Luke Rockhold is making his return to MMA after a brief retirement. He is making his way back to the UFC at a time when many of his peers are making their way to boxing. More and more we are seeing retired fighters taking on other retired fighters or celebrities in boxing matches. Rockhold has had his problems with the UFC in the past. Many of the problems stemmed from financial disagreements with the head of the organization. Instead of taking less than he thinks he is worth, he decided to walk away. He knows that MMA is not the most lucrative choice compared to boxing.
“Boxing is a much more lucrative business,” Rockhold said on The MMA Hour. “You get what’s called the Muhammad Ali Act. Then you have what’s called [purse bids] when you can bid to promote — the promoters can bid for the fighters. They’re not just monopolized by one company who dictates what you pay and what you get paid. So [boxers are] taking 60 to 80 percent of the revenue, whereas we’re taking 16 percent of the revenue [in the UFC]. Most other sports are taking 50 percent of the revenues.”
Many former UFC fighters have turned to boxing and with the right opponent, are making the biggest purses of their career. Despite this fact, Rockhold is making his way back to MMA instead of boxing at this time. It could be a pride thing, and Rockhold believes that he knows the reason, besides pay, that celebrities are choosing boxing over MMA.
“So if you want to balance all of that out, yes, there’s a balancing game in the fighting, why people choose different routes. Boxing is getting paid, so why would you fight a much more dangerous sport and not get paid as much? All these celebrity people, they’re not going to jeopardize themselves like that. They don’t want that. They don’t have that dog in them. They don’t have that nastiness. That’s why you box. That’s why you b*tch and you box.”
Rockhold has been advocating for improvements to fighter pay. He has encouraged other fighters to stand up to the UFC and demand what they deserve. Rockhold wouldn’t have come back if he didn’t receive what he was asking for, since he has been adamant about waiting it out. The thing that Rockhold has on his side that some other fighters don’t is outside fame, and income. He is a former champion and current model. He holds some bargaining chips over the UFC.