White insists fighter pay, opportunities to increase under new UFC owners: “Watch what happens in the next five years”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Dana White (photo credit Gary Vazquez © USA Today Sports)

“One of the things that we have always done since the day we have bought this company is we have taken this to the next level. I didn’t sleep too well last night. I was reading a lot of stuff and watching a lot of stuff, and obviously there was a lot of positive. But then there’s negative people out there, the naysayers, all this and that. Listen, this is gonna be massive… Every year that we’ve owned this, fighter pay has gone up every year. I think that Ari [Emanuel], IMG, they’re gonna really bring in a lot more sponsors, there’s gonna be television and movie opportunities for these guys. Again, we’re just gonna continue to make this thing bigger globally and make this sport more popular. People can’t wrap their brains around the fact that we don’t even have scratched the surface of how big this sport’s gonna be. And Ari and his team get it, my team definitely gets it, and I’m ready… Listen, I come up with lots of content. The library that I have from the past, the live fights, the ability to do all the different television shows, the talent that I have, I have 500 men and women under contract, talented people. Ari’s gonna help take that to the next level. I’m telling you guys. Look at these things that I said 15 years ago and listen to what I’m telling you today: Watch what happens in the next five years.”

-Dana White talks to TMZ about the new ownership group coming in and why pessimistic views on the UFC’s future are misguided (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com).

Penick’s Analysis: Fighter pay has gone up slowly on the bottom end, and it’s gotten better if still not good enough on top. There are a lot of fighters in the middle of the mix who should be getting paid considerably more. Honestly, given the valuation they just got, they shouldn’t have had a fighter on the roster they weren’t willing to pay at least $50K flat to fight, if not more. They wanted to fill out cards with fighters just happy to be there who would accept $15K/$15K or less, but the organization would be better as a whole if they were willing to pay their fighters like they were professional athletes and thus discerned between those who actually deserved to be on that stage and those who didn’t. If they’re good enough to be in the UFC, they’re good enough to be paid like it. Hopefully that’s something that happens under new ownership, but to be pessimistic about a group who just dropped $4 billion to take over to suddenly increase what they’re spending on fighters is a justifiable reaction.

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