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7/11/13 9:45 PM
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The issue of fighter compensation is a hot topic, with several fighters (Jon Fitch, John Cholish, Jacob Volkmann, and Tim Kennedy) very vocally advocating for higher pay. In an extensive piece, Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole, who is regularly at odds with the UFC, argues that fighter compensation in the UFC matches up very well with fighter compensation in its closest competitor - boxing.

Biggest boxing shows this year in Vegas:
•HBO card, headlined by Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, March 30
•Showtime pay-per-view card headlined by Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero, May 4

Biggest MMA shows this year in Vegas:
•UFC 160 pay-per-view card headlined by Velasquez and Antonio Silva, May 25
•UFC 162  pay-per-view card headlined by Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, July 6

The source of the complaints against the UFC - pay for lower end fighters - is very competitive with boxing, even looking solely at reported pay. Undercard boxers are paid what is on the Nevada State Athletic Commission's payout sheet. Undercard MMA fighters are paid what is on the payout sheet, plus are frequently paid discretionary bonuses, plus may win $50,000 'OTN' bonuses, plus typically have sponsors income generally unavailable in boxing.

Boxing:
•Mayweather-Guerrero show undercard totalled $1,147,250, an average $81,946 per boxer.
•Rios-Alvarado undercard totalled $301,200, an average of $18,825 per boxer.
•Undercard compensation ranged from $375,000 to $1,200.
•19 boxers earned $5,000 or less.

UFC:
•UFC 160 undercard totalled $1.258 million, an average of $62,900 per fighter.
•UFC 162 totalled $1.167 million, an average of $64,833.33 per fighter.
•Undercard compensation ranged from $290,000 to $8,000.
•Only one fighter, Kazuki Tokudome, earned less than $10,000.

In short, undercard MMA fighters do better than undercard boxers. In fact, fighters like John Cholish and Jacob Volkmann aren't selling tickets and are net losses to the promotion, because the promotion spends money marketing them to see if they might hit it big and become stars and doesn't realize a return.

At the top of the scale, where there have been no complaints about fighter pay, the best UFC fighters do not make Mayweather money.

Mayweather was guaranteed $32 million to fight Guerrero, who earned $3 million. Rios made $1.25 million and Alvarado earned $625,000.

UFC main event disclosed pay was lower:
Silva made $600,000
Weidman made $98,000
Cain Velasquez made $400,000
Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva made $75,000
UFC main event fighters regularly get a cut of the PPV, discretionary bonuses, OTN performance bonuses, and are believed to sign a second contract that pays them for promoting the fight. Still, no fighter in MMA ever made over $30,000,000 for a fight.

Because of the money the UFC invested in building its brand – UFC has almost become generic for mixed martial arts, just as Kleenex has for tissues – advertisers are more willing to spend money sponsoring its fighters. The UFC only permits fighters to wear logos of company-approved sponsors, though that is no different than what is done in major team sports.

"We get grief all the time from media and fans when we cut a guy because we want to bring in a new guy and give him a chance," said ZUFFA CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. "But there are only so many fight cards and so many slots and if a guy isn't doing it, we need to cut him and move on and give someone else a turn.

"But even though everyone cries and tries to paint us as the bad guys when we cut someone, the truth of the matter is, is that they're far more valuable in the marketplace when they are able to say they're an ex-UFC fighter. These other promotions pay them more because of it, no doubt."

The UFC also bears costs that fight promoters do not.

"We have to pay to get the satellite trucks here and we have to pay for the satellite time and for all of the people who work on a show," said Fertitta. "When a show is over, we have to write a thousand checks."

No one knows the economics of fighter compensation as well as managers, and managers Iole spoke to did not have an issue with fighter pay.

"Dana is no big fan of mine and he hasn't been for years," said the sport's first super manager, Monte Cox. "But that said, I believe they're really fair with the guys, I really do. Guys who are making eight and eight and who have the opportunity to win a $50,000 bonus, man, believe me when I tell you, that's more than fair and that's a lot better than what they could get anywhere else."

Another super manager, Ed Soares, offered similar remarks.

UFC president Dana White cited the number of fighters who are appreciative of the compensation structure, said the UFC had done more for fighters than anyone in the history of combat sports, and addressed Tim Kennedy directly.

"Tim Kennedy has a right to his opinion and he said what he said," said White. "I would have preferred that he'd gone out there, beat the s--- out of Gracie, then grabbed the mic from Joe Rogan, and then called me out: 'Hey Dana, I told you I deserved more money and then I went out and beat the s--- out of this guy.'

"Move the needle, man! Make someone care. Make someone give a s--- about you and your fight. But when you have fans doing the wave during your fight, I know one thing and that means you aren't moving the needle. Did anyone in that building that night give a s--- about Tim Kennedy? Not if they were doing the f---ing wave during the fight. I wish he would have had a great fight and then stuck it in my face, because that would have made him a star. But it was obvious he wasn't moving the needle an inch."

Read entire article...


