“That’s always going to be an issue. If we distributed 200% of our revenues, people would be complaining about fighter pay. The fact of the matter is, fighter pay has continued to increase every single year that we’ve owned the company. We pay way more than anybody else in the space, that’s a factor. You do have some fighters that maybe aren’t happy with what they get, but at the end of the day, the fighters that achieve great things in this sport and get to the level of actually making a career of it, you don’t see many of those athletes complaining. That’s the fact of the matter. The guys who are rising to the top are making the majority of the money… Relative to this, we’re making an investment in the future, so that the company can continue to go on and achieve bigger things so that the revenue will continue to grow. Obviously that will continue to flow down to the fighters, so this is no different than any other business.”
-UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta talked fighter pay during the ground breaking for the UFC’s new expansive Las Vegas headquarters (via BloodyElbow.com).
Penick’s Analysis: “Flow down.” Maybe a slow trickle. Yes, a handful of fighters are making the majority in fighter pay, but the UFC has more than 500 guys fighting for them right now, and with the Reebok deal they cut off a ton of money to those on the bottom end of the spectrum. Fighter pay may have increased year to year, but it’s been incremental at the bottom end. If you’re a professional fighter fighting in the biggest organization in the world, you should be “making a career of it.” That Fertitta’s essentially admitting they’re employing a whole bunch of fighters not at the level of making a career out of MMA is as much a condemnation on their bloated roster as anything else.
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