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UnderGround Forums >> John Cholish blasts UFC fighter pay


5/23/13 5:45 PM
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Chromium
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Tomato Can - 
Chromium - 
Tomato Can - "If you make it to the UFC you are in the top 2-3% of your profession"

Not true at all.

Okay, outside of Womens Bantamweight, the UFC represents 2-3% of the global population of active fighters in each division across the board. I realize this doesn't line-up succinctly with "best in the world" as there are still great fighters outside the UFC, but outside of a handful of outliers in each division (and honestly we don't always know who they are), you'd have to be in the Top 5% if you're in the UFC. You get to the UFC, the world's largest fight promotion with 80+% of the elite talent, the major leagues, because they think you're an excellent fighter. Once you get there you should be making a living wage after job-related expenses. You know, like you'd earn as a manager at McDonald's. Not a decent wage, not a $100,000, just a living wage. There should be no exceptions to this.


I'd say the figure is probably closer to the 5-10% range, but that's kind of beside the point. What I've been trying to say all along is that just because the UFC signs you, doesn't inherently mean anything about your talent level. Using the pro team sports analogy, there are dozens of players who get drafted by a major league team every year who will never see a major league game or make more than $1500/month on a minor league contract. Players who work other jobs during the offseason.

I'd also just like to reiterate for the umpteenth time (so I don't come off like too much of a DW apologist) that my biggest problem with the UFC's pay structure is the win bonuses. I have really seen no rational justification for it and it seems completely unfair to me. I think if guys were making 10/2 rather than 6/6 it would go a long way towards alleviating their concerns.

According to a study JCS did at FightMatrix.com using the Sherdog database a little over a year ago, there were somwhere in the vicinity of 2500 active LWs globally (as in had a match in the last 450 days) and only slightly fewer Welterweights. There are 75 or so LWs on the UFC.com roster and 73 WWs (although that includes some people put on their for honorary purposes like Kenny Florian and Royce Gracie of all people. There were roughly 1500-1800 MWs and FWs at the time and the bell-curve continued at LHW and BW, dropping steeply at Flyweight at the time and actually plateauing at HW. The UFC more or less mirrors this. Flyweight has grown quite a bit over the last year or so internationally and is also the smallest male division in the UFC, with just 13 fighters, so they should no longer be overrepresented like they would have been when there were just 300 fighters or so in the study.

The UFC represents nor more than 3% of the global population in each division of professional fighters. Being in the UFC, unless you've gotten very lucky as an injury replacement (see: Ilir Lafiti) , or are in the Womens Bantamweight division, or somehow fooled them, you practically have to be in the top 5% of your division internationally.

Also, suggesting that people make 10/2 instead of 6/6 means that the total purse for that fight increases from $18,000 to $22,000 so ultimately the UFC is upping their payout under your suggestion too.

Anyway we're at a fundamental disagreement about whether or not you should make a living wage in the UFC or not. To me, the indies are the minors. There are a sea of indies out there, and they're increasingly all over the world. To me the UFC is the pinnacle of the sport, and they should act like it.

5/23/13 5:51 PM
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HexRei
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^^^ Great post, lots of info, VTFU
5/23/13 5:51 PM
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Chromium
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This is getting a little ridiculous now. Does John really think the UFC isn't going to pay him? Zuffa is obviously late, but does he think they're just not going to pay the fighters??

what does that have to do with it,the only thing thats ridiculous is that the ufc is late.


I agree. Zuffa being late is no good. But I'm pretty sure at this point Cholish has an axe to grind and will do anything to make Zuffa and Dana look bad.

He's done one short interview that's been repeated ad-nauseam and made a few tweets. Yeah, he'll do anything.

I'm a little surprised that Zuffa is late with their payments but they do have to pay local taxes I suppose. If they end up being only a day or two late on pay from an international event, I really don't think Cholish should be bitching about it though.

5/23/13 5:52 PM
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youarewhatiswrong
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Jesus, CindyO is the worst.
5/23/13 6:07 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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This is getting a little ridiculous now. Does John really think the UFC isn't going to pay him? Zuffa is obviously late, but does he think they're just not going to pay the fighters??

what does that have to do with it,the only thing thats ridiculous is that the ufc is late.


I agree. Zuffa being late is no good. But I'm pretty sure at this point Cholish has an axe to grind and will do anything to make Zuffa and Dana look bad.

He's done one short interview that's been repeated ad-nauseam and made a few tweets. Yeah, he'll do anything.

I'm a little surprised that Zuffa is late with their payments but they do have to pay local taxes I suppose. If they end up being only a day or two late on pay from an international event, I really don't think Cholish should be bitching about it though.


He's tweeting Helwani in the hopes that this will blow up. He's pissed and he's trying to let everyone know about it. Him tweeting that Brazilian tax e-mail is laughable. His problem is with the Brazilian taxing authority, not Dana.