7/11/13 10:00 PM
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slamming
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This has been ignored for far too long. The UFC treats everyone more fairly that boxing does. The wealth is spread out much more, yet for some reason boxing is seen as some paradise. Phone Post 3.0
7/11/13 10:02 PM
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RCP_TT4LIFE
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In short, undercard MMA fighters do better than undercard boxers.


Lole forgot to mention that the UFC promotion picks out the best fighters fit for their promotion. They don't pick out cab drivers like promoters do for boxing undercards.

John Herrera from the Rios/Alvarado undercard has a record of 4-7 and was there to make an up and coming prospect look good and that's not even a bad record compared to most others. This doesn't happen in the UFC.

You can't compare undercard fighters in boxing to the UFC fighters, it isn't a fair comparison.
7/11/13 10:05 PM
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Chris27
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I think its obvious the top boxers like Floyd/Manny and most guys fighting them like Cotto or JMM or Canelo make bank.

 

I think the mid guys in both sports kind of equal out.

 

in mma the bottom guys make more.

7/11/13 10:07 PM
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Kirik
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The UnderGround, Mayor

The basic model in boxing is awful. A prospect fights a series of tomato cans, then a gatekeeper or two, then gets a title shot. There are opponent gyms where there might be one good guy that gets decent fights while the rest of the gym is there to lose. Would be like having having the Baltimore Ravens play a bunch of random college teams for years before playing a real NFL game. And boxing is a hurting game.

The basic model in the UFC is to be competitive all the way, and that is way to go.

7/11/13 10:11 PM
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epwar
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Article: "Most fighters consider UFC pay fair..."

Reality: Iole only quotes one fighter (Dominick Cruz).

7/11/13 10:14 PM
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Porkchop
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7/11/13 10:18 PM
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sparkuri
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Boxing model is bad. I'd disagree on it's differences from the UFC, or any gladiator model since before Rome.

Whoever hurts the most people = makes the most money = gets the most money = doesn't go hungry

I'd like to see double the minimum standard for anyone that makes it into the arena.
Whatever it takes to get there. Phone Post
7/11/13 10:26 PM
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thatcpjguy
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RCP_TT4LIFE -
In short, undercard MMA fighters do better than undercard boxers.


Lole forgot to mention that the UFC promotion picks out the best fighters fit for their promotion. They don't pick out cab drivers like promoters do for boxing undercards.

John Herrera from the Rios/Alvarado undercard has a record of 4-7 and was there to make an up and coming prospect look good and that's not even a bad record compared to most others. This doesn't happen in the UFC.

You can't compare undercard fighters in boxing to the UFC fighters, it isn't a fair comparison.
There is no reason why it isn't a fair comparison. In fact it is the perfect comparison. Comparing the two largest combat sports in the USA and showing what undercard fighters make at the pinnacle of each sport.

Don't be a sore whiner because there is no data to support making the UFC spend more money on fighters that aren't making them money. Phone Post 3.0
7/11/13 10:27 PM
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KickYoNuts
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Most non big name boxers have a regular job, bottom to middle guys don't get paid much either just like it is in MMA. I would even say MMA guys make more than boxers (not top ranked)

7/11/13 11:15 PM
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BernardHopkins
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Kirik - 

The basic model in boxing is awful. A prospect fights a series of tomato cans, then a gatekeeper or two, then gets a title shot. There are opponent gyms where there might be one good guy that gets decent fights while the rest of the gym is there to lose. Would be like having having the Baltimore Ravens play a bunch of random college teams for years before playing a real NFL game. And boxing is a hurting game.

The basic model in the UFC is to be competitive all the way, and that is way to go.


cant compare the whole sport of boxing to the single mma promotion UFC

UFC did everything they could to build bisping up, only he never could get to where they wanted him.

in MMA plenty of prospects fight cans to build a record up for the ufc to notice them

sean mccorkle is proof. 

plenty of local gyms also promote their own shows and they hand pick opponents to try and boost their top fighters records up while not giving 2 shits about the other guys in the gym. 

ufc most certainly gives prospects winnable fights too

joe silvas job isnt to just make competitive fights

 

 

7/11/13 11:19 PM
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OshKos B'Josh All American Blanket
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Just because boxing pays like shit doesn't mean the UFC should. There are people in china making $1 a day to manufacture your iPhone. Should we make that the minimum wage in the us?

Sure that is the what the market will bear but zuffa does us all a disservice. That low pay all but ensures we will never have a steady stream of top prospects because people with that sort of athletic talent will go do something else, even if that something else is teaching high school wrestling. Phone Post 3.0
7/12/13 12:20 AM
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whoabro
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Why dont you guys just paypal your favorite fighters directly since youre so concerned about their finances? Phone Post 3.0
7/12/13 12:29 AM
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KingofBJJ - 

Iole sold out the fighrters and is now on the UFC payroll.


Looks that way.

Just because the money paid to boxers isn't distributed more evenly doesn't excuse the money the UFC pays fighters.

