Fighter pay has always been an issue on the forefront of the UFC world, but more recently that matter has been brought back up by some of the biggest stars seeking better paydays. Jon Jones has fought quite publicly with Dana White and has asked to be released by the UFC, while Jorge Masvidal has also told the league to let him go if he’s not worth it. He asked why he should have to fight for half as much as his previous outing because his opponent isn’t the same draw, a question that’s hard for the UFC to answer.
Why make me fight for half of what I made on my last fight cause the other dude can’t draw?
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) June 5, 2020
Conor McGregor walking away from the sport again, at least for now, can also be seen as frustration with the financial side of the sport. His brief jump to boxing was, after all, motivated at least in strong part because of the greater payday compared to MMA.
The situation surrounding how much fighters make will continue to be a talking point this year, especially as it’s affecting some of the most well known and mainstream talents in the sport, and it’s led to Joe Rogan giving his take on his podcast.
“I think everybody should get paid more. I think it’s a crazy way to make a living. I think you should get the most amount of money you can possibly get,” Rogan said. However, he did acknowledge that it’s a business and that the league doesn’t have unlimited money to spend on its fighters. “I don’t talk finances with them, but I know the WME people who own it are hurting, bad. They’re laying people off. Most businesses are hurting. All the entertainment business is (expletive).”
“You should get paid an incredibly generous amount of money to step into a cage fight for millions of people to see,” Rogan continued.
The matter of pay isn’t going to leave the conversation for a while, with the UFC still having ongoing disputes to clear up with Jones and Masvidal. Whether things will turn out in favor of the fighters or the company remains to be seen, but with the coronavirus pandemic preventing the UFC from collecting money at the gate from ticket sales at live events, it doesn’t seem like the company has the resources currently to deliver on an ideal outcome that would reward all of its fighters and please fans in the process.