And don't kid yourself, if there was more dirt, he'd be tweeting it.
5/23/13 6:10 PM
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Thacommish
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This is getting a little ridiculous now. Does John really think the UFC isn't going to pay him? Zuffa is obviously late, but does he think they're just not going to pay the fighters??

what does that have to do with it,the only thing thats ridiculous is that the ufc is late.


I agree. Zuffa being late is no good. But I'm pretty sure at this point Cholish has an axe to grind and will do anything to make Zuffa and Dana look bad.

He's done one short interview that's been repeated ad-nauseam and made a few tweets. Yeah, he'll do anything.

I'm a little surprised that Zuffa is late with their payments but they do have to pay local taxes I suppose. If they end up being only a day or two late on pay from an international event, I really don't think Cholish should be bitching about it though.


He's tweeting Helwani in the hopes that this will blow up. He's pissed and he's trying to let everyone know about it. Him tweeting that Brazilian tax e-mail is laughable. His problem is with the Brazilian taxing authority, not Dana.

And don't kid yourself, if there was more dirt, he'd be tweeting it.

during said tweet does he actually mention or bitch about the taxes? or is he doing it to show when he was supposed to get paid?
5/23/13 6:14 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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Thacommish, fair point.
5/23/13 6:16 PM
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Jatz Crackers
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From the email:

"Payments will be processed on Monday May 20th, 2013 from Brazil and should be reflected in [clipped] account within 48 hours."

(My emphasis.)

They didn't promise that he'd have cash in his account on Monday.  UFC said that they were processing the payments Monday and that it would take a couple of days to show up in his account.  The payments were also paid from Brazil, which could EASILY add a layer of bullshwa to the process that would be capable of adding a day to things.

I look forward to the lower tier fighters' pay going up (as it will inevitably do, and has done reasonably regularly in the recent past) but this is stupid.  Cholish has every right to raise the issue of fighter pay, and he probably has a point.  But tilting at windmills over nonsense (like this shit) kills his credibility, dilutes the strength of his argument and lends credence to Dana's characterisation of him as a guy who couldn't cut it and is bitter about it.

5/23/13 6:20 PM
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Thacommish
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Jatz Crackers - 

From the email:

"Payments will be processed on Monday May 20th, 2013 from Brazil and should be reflected in [clipped] account within 48 hours."

(My emphasis.)

They didn't promise that he'd have cash in his account on Monday.  UFC said that they were processing the payments Monday and that it would take a couple of days to show up in his account.  The payments were also paid from Brazil, which could EASILY add a layer of bullshwa to the process that would be capable of adding a day to things.

I look forward to the lower tier fighters' pay going up (as it will inevitably do, and has done reasonably regularly in the recent past) but this is stupid.  Cholish has every right to raise the issue of fighter pay, and he probably has a point.  But tilting at windmills over nonsense (like this shit) kills his credibility, dilutes the strength of his argument and lends credence to Dana's characterisation of him as a guy who couldn't cut it and is bitter about it.


He tweeted wednsday.
5/23/13 6:28 PM
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CindyO
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sunderground - Wow. You really do love Zuffa don't you?

(And thanks for signing all of your posts. Can you include "Best regards," so that they will seem even more profound?)

All the best,

SU

Thanks sunderground, I sure do, and I will consider your suggestion;)

 

Cindy

5/23/13 6:33 PM
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fryingarmbar
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youarewhatiswrong - Jesus, CindyO is the worst.
She is but she's also just doing her job. The mistake is to try to engage her in a debate as if she's not a shill and just a reasonable poster without a preset agenda.

Iaintevenmad.gif Phone Post 3.0
5/23/13 7:03 PM
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CindyO
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Thacommish - 
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sunderground - You cant be paid according to your market value when no market exists. To establish "market prices" you need more than one primary buyer (Zuffa) and one secondary (Viacom).

When some of you hit (community) college, sign up for an intro econ class. Might help.


So Cholish could actually be worth less than 5k-6k since two competing promotions have no interest in him (well, not even one now)? Didn't think of it that way! Thanks for the enlightenment=)

 

Cindy


You being so concerned about fighters making what they are worth i have a question. Where does the profit come from? are there fighters that bring in more than what zuffa is paying them? is this where the profits come from and how dana and lorenzo get paid? why are these people not being paid their value? Why is it ok to pay some guys less than what they are worth and also the go to reason why you cant pay a guy more ? Why does it instead go to dana? why does he have so many cars? who affords these cars? whats danas market value? is he being paid more than his value?

Sweetie, your post makes no sense.

 

Cindy

5/23/13 7:13 PM
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CindyO
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youarewhatiswrong - Jesus, CindyO is the worst.
She is but she's also just doing her job. The mistake is to try to engage her in a debate as if she's not a shill and just a reasonable poster without a preset agenda.

