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UnderGround Forums >> Chuck Liddell: The UFC is not a welfare state


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7/10/13 11:10 AM
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Chuck Liddell, former UFC light heavyweight champion and current UFC Executive Vice President of Business Development, recently appeared on SiriusXM Fight Club, and discussed fighter compensation.

"Those guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports," said Liddell. "You fight good, you win, you get paid. Alright? You're starting out, no one knows who you are, no one cares, you don't get paid. Period. It's simple.

"I mean, my first contract I was offered by the UFC, or my second contract, it was 1-and-1, 2-and-2, 3-and-3. That's 12 grand for the year... Don't complain to me about fighter pay. It was $12,000 for a year, and it was exclusive.

"It's a performance based business. You get good, you win, and then you get paid. Guys are getting paid plenty, trust me. I got paid plenty, trust me."

"People have to want to see you fight. If they want to see you fight, you'll get paid. If you're a fighter that's worth money, you'll get paid.

"Everybody points to, ‘Oh, boxing these guys are getting (paid).' There's a couple guys that make these big huge paydays. That's it... The undercards don't make anything. There's bottom guys on some of those cards that are making 100 bucks a round. 100 bucks a round. That's $400 for a four-round fight.

"People got to understand, the fighters at the top are the fighters that are supposed to get paid, because they're the guys that are bringing people in, bringing eyes to the TV, getting pay-per-views buys, and putting people in the seats. I mean, that's what it comes down to. You want to get that? Beat everybody. Be good enough. If you're not good enough to get there -- sorry. It's not a welfare state."

"You picked the wrong profession. I saw a guy who said 'Hey I won eight fights in a row and I can't make a living. I looked at your record. Yah, you won eight fights in a row on these small shows. You went and you fought in the UFC twice. You lost, both times. You picked the wrong sport. Hey, you made a good run at it. You tried. Hey, try another sport because this one doesn't work for you. Sorry."

Listen to entire interview...


7/10/13 11:12 AM
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Stipe
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I agree with him that few guys bring in most of the viewers.

However, look at the big picture.
You aren't getting these guys that are at the top, you aren't building them, without getting a good, healthy scene alltogether. Whom will they be beating?
7/10/13 11:13 AM
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ILoveWatchingJonesBoneShogun
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Very well spoken imo
7/10/13 11:18 AM
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TBidness
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Edited: 07/10/13 11:21 AM
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Why does this remind me of Alec Baldwins Glengary Glen Ross speech?<br /><br />TBidness
7/10/13 11:22 AM
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crowbar
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I wonder how they determine how many viewers the preliminary guys bring in?

7/10/13 11:23 AM
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IAmNotImpressedbyYourStocktonSlap
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Agreed on all points. Phone Post
7/10/13 11:25 AM
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SonOfThePeepHole
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Agreed.

BUT

the UFC is so much bigger now they can AFFORD to pay lower level guys better. Phone Post
7/10/13 11:25 AM
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Kirik
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The UnderGround, Mayor

I'm here from downtown... I'm here on a mission of mercy...

7/10/13 11:30 AM
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Stipe
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Bellator Fan - "(Lower paid) guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports,"

Most other sports have unions and lower tier athletes get paid much better in comparison. These guys are taking similar risks to football players but not being compensated fairly. Phone Post 3.0

Yeah.
It is also not just about bringing in the viewers right this instance. It's about building the healty sport.
You must have a good base of the pyramid for that one GSP to come out on top. He has to be beating the Koscheks, and they in turn have to be brushing their skills and beating lower tiers and so on and so on.
7/10/13 11:38 AM
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3rdLion
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If you sign a contract which states how much you're going to get paid then don't complain when you get that amount. If you want more money then win fights and market yourself. I'm sick of fighters in the UFC whining, go back to your office job then, you knew what you got yourself into when you put pen to paper.
7/10/13 11:42 AM
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ortman166
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Truth Phone Post 3.0
7/10/13 11:45 AM
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PUBLIC_loves_VITOR_eff_THE_haters
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Stipe -
Bellator Fan - "(Lower paid) guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports,"

Most other sports have unions and lower tier athletes get paid much better in comparison. These guys are taking similar risks to football players but not being compensated fairly. Phone Post 3.0

Yeah.
It is also not just about bringing in the viewers right this instance. It's about building the healty sport.
You must have a good base of the pyramid for that one GSP to come out on top. He has to be beating the Koscheks, and they in turn have to be brushing their skills and beating lower tiers and so on and so on.
who cares about fair irs a business. Phone Post
7/10/13 11:46 AM
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Gilbosh
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Chuck put soo well what Dana was meant to say, what we got from Dana was...'Fucking shitty fighters wanting all the money, bullshittin, should work harder, wtf is this shit, god damn, you ain't nobody, no-ones paying to see you fight.'
7/10/13 11:47 AM
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thatcpjguy
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Chuck nailed it here. MMA is not a team sport and it should not be paying like one. It's completely performance/entertainment based. It's crazy to me how many people have these crazy grand ideas of how UFC should spend their money without seeing their books.

Too many MMA companies have died spending unnecessary money on fighters who do not draw. I rather have the UFC around than have them go bankrupt trying to pay fighters extra money when they have no impact on the survivability if the sport. Phone Post 3.0
7/10/13 11:48 AM
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epwar
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And another Zuffa mouthpiece trying to conflate two issues.  Yes, we know you started out small, Chuck.  But that was when the company was making no money.  Now the UFC is pulling in $500 million in revenue annually and you have guys who AREN'T making a livable wage.  Why do they always gloss over that?  

