get much of anything. Ufc pay is way more evenly spread out.
Cant compare fighters in the ufc to boxers fighting in halls. Boxing champs and contender pay make a mockery of their ufc equivelents. Phone Post
5/20/13 6:06 PM
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Chromium
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youarewhatiswrong -
Less than a living wage, Cholish asserts that he is going in the hole fighting for the UFC, after costs of training and travel. I don't think the lower tiered fighters should be breaking the bank, but if you've excelled enough in the sport to make it to the UFC then you should at least be able to feed yourself, rent an apartment and pay for training.

Completely agree, and VTFU for this part.

 

 

That said, I kind of have a problem with UFC level fighters paying for training, unless they are on a small team comprised of nothing but top level fighters. In any other scenario, having a UFC level fighter at your gym should be viewed as an asset and free advertising. Instruction and training should be provided in exchange for keeping that fighter at your gym.

If the UFC fighter is so good that he's getting free training in exchange for being at that gym, who is going to be training him? Also most UFC fighters _do_ come from camps with multiple elite fighters.

 

At any rate, I'd suggest the following changes for the UFC, and I'd do these things because 1) to help stave off a fighters union, and 2) because they won't cost a lot nor will they fuck up the pay structure for most fighters.

- $8k + $8k purse minimum and a guarantee it will go up on winning (most are already making more than this but some of the lower tier fighters do not, and a few do not have contracts that go up when you win, including Rousimar Palhares for quite some time).

- The first $5000 worth of training related costs refunded every 6 months (specifically gym fees and personal training assistants and coaches). I realize training often costs considerably more than this but this would help, particularly for lower-tier fighters on a budget. This would theoretically cost the UFC around $3.5 million a year.

- Small monthly stipend starting at $500/mo., and no more than $1500 unless you're a major star (they could call if a per mensem or something to make clear it's not a salary). $500/mo. is well below a living wage but it certainly helps supplement the lower-tier fighting purses, and if someone's on an extended absence they can last longer without having to get a day job. The stipend can go up slightly on victories, which is another reason to keep people hungry. This would cost ~$4.5 million annually if the average is a $1,000/mo. stipend.

-3 plane tickets and 2 hotel rooms for fighters and their corners (right now unless you're a champion its just 2 and 1), and if they're coming in for overseas then pay for hotel accomodations at least 6 days in advance to help them get acclimated. If a bunch of fighters from the same team are on the same card sharing corners, offer to give them a bit of extra money if they don't fully use all the plane tickets and hotel rooms they're allowed to have. And 5 plane tickets and 3 hotel rooms for champions and their challengers.

-Basic healthcare coverage for spouses and children 5 and under. This extends for 3 months after the end of a contract.

-A per diem for fighters when they do press conferences and in-person interviews.

-Use of likeness rights for most new products (like t-shirts and action figures) should last until only 6 months after the end of a fighters' contract, and 12 months after the end of a fighters' contract for new electronic media products (use in new videogames mainly), and fighters are compensated fairly for the use of these things (for a major release like UFC Undisputed I'd say $10,000 is fair compensation, or more if you're on the cover). The exception to these things are for using a fighters' likeness to advertise event-related media (like DVD covers and downloading fights from ufc.tv or whatever), which can be done in perpetuity with only a one-time compensation. The reason for the delay until 6-12 months _after_ the end of a contract is for products that were already in the production/development phase.

- All of the above can slowly be phased into new contracts or whatever.

None of these things cost a lot relatively, and combined there should be exceptionally few UFC fighters who can't at least afford to rent an apartment and train as a UFC fighter without having to get an extra job, when combining purses, sponsorship, and the monthly stipend, and it also won't cost them extra to have two cornermen at their fights, nor will they have to choose between jetlag or spending more money when fighting overseas.

The last part also inoculates against legislation like the crap proposed in California last year as the protection on extended likeness-rights are the one part that most people actually thought was reasonable.

Added altogether I think you'd see a lot fewer stories like John Cholish's, there'd be even less for competitors and opponents of the UFC to work with, and the UFC could continue to cement its place as the premier place to fight for, and again there'd be less incentive to form a fighters union.

5/20/13 6:14 PM
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ChaosOverkill
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The UFC can have the roster size it has because of the low pay at the bottom end, if it paid more it would cut a whack of fighters equivalent to the pay increase at the bottom.

5/20/13 6:20 PM
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Tomato Can
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Look, I hate to say this, but Cholish is a 8-3 fighter who is ranked outside of the top 100 by FightMatrix. Not every fighter is going to be able to make a living in this sport. It's just the way it is.
5/20/13 6:24 PM
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ChaosOverkill
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Edited: 05/20/13 7:00 PM
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The problem is there are not comparable numbers from a team sport to MMA, but in saying that. The minimum salary in the MLS is 40,000 a wage people can live on and if the UFC can't all in all beat that, it's not good.

 

In the 500 million or under revenue range it compares with MLS which had a number of 280 million in 2011 and has 557 players under contract.

The Ufc has around half that many guys under contract.

 

Now I don't know what the average lower end guy can clear with sponsors (If any) and bonuses but if it can't beat 40,000 or so that the MLS with double or so the athletes and the same revenue bracket that's not good.

5/20/13 6:33 PM
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ChaosOverkill
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And to update according to the latest MLS union release the minimum seems to have dropped to 35,000 or so


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