In boxing we know where the money goes: Floyd and a couple of others. Where does it go in MMA? Or is MMA just a minor sport after all.
7/12/13 12:37 AM
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SupesUp
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KingofBJJ - 

Iole sold out the fighrters and is now on the UFC payroll.


Looks that way.

Just because the money paid to boxers isn't distributed more evenly doesn't excuse the money the UFC pays fighters.

In boxing we know where the money goes: Floyd and a couple of others. Where does it go in MMA? Or is MMA just a minor sport after all.
Where does the money go? You don't think that shit is getting reinvested? How many boxing promoters are flying all over the world trying to build a world wide base for their sport while fighting the hardest back home in new York for nothing. You don't think that money is going to good use? Phone Post
7/12/13 12:45 AM
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KingofBJJ - 

Iole sold out the fighrters and is now on the UFC payroll.


Looks that way.

Just because the money paid to boxers isn't distributed more evenly doesn't excuse the money the UFC pays fighters.

In boxing we know where the money goes: Floyd and a couple of others. Where does it go in MMA? Or is MMA just a minor sport after all.

I can kind of see this point. I don't necessarily believe the guys at the bottom should get any more, but I do think that guys like Anderson, GSP, and and formerly Lesnar; guys who are proven to move the needle more than other guys--should be making the majority of the profit once a ppv goes above something like400 or 500k. 

GSP at 5 mil is a joke, imo. That guy is worth 400k views above any other fighter, all by himself. I think he should be making the majority of the profit on the few hundred buys, not $5 or whatever the hell it is. 

7/12/13 9:01 AM
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Aaron Becker
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I hate reading article on yahoo that this turd has written. He may know his boxing but he doesn't know shit about mma
7/12/13 9:09 AM
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Bobby Lupo
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Is Iole Dan's troll account.

Boxing is kind of fucked. I know guys whose management had to pay to get them on a card after they signed stupid long term contracts and both parties wanted out. That's fucking madness. Even the days of 2k/2k UFC beat that.

7/12/13 10:37 AM
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OblongBox
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I don't think it's the pay as much as it is how often they actually get to fight. I don't think the lower tier guys would be complaining about pay as much if they were fighting every 6 weeks at 8k/fight. Lower tier boxers fight more often so even at the same pay they are making more money than UFC fighters.
7/12/13 11:56 AM
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KingofBJJ - 

Iole sold out the fighrters and is now on the UFC payroll.


Looks that way.

Just because the money paid to boxers isn't distributed more evenly doesn't excuse the money the UFC pays fighters.

In boxing we know where the money goes: Floyd and a couple of others. Where does it go in MMA? Or is MMA just a minor sport after all.
Hes back on the payroll. Phone Post 3.0
7/12/13 12:42 PM
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shootfightermike
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in

7/12/13 1:01 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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7/12/13 1:28 PM
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RockyBullwinkle
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This is a terrible article. First it's title says that "most involved feel it's fair" and then he cites only 1 single fighter, Cruz, to back that claim up.

Secondly, the comparison is not perfect. HBO generally doens't record let alone show the fights on the undercard. Those fights are not party of the network show, so HBO is not making money off them. In comparison, the UFC broadcasts those fights on FUEL and gets paid by FOX for those shows, plus owns that footage and can rebroadcast it. They also collect sponsor taxes on anyone that might be sponsoring those prelim fighters. They, the UFC , is making money off them.

It might be better to be a low end MMA fighter than a low end boxer, and that'sa fair point to make, but I think Iole could also have pointed out the fact that the promotion is gaining a lot more in one sport than the other.
7/12/13 1:50 PM
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JimmersonzGlove
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Iole is often at odds with the UFC? I always thought he was one of the biggest shills.

7/12/13 2:16 PM
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PhallicObjekt
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Kirik -

The basic model in boxing is awful. A prospect fights a series of tomato cans, then a gatekeeper or two, then gets a title shot. There are opponent gyms where there might be one good guy that gets decent fights while the rest of the gym is there to lose. Would be like having having the Baltimore Ravens play a bunch of random college teams for years before playing a real NFL game. And boxing is a hurting game.

The basic model in the UFC is to be competitive all the way, and that is way to go.

Im inclined tk agree thats how boxing works but the ufc does the same thing too. That is just the proper way to bring a fighter along. If the ufc recognizes someone is a draw and puts asses in seats he is brought along in the same manner as boxing.

Brock Lesnars road to the title was catered to his strengths th4ough matchmaking.
Jon Jones was given a series of journeyman and opponents to showcase him in his road to the belt.
Hou could even say thr great Anderson Silva was given some preferential treatment.
Cain Velasquez was given an easy road full of journeyman then a gatekeeper to earn his shot.
Lets not forget how Kimbo was given easy fights on paper once he got to the ufc.

Then look at how many legitimate fighters in the ufc who are serious contenders who have been give tough matchup after tough matchup because they were not draws but could pose a tough fight for the ufc draws. Phone Post

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