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5/14/13 10:48 AM
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Underground Blog
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MixedMartialArts.com
 

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.

read entire article...

Below UFC executives respond to some of the terms of the contract, explaining what it means and why it's in the contract.

Article I: Grant of Promotional Rights

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."

Article VI: Fighter's Purse

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.

Article VI: PPV Bonus

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.

Article XII: Right to Match

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.

 

 


5/14/13 11:26 AM
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Y2JB
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Interesting read, It seems to me that the UFC looks after it's guys quite well, certainly better than they really HAVE to.
5/14/13 11:40 AM
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Brian J DSouza
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This article is a must-read for any would-be or current fighters, managers, agents, coaches, or parents of fighters.

 

5/14/13 11:42 AM
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Brian J DSouza
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Y2JB - Interesting read, It seems to me that the UFC looks after it's guys quite well, certainly better than they really HAVE to.

Did we read the same article?

5/14/13 11:45 AM
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Anderson's BBC in my Goku
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wow...ugblog actually beat me to a story for once

5/14/13 12:42 PM
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TKOhYeah
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Good article
5/14/13 1:22 PM
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GarlicSauce
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Edited: 05/14/13 1:22 PM
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Did you know that when signed with the UFC you have to surrender your own image and name "in perpetuity" (meaning forever)? Your own fucking picture belongs to Zuffa.

Fighters - like Randy Couture - who refused these draconian BS stipulations were punished and intimidated.

Why am I not surprised that the corporate masters are giving a good picture about how they treat their de facto slaves?
5/14/13 1:28 PM
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NJstileNJ
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anyone complaining about these things has never run a business or has any understanding of business so you have no clue what needs to be done to protect the company.
5/14/13 1:30 PM
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herculestex1
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^^^^ agreed
5/14/13 1:31 PM
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kinson
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The ufc treats their fighters very well. Everyone else get over it. Phone Post
5/14/13 1:51 PM
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MMALOGIC
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GarlicSauce - Did you know that when signed with the UFC you have to surrender your own image and name "in perpetuity" (meaning forever)? Your own fucking picture belongs to Zuffa.

Fighters - like Randy Couture - who refused these draconian BS stipulations were punished and intimidated.

Why am I not surprised that the corporate masters are giving a good picture about how they treat their de facto slaves?

wrong. They have "rights" to your image and likeness in perpetuity. They dont own it. IF they didnt have rights in perpetuity then they wouldnt be able to air any old footage in clip shows or highlights. Most sports orgnaizations have this.

Bellator on the other hand claims ownership to your likeness, name, image in perpetuity with their standard contract. they even have the right to trademark your name.
5/14/13 2:52 PM
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time traveling 12er
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I'd like an actual journalist to have this kind of access.  This article is pretty much Contract, Alarmist Spin from author, Ibarra saying something dumb, Zuffa damage control.  On the fighters side they needed someone smarter than Ibarra that isn't going to just sound like someone from the forums.  The article writer never asks any questions and mostly just puts the most negative spin on any aspect of the contract.  Comparing the champions clause to slavery?  Come on now.  Non-compete clauses are everywhere and no one thinks it's slavery.  This article is a huge waste of great access.

5/14/13 3:26 PM
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StratTone
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That was a good read and took a while for a slow reader like me.  lol

But nothing really caught me off guard.  My take on the situation is that the UFC having more control over fighters is a good thing if the power isn't abused which it appears to no be the case so far. 

The contradicions which come to light are that UFC fighters are free to speak about their pay or contract if they choose which the contract says isn't so.

The other is the UFC talking about the safety of the sport and also having specific wavers for specific injuries.  But again is this really a surprise?  No.  But it popped in my head for sure that this will be something people will pick apart.  The contradiction on the freedom to speak about your contract and that not being true is a different story and and explanation that I don't feel is asking to much.

My only complaints that I've ever had is with the likeness.  No I don't think you should be able to use your likeness with a competing company but I firmly believe fighters should get a lifetime cut based on position on a card for DVD sales, video games, action figures, pictures, and so on if sold under the UFC banner.  They do shed some light on the subject by saying fighters are paid for such things but without a number to back it up I have no opinion on the matter.

