HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Rio Rancho, and UFC fighters are underpaid by how much?

Frank Hyden MMATorch Columnist

UFC Rio Rancho

UFC Rio Rancho was this past weekend. Let’s get to the rundown.

HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Rio Rancho, and UFC fighters are underpaid by how much?

UFC Rio Rancho

GOOD- Yancy Medeiros vs. Lando Vannata

Vannata was moving around pretty good and landing some shots. Medeiros couldn’t do much of what he was wanting to and that led to Vannata getting the decision win. This was an okay fight, it was solid. Good win for Vannata.

GOOD- Rogerio Bontorin vs. Ray Borg

Borg fought well here, landing several takedowns and hurting Bontorin with some big elbows. Borg won the decision, but he missed weight for this fight so that taints things a bit for me. Still, good win for Borg.

UGLY- Brok Weaver beats Kazula Vargas by Disqualification

This wasn’t much of a fight before the DQ a little over four minutes into the first round, but that took it over the top into being a complete waste of time. Vargas took Weaver down and hit him with an illegal knee. The fight was over, and Weaver gets the DQ win. Moving on…

GOOD- Montana De La Rosa vs. Mara Romero Borella

De La Rosa controlled the fight with clinchwork, a takedown, and a big shot that dropped Borella. De Le Rosa won the decision in a solid fight, good win for her.

GOOD/BAD/UGLY- Michel Pereira vs. Diego Sanchez

The GOOD is for Pereira landing some big shots and doing damage to Sanchez throughout the fight. The BAD is for Sanchez taking big shots and just kind of winging it out there. It just seemed like the kind of fight he might have won by a robbery decision or something. He was really active, but he wasn’t doing as much as Pereira.

The UGLY is for the finish, which saw Pereira land an illegal knee about three minutes into the third round that stopped the fight and gave Sanchez the win by disqualification. Tough loss for Pereira.

GOOD- Jan Blachowicz stops Corey Anderson

Anderson got plastered about three minutes into the first round and the fight was over. Blachowicz nailed him with several big shots and it was over. I think Blachowicz gets the next title shot but we’ll have to see what the UFC does. They may go with Dominick Reyes getting an immediate rematch with Jones or have Blachowicz get the shot then Reyes fighting the winner?  

Or maybe have Reyes must win a fight, and then get another title shot?

A couple of possibilities but one thing’s for sure, Blachowicz looked really good in this win. I’m sure Jones would be a big favorite over him, but you’d have to give Blachowicz a puncher’s chance to win. He clearly has good power and if he caught Jones with something flush, it would be over.


UFC fighters are underpaid by how much?

A report by The New York Post claims that the UFC only pays its fighters 16% of the revenue it generates.

(this is the story, not sure if you want to link it or not) https://nypost.com/2020/02/13/ufcs-celebrity-investors-have-a-chokehold-on-300m-dividend/
Assuming that this number is correct, and we have little reason to believe it’s not, the UFC looks extraordinarily greedy. Now, they’re a business and their first goal is to make money. I have no problem with that, I’ve never had a problem with that, but there’s a good way to make money and a bad way.

Fighters have complained about being underpaid for a very long time. When the UFC first announced their sponsorship deal with Reebok, they made it sound like the fighters would make more money and have more time to train and all that jazz. They wouldn’t have to go around hustling up sponsorship deals with companies and things of that nature.

What actually happened was the fighters took a pay cut. For some it was a significant pay cut, while for others it might have been not too bad. I get the mentality of not wanting a big ad for Teddy McGee’s Chlamydia Cure plastered over the shorts of your fighters when you’re trying to look like a professional league, but that was a potential revenue stream for your fighters. If you cut that off, you need to make them whole again and compensate them.

For reference, other sports leagues pay their athletes around 50% of the revenue generated. To not even pay a third of that is crazy. Hell, the UFC could double what they pay their fighters and that still wouldn’t even be close to what other sports leagues pay out.
If you want to attract the best athletes possible, you got to do better than this. Money matters.  

For some athletes, it’s the number one reason they do what they do. For others, it’s more about the love of the sport. However, even in those cases, they still need to be paid enough to make it worth it. If you have to work a second job, even if it’s part-time, that takes away from what you can accomplish. Fighting is a full-time job, as is any professional athlete.

I’m not talking about the big-name guys in the UFC. Yeah, they’re underpaid as well but it’s not the same as a guy who’s getting paid $18,000 or the guy who got paid $10,000 and got that doubled for winning. Those numbers don’t include a huge litany of other expenses, as well as some potential bonuses. These disclosed payouts don’t factor in training costs, insurance, taxes, etc. They also don’t include any bonuses you might receive from the UFC but you can’t on those.  

The UFC is under no obligation to give you any more money and apparently, they don’t give you anything extra, or if they do, it’s not much.

I understand the UFC isn’t close to the other sports leagues in terms of interest and potential revenue and all that. I’m not expecting them to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts, I know you can’t compare the salary numbers. However, you can compare the percentage of revenue paid, and the UFC is lagging pathetically behind. 

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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