Over the past month or so, the UFC has managed to host a number of extremely successful events as a few fight nights have held very exciting cards and recently both 249 and 250 have had some of the best main card fights in quite some time – given that no fans are able to attend these events there is a drop in revenue as gate figures will be set to zero, but this has somewhat been offset by betting which is always a huge part of combat sports. It had been reported by many operators that UFC 249 was the most bet event in the company’s history as a number of betting sites not on gamstop here report the larger figures, but the success in the company is now causing some issues – namely in fighters and the argument with pay.
The two biggest names leading the charge here are Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal – it first started when talks of a fight between Jones and Ngannou had been brought into question with Dana White stating that Jones was asking for far too much, for that ‘Deontay Wilder money’, quickly leading Jones to turn to Twitter with tweets suggested the UFC had been ripping him off for years and that younger fighters should get as much as possible whilst they can.
The next is with BMF champ Masvidal, as many were either hoping for a rematch against Diaz with the BMF title, or a matchup against welterweight champ Kamaru Usman – Masvidal also turned to Twitter to say that if he wasn’t valuable to the company then to release him, fueling more questions around fighter pay. As has been seen now too, this has led to Masvidal ultimately losing the title shot as Gilbert Burns will be stepping in to fight Usman at 251.
In a recent interview, Dana did state that fight pay was fair and still matched what they were being paid pre-COVID, which had been a point of pride for him. Ultimately these reports of fighters being underpaid are not new and have been in contention for a long time, but without competition it may be difficult to close the gap – and that has been the answer for many fighters, the hopes that a different organisation may grow big enough with the same calibre of athlete to challenge the UFC and to give fighters the negotiating ground to argue for more pay.
As it stands, there haven’t been any other big names really speaking up yet – there are some that seem happy with what they’re getting and others such as Sugar Sean saying they’ll stay where they are until the pay catches up – but given this is a consistent issue, it’s looking more likely that this is something that needs to be addressed, losing names like Jones and Masvidal may not be enough to cause issue for the company, but it does shallow the pool of some of the biggest stars, especially if they decide to fight elsewhere.
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