Overall though it seems like a fair shake to me.  I am also a capitalist type I guess and believe all the money is fronted by the business and they are taking the financial risk thus deserver the rewards.  Fighters appear to be making a fair shake in the company as long as they are making the company money. 

What I don't like about other industries pay set up or having to many hands controling the pot is the same reason I don't like other sports anymore. 

If the UFC continues to run the business responsibly as they have (imho) then I like this set up.  Sure the UFC has gone a little corperate but watch how much change would incur to out beloved sport if the UFC was a public company and had to go through hoops with a union and other beruocratic avenues.  The fans would get what they want for the fighters and the product would falter because of it ruining (in my eyes) another pure sport.

5/14/13 3:55 PM
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PeaceThroughStrength
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GarlicSauce - Did you know that when signed with the UFC you have to surrender your own image and name "in perpetuity" (meaning forever)? Your own fucking picture belongs to Zuffa.

Fighters - like Randy Couture - who refused these draconian BS stipulations were punished and intimidated.

Why am I not surprised that the corporate masters are giving a good picture about how they treat their de facto slaves?

Each fighter that signs this contract does so on his or her own free will.
Fighters are not forced to fight for the UFC,They make a conscious choice to fight in the UFC.

There is no equivalence,morally or otherwise between a free person signing a contract to fight in the ufc and a person being held against their will,forced to work under threat of pain or death,with out compensation.
5/14/13 4:07 PM
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time traveling 12er
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PeaceThroughStrength - 
GarlicSauce - Did you know that when signed with the UFC you have to surrender your own image and name "in perpetuity" (meaning forever)? Your own fucking picture belongs to Zuffa.

Fighters - like Randy Couture - who refused these draconian BS stipulations were punished and intimidated.

Why am I not surprised that the corporate masters are giving a good picture about how they treat their de facto slaves?

Each fighter that signs this contract does so on his or her own free will.
Fighters are not forced to fight for the UFC,They make a conscious choice to fight in the UFC.

There is no equivalence,morally or otherwise between a free person signing a contract to fight in the ufc and a person being held against their will,forced to work under threat of pain or death,with out compensation.

seriously.  Comparing any of this to slavery is just embarrassing to anyone who does it. 

5/14/13 4:30 PM
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sawdusk
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the UFC is no different than any other business which will try and maximize its profits, even if that means disproportionate profit amounts to salaries paid in comparison to similar businesses... if they can get away with it, they will...

the fighters are the only ones who have the power to unionize and demand better terms... otherwise not much will change and that's just business...
5/14/13 4:33 PM
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Pernicious
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Really interesting. But they couldn't have found someone other than Ibarra to comment from the manager/fighter side? That dude's sketchy as hell and makes the salient counterarguments weaker, imo.
5/14/13 4:50 PM
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Anderson's BBC in my Goku
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Pernicious - Really interesting. But they couldn't have found someone other than Ibarra to comment from the manager/fighter side? That dude's sketchy as hell and makes the salient counterarguments weaker, imo.

lol..yeah, that was just plain silly...ibarra's comments half the time had nothing to do with the contractual language...my guess is that all other managers are too scared to say anything negative about zuffa

5/14/13 4:57 PM
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Anderson's BBC in my Goku
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time traveling 12er - 
PeaceThroughStrength - 
GarlicSauce - Did you know that when signed with the UFC you have to surrender your own image and name "in perpetuity" (meaning forever)? Your own fucking picture belongs to Zuffa.

Fighters - like Randy Couture - who refused these draconian BS stipulations were punished and intimidated.

Why am I not surprised that the corporate masters are giving a good picture about how they treat their de facto slaves?

Each fighter that signs this contract does so on his or her own free will.
Fighters are not forced to fight for the UFC,They make a conscious choice to fight in the UFC.

