UFC president Dana White went all.. Dana, on fighters asking for “money fights” in an interview he gave to FOx Sports after the weigh ins of UFC 209.
“I want the money fights! What are you all going to move down and fight Conor? Conor brings in big gates, big pay-per-view numbers and everything else. Shut up if you don’t. “If you’re not him, shut up.”
Well i ‘m sorry Dana, but they won’t and maybe you are a bit right but it’s your fault that the UFC has changed into Ultimate Money Championship.
UFC’s “worth” for the markets and the entairtaintement industry might have blown to 4.2 billion but for the fighters themselves it has probably decreased a lot.
In todays UFC, belts, rankings and accomplishemets have less meaning. The promotion it self devalued them in order to go for more money fighst to get to, or repay, that 4.2 billion value. Billions that went to non fighter pockets.
So now he is angry that fighters are doing the same?
I ‘ve always said that the UFC was in some ways, really lucky that MMA was a popular but fringe sport, even while the UFC as a promotion was growing to fame.
You see untill a couple of years back the UFC was still fringe enough to play by its own rules.
They were the only promotion that actually mattered and they knew it, so they did almost everything they wanted without really taking fighters into much consideration.
They knew that fighters didn’t have alternatives and they treated a couple of them a bit better when they got to “Star” level but they always had both the carrot and the whip.
Back in 2008, the UFC demanded that all fighters sign over their likeness rights for the first UFC video game and other merchentise opportunities. According to an mmafighting.com article of the time, Jon Fitch disagreed so they cut him. There is a Dana White quote from Yahoo Sports in the same article thats telling:
“”We’re looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I’m just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it’s not even funny,” White told Yahoo! Sports. “Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren’t partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them.”
And he was right. Back then the competition was worst than the UFC in every possible way and they knew it and they acted on it. They had that advantage, which to be fair they had earned by being the first, the smartest and the most courageous promotion and it paid off at the end.
A couple of days later Fitch and the UFC reached an agreement.
And thats just one example that UFC treats fighters like employees or independent contractors depending on what suits the promotion each time.
They treated the big stars or fighters who were “company guys” or Dana’s friends differently, than the rest of them. Dana has admitted it a lot of times, more recently with Conor McGregor.
But even though fighters might have felt angry or disappointed, they couldnt really do much cause there were no alternatives. That was not the UFCs fault of course but they milked that advantage much more than they should have.
You see, now things have changed.
UFCs sparkle of being the home of the best is slowly rubbing off. Fighters are disillusioned with the idea of “being the best” and are having a much more professial approach to their careers.
Also, Dana White is wrong in making a comparison with Conor McGregor. I dont think that any of the fighters that are asking for money fights demand to make as much money as Conor McGregor does. They just want to be paid enough and to be treated better. They dont want to be making pennies well others are buying new cars every month. They dont want to be paid by Reebok a fraction of what they did before from their own sponsors while others get more money in exclusive deals.
And, they are not looking so much at Conors 20 million purse, they are looking at UFCs 4.2 billion purse more and more.
Now, they are also looking at other options too.
Horiguchi got a better deal at ONE FC than the one UFC offered him. Krylov did the same with Russian promotion Fight Nights. Cirkunov will probably get a better deal somewhere else. Rory did it with Bellator and Bader probably too. All these guys are top contenders and big talents that found more worth in other places.
But its not just “money”. In recent years the UFC has failed to promote new stars besides guys like Conor or Ronda who basicaly promote themselves. All you had to do is put Conor and Ronda in front of a mic and magic happened. I can honestly say that most of the promotion Conor or Ronda did was outside of UFCs efforts, through their social media and their outreach to different audiences.
Of course they needed the UFC too, cause they had to be succesfull there and be touted as “the best” in order to grow but if we are talking just about promotion, the way they put the right fighters infront of the right eyes, then the UFC is not doing such a good job.
They have failed to promote anyone who is not Conor or Ronda or Lesnar who was the same type. Dont forget that the UFC is the promoter, but it seems to me that it wants the fighters to do most of its job.
And in a way that’s what they are doing by asking for money fights. Whats the point of holding a belt or being touted as the best p4p if you are gonna be paid pennies?
Mighty Mouse said recently that he doesnt care if he is considered the best p4p unless the title comes with some big money bonus.
I bet that a lot of them are thinking : “If the belt it self is not as valuable today, i am not being paid enough and i m burdened with doing most of the promotion, why do i need the UFC? “
So they demand more things and what seems to be the most valuable thing today in the UFC?