Iaintevenmad.gif Phone Post 3.0

How cute! The paid poster thing. Original, but no:)

 

Cindy

5/23/13 7:19 PM
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lockon
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Chromium has hit the nail on the head with this one.
5/23/13 7:27 PM
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othree
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CindyO just shills out of the goodness of her heart, you guys. Show some respect!

5/23/13 7:27 PM
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othree
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lockon - Chromium has hit the nail on the head with this one.

Indeed :)

5/23/13 10:49 PM
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Tomato Can
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Chromium, I would argue those stats are skewed as I wouldn't really consider everyone who has had a fight in the last 450 days as an "active professional fighter".

I think there is some common ground here but we do disagree on the "majors" argument. I think the UFC is simultaneously the minors and the majors. Being signed to a 6/6 deal is essentially a developmental contract.
5/23/13 11:03 PM
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WestsideStrangler
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I got 10/10 for the UFC against Miletich back in 98 but I fought for 2/2 earlier in the night.

I think if you are in the UFC then you are in the NFL and MLB or NBA.  Pick the bottom guys salary in that sport and that should be the new guys in the UFC.  If you don't want to pay them like the elite athletes in other sports don't let them in the UFC until you do.  This would make it more difficult to get in the UFC and it would make it more prestigious when you do get there.  The bottom guy in the UFC should be making a few hundred thousand a year no questions asked.  They get cut just like other athletes so they will be working harder than ever not to get cut.  Raise the pay and lose the bottom tier.

5/23/13 11:10 PM
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Tomato Can
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Chris, that's not really sustainable as the UFC does not have the revenues of MLB/NFL/NBA. Chromium has been using MLS as a good comparison revenue-wise, which would put the minimum salary at around $35-40k per year.
5/23/13 11:28 PM
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UGSlapshot
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Lux Fixxins -
CindyO -
Jstmike -  Maybe UFC should not pay a per fight purse, but instead a monthly salary. Factor in the cost of living where the fighter lives and what ever other variables there may be. There could a base salary for Guys with 5 or less UFC fights. Possibly something like $75,000 a year...probably wouldn't work though I guess Phone Post

Have you ever heard of the IFL? Their business model was similar and they went out of business in less than 3 years after losing tens of millions of dollars. They had a TV deal within the first 6 months and became a publicly traded company by the end of the first year so we're not talking about a low rent promotion with no resources.

Overpaying the roster contributed to the demise and/or forced sell of the IFL as well as Bodog, WFA, EliteXC, Affliction, and Strikeforce which should be a pretty good sign that the UFC shouldn't go the same route. And if the lower level fighters could make more money elsewhere wouldn't they have signed with another promoter?

I would be interested in knowing how much the current 4k/4k fighters made in their last match prior to signing with the UFC. At least then we'd know if they made a step forwards or backwards. I wonder how much their sponsorships went up or down after signing with Zuffa and how many went from never having a televised fight to having every fight broatcast on national and/or international TV.

I doubt many (if any) are worse off with the UFC than they were with their previous organization and venture to say most are far better off now in every way. The opportunity to fight in the UFC can be career changing and door opening experiences and good managers know how to make the most of it for their clients. Unfortunately, good representation in the sport of MMA seems to be hard to find and not that many managers/agents have figured out how to really leverage the features and benefits of their clients and exploit those strengths in any decent way immaginable for the maximum monetary gain. The UFC will only promote your fight at fight time. Its up to the fighter and his reps to self-promote the athlete and his brand the rest of the time. I bet this area is a vast, largely untapped, and growing every day:)

Yikes, sorry for the frat!

 

Cindy

No.


If you fight in the UFC, you deserve millions... Perhaps billions of dollars just to show. Phone Post 3.0
No, but what obtuse asshats don't understand is that every fighter in the ufc deserves to be paid more than the zit popping teen flipping Burgers at Wendy's.

If you're on the roster you should at least be paid a living wage. Phone Post
5/23/13 11:30 PM
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WestsideStrangler
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35/40k a year and I would be starving and losing all my shit.  Remember I said lose the bottom tier.  I'm not asking them to may 400 guys that much but they make enough money in a year to have half that amount making that much. 

40k a year and you need a side job.  If you make it to the UFC you should not need a fuckin side job.  It needs to be harder to get there and worth it when you do.

5/23/13 11:54 PM
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Tomato Can
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You really need a side job on $40k?

The median American income is only like $50k.
5/24/13 12:12 AM
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WestsideStrangler
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I would for sure lol Phone Post
5/24/13 12:17 AM
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HoneyBadger305
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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
Are you risking being KTFO in front of millions of people on cable tv in that mail room? Phone Post 3.0
5/24/13 12:20 AM
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cdmontgo
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Tomato Can - You really need a side job on $40k?

The median American income is only like $50k.

You do when you have to use a good portion of that for job related expenses. Combine that with a family and you have no money.

Not to mention, your fighting career most likely won't last more than a few years which means you should be stashing money away to make up for the loss of income when you are the new guy at your next job.

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