There is no equivalence,morally or otherwise between a free person signing a contract to fight in the ufc and a person being held against their will,forced to work under threat of pain or death,with out compensation.

seriously.  Comparing any of this to slavery is just embarrassing to anyone who does it. 


its a legal "joke"...any contract that binds someone indefinitely is viewed that way

5/14/13 7:07 PM
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time traveling 12er
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Anderson's BBC in my Goku - 
time traveling 12er - 
PeaceThroughStrength - 
GarlicSauce - Did you know that when signed with the UFC you have to surrender your own image and name "in perpetuity" (meaning forever)? Your own fucking picture belongs to Zuffa.

Fighters - like Randy Couture - who refused these draconian BS stipulations were punished and intimidated.

Why am I not surprised that the corporate masters are giving a good picture about how they treat their de facto slaves?

Each fighter that signs this contract does so on his or her own free will.
Fighters are not forced to fight for the UFC,They make a conscious choice to fight in the UFC.

There is no equivalence,morally or otherwise between a free person signing a contract to fight in the ufc and a person being held against their will,forced to work under threat of pain or death,with out compensation.

seriously.  Comparing any of this to slavery is just embarrassing to anyone who does it. 


its a legal "joke"...any contract that binds someone indefinitely is viewed that way


Lol, try to read your cell phone or credit card contract some time.  Most of these provisions are there to cover their asses like any company does.  Heck, look up what you gave up for signing up on facebook or a Google account.  A vast majority of them will never be enforced.  The most interesting thing in this article is the fact that Dana has swore up and down that fighters are not legally required to keep salaries secret, but reading the contract they actually are prohibited from doing so.  That's the real meat in this mess of an article.

5/14/13 7:16 PM
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Anderson's BBC in my Goku
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time traveling 12er - 
Anderson's BBC in my Goku - 
time traveling 12er - 
PeaceThroughStrength - 
GarlicSauce - Did you know that when signed with the UFC you have to surrender your own image and name "in perpetuity" (meaning forever)? Your own fucking picture belongs to Zuffa.

Fighters - like Randy Couture - who refused these draconian BS stipulations were punished and intimidated.

Why am I not surprised that the corporate masters are giving a good picture about how they treat their de facto slaves?

Each fighter that signs this contract does so on his or her own free will.
Fighters are not forced to fight for the UFC,They make a conscious choice to fight in the UFC.

There is no equivalence,morally or otherwise between a free person signing a contract to fight in the ufc and a person being held against their will,forced to work under threat of pain or death,with out compensation.

seriously.  Comparing any of this to slavery is just embarrassing to anyone who does it. 


its a legal "joke"...any contract that binds someone indefinitely is viewed that way


Lol, try to read your cell phone or credit card contract some time.  Most of these provisions are there to cover their asses like any company does.  Heck, look up what you gave up for signing up on facebook or a Google account.  A vast majority of them will never be enforced.  The most interesting thing in this article is the fact that Dana has swore up and down that fighters are not legally required to keep salaries secret, but reading the contract they actually are prohibited from doing so.  That's the real meat in this mess of an article.


yeah, but the comment on slavery pertains to the perpetual requirement to provide services...you are not obligated to provide services under your cell phone or credit card contracts (also you can canel those)...

5/14/13 7:36 PM
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guardbr8kr
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4l8tr
5/14/13 7:39 PM
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mrmister
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the ufc treats its STARS well
5/14/13 7:48 PM
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rockafella
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They take a picture of you or video while you're employed by the UFC and they own those specific images and can use them for life? Why do people have a problem with this? What is the UFC supposed to do after you shit the bed and need to be fired? Never use those images again?

Seems like common sense to me.
5/14/13 8:53 PM
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time traveling 12er
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rockafella - They take a picture of you or video while you're employed by the UFC and they own those specific images and can use them for life? Why do people have a problem with this? What is the UFC supposed to do after you shit the bed and need to be fired? Never use those images again?

Seems like common sense to me.

Don't bring common sense into this.  When you go to a sporting event I'm pretty sure the back of the ticket allows them similar use of your image captured from the event.   OMG!  EXPLOITATIONS!  Also the same peopl complaining usually give Bellator a pass even though their likeness contract is supposedly much worse.


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