7/10/13 11:49 AM
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stuvelo
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Couldn't agree with Chocolate Al more.......

if your a fighter that nobody knows you bring in NO ppv buys, getting 6k/6k is a blessing and a chance to excel and get your name out there

the sport isn't a "spectacle" like it used to be, now people buy PPV's based on name power on the card
7/10/13 11:50 AM
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BuddyRevell
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How much do low-level undercard pro boxers get paid compared to their UFC counterparts?

7/10/13 11:51 AM
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thatcpjguy
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JustTheTip - Funny....Jon Fitch was the #2 WW in the world for many years and didn't get paid much at all, comparatively speaking.

Oh you're going to say he's boring and no one wanted to see him fight? Well the UFC must disagree. A majority of the time he fought he was on the main card, main event versus BJ and GSP, he was the co main event for Anderson-Chael against Alves, fought for the title, main card for UFC 100, etc... In any other sport, if you are the 2nd best in the world and are used by the org that much, you'd be retired.
No they didn't disagree, he was rewarded for winning. If they disagreed he would've been kept like Dan hardy. To even try to pretend that Fitch is a draw is asinine.

We all know Fitch was an excellent point fighter but there is no way in hell you could convince anyone that Fitch is entertaining. For even the most hardcore of fans, most of fitch's fights equaled 'piss break'. Phone Post 3.0
7/10/13 11:52 AM
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Gilbosh
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We loved what we saw of you in the smaller local MMA scene, you've obviously busted your balls to get here, so we would like to off this exclusive contract for the next 3 fights.

Also, you will still need to hold down your second job.

please sign here. and. here.
7/10/13 11:54 AM
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Fan of fanboys
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Bellator Fan - "(Lower paid) guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports,"

Most other sports have unions and lower tier athletes get paid much better in comparison. These guys are taking similar risks to football players but not being compensated fairly. Phone Post 3.0
Hard to compare UFC to anything other than boxing

Comparing to NFL/NBA/MLB flawed. With those sports they have development league. College. Those guys get drafted based on a combo of past performance and future potential. That's a huge boon for those leagues. Vast majority of guesswork has been removed for them. Guys come in with name value.

With UFC it's a lot more guesswork. Outside someone like Brock these guys have little to no name value. Odds are most were fighting guys no one has heard of on shows no one watched. If UFC paid six figures to a guy on a Facebook prelim then they assume all risk w/ high chance of no payoff.

Most guys in UFC don't last long. Outside your top 10-15 guys most guys I bet only fight a handful of times. UFC uses most as space fillers, where fans watch bc it's a fight not bc of the guy. Sometimes they get lucky and guy turns into fan favorite or a legit winner. But usually they don't.

I'm for guys making more $ but I don't think comparing UFC to the big 3 in that facet is a good analogy. Phone Post 3.0
7/10/13 11:55 AM
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XIII
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Bellator Fan - "(Lower paid) guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports,"

Most other sports have unions and lower tier athletes get paid much better in comparison. These guys are taking similar risks to football players but not being compensated fairly. Phone Post 3.0

Most other sports have unions? I doubt it, especially individual sports.

I didn't do any research on this but do you have unions for snooker players, motocross riders, tennis players, bowlers or pole vault jumpers for instance?

Unions are probably rare in individual sports, I would guess, since the best guys with all the money and influence have little benefit from a union.

7/10/13 11:56 AM
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Fan of fanboys
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stuvelo - Couldn't agree with Chocolate Al more.......

if your a fighter that nobody knows you bring in NO ppv buys, getting 6k/6k is a blessing and a chance to excel and get your name out there

the sport isn't a "spectacle" like it used to be, now people buy PPV's based on name power on the card
Also, even if that guy goes 0-1 he will forever be known as a 'former UFC fighter'
That helps him more than helps UFC. Whether he fights in smaller orgs or teaches at local studio. He has that tag. That's a bit of a financial boost for a guy that didn't do anything for the UFC. Phone Post 3.0
7/10/13 11:57 AM
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Fan of fanboys
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XIII -
Bellator Fan - "(Lower paid) guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports,"

Most other sports have unions and lower tier athletes get paid much better in comparison. These guys are taking similar risks to football players but not being compensated fairly. Phone Post 3.0

Most other sports have unions? I doubt it, especially individual sports.

I didn't do any research on this but do you have unions for snooker players, motocross riders, tennis players, bowlers or pole vault jumpers for instance?

Unions are probably rare in individual sports, I would guess, since the best guys with all the money and influence have little benefit from a union.

Good point Phone Post 3.0
7/10/13 11:57 AM
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dabigchet
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Bellator Fan - "(Lower paid) guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports,"

Most other sports have unions and lower tier athletes get paid much better in comparison. These guys are taking similar risks to football players but not being compensated fairly. Phone Post 3.0

which sports are you talking about? guys who are not established in the UFC are analogous to minor league hockey or baseball players. these guys are not making bank at all.
7/10/13 11:58 AM
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Bearded Collie Herds Orca
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Chuck, with his obvious dementia pugilistica, should recognize that if you're good enough to get to the pinnacle of the sport (i.e. the UFC), you're due a reasonable compensation. No one is suggesting all fighters be paid the same. But all UFC fighters should be able to make a reasonable living. We don't just tune in for GSP and JBJ, we love the UFC because ALL the fights have potential to be barn-burners...if UFC cards were like boxing, with enormous disparities in skill between headliners and under-card fighters, fewer people would pay the $60. Prelims and Facebook fighters similarly put it all on the line in order to make their company a lot of money in ticket sales and ppv buys. Pay them a fair wage.
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