MMA News

Thursday, 08/30/2012, 11:38 am

Dong Hyun Kim Discusses UFC Policies On Fighter Pay, Sponsorships And Why Korean Fighters Are At A Disadvtange | UFC NEWS

“It’s ultimately very hard to be a UFC fighter. If you go to America, there are a lot of fighters who are barely eeking by financially. I see some fighters who have fights a few days away doing personal training. A lot of that has to with the UFC being too stingy about sponsorships. Also because of UFC’s policies it is really hard to get sponsors for a lot of fighters… If you pay off the training camp and your coaches you honestly don’t have much left. Ultimately, you only have one maybe two opportunities to make it big. In mma anyone can lose and when you do lose you go instantly to the back of the line. Look at Rick Story… And no matter how “fair” the UFC is, the Asian fighters especially Korean fighters are automatically at a disadvantage. Even right before my fight with Demian my airplane ticket cost after getting discounts, was 1,100 dollars(Not to add in me paying for my teammates and coaches to accompany me). And on top of that, it is ludicrously expensive to get ready to train and get a training camp in the US before your fights… I am not saying this out of complaint for myself, because compared to my peers I am doing fine financially, but for other Asian fighters it is completely unfair. Because I am older than my peers and because this is the path my fellow Korean fighters are going to take, I am going to say what has to be said. I really took to heart what Bibiano Fernandes said about why he decided to not join the UFC.”

In a recent interview with, Korean welterweight standout Dong Hyun Kim puts the UFC on blast for some of their policies regarding pay and the difficulties that poses to fighters who need monetary support to train.

Is he asking for trouble with ZUFFA by speaking out or will these outspoken proclamations help to change the face of fighter pay?


36 Responses to “Dong Hyun Kim Discusses UFC Policies On Fighter Pay, Sponsorships And Why Korean Fighters Are At A Disadvtange | UFC NEWS”

  1. Me says:

    It is sad that fighters have to pay for there own plane tickets, I would of thought that the UFC would have the decency to pay for there tickets. That being said I believe some fighters need to let go off their ego and admit that they are not the best fighter and they won’t be making Anderson Silva money any time soon, So they should prepare themself financially by getting a part time job either coaching or having a day job.

    • Brendo says:

      You do make a good point, but the fact still remains that most of the fighters are lucky to walk away from the fight with $10K. For months of training and expenses, that isn’t exactly a great pay day.

      • Me says:

        The solution to that is to fight regularly. Lower ranked guys can get away with not having a full training camps look at guys like Weidman, Lavar Johnson, Brian Ebersole etc. The guys that fight regularly also get there paydays quite regularly they also get there name out there.

    • Larry says:

      I agree that the fighters should not have to pay for their plane tickets, nor should they pay for the ticket for their primary corner man.

      That being said, Dana is right that more fighters in the UFC actually make money compared to boxers for fighting; however, the UFC is fucking horrendous to fighters regarding sponsorship. If a sponsor wants to back a fighter they have to pay a huge sum to the UFC as well, which almost makes it impossible for a figher to eek out a living while training.

      If they keep this up, another promotion backed by someone with big money will crop up and swallow the UFC and it’s fighters.

      • Me says:

        Oh wow I never knew fighters sponsors have to pay the UFC. That’s horrible. We all know the UFC don’t need that extra money and the fighters will gain much more benefit from having that money.

      • Dee says:

        Also that’s propaganda by Dana to make himself look good. These UFC guys do not make nearly as much money as boxers do. The guys on HBO, and SHOWTIME make way more than guys like Silva, or GSP. ESPN fighters make way more than UFC fighters. I know professional boxers he fight in casinos and small shows that nobody has ever heard of who walk out with 10,000. As a boxer you can fight anywhere in the world and make money. Boxing is huge in Europe. In the beginning you wont be making money that’s for sure, but I have seen guys with 10 fights in hole in the wall locations make just as much as guy on main cards in the UFC. Look at the purse for guys who fought on the Mayweather vs Cotto card. You’ll be surprise what they make compared to UFC fighters. Also FOX pays their fighters decent too not millions, but more than what the UFC pays. I can name several boxing millionaires that are actively fighting, how many MMA fighters can you name?

    • Dee says:

      I think you need to let go your ego together and work two jobs. One job where you are exhausting yourself and the other where you are getting your brains beat out of you. Get the crap beat out of you for 6 or 10 weeks of training and 3 rounds of a fight and let me give you 5,000 grand while I make a profit off of you. Tell your family I’m sorry I can’t feed you this month because I’m not as good as Anderson Silva, but I put on a heck of a fight for the fans and contributed to Dana’s new jet. And Anderson Silva makes money after years of not making crap, but let me tell you he doesn’t make as much as you think. If he did he would have retired by now, but he makes what the boxer makes now. Not Floyd or Manny, but more like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Money.

  2. Pete says:

    When you see what the UFC turn over profits wise the pay the fighters get is an outrage. Some fighters getting 10k fight and then a 10k win bonus and that’s a pitiful amount considering it’s not possible for a fighter to fight more than once every few months and most top fighters can’t even do that with injuries and all that jazz and all the costs on top. Not to mention they have Nazi style rules over sponsorships which is where most fighters earn their main pay.

    The UFC need to seriously start paying more or for some fighters it will not be worth joining the UFC at all.

  3. mmaunconscious says:

    He is a black belt in judo(4thdegree), he has his own school and training center. He makes more money than more well name fighters. The business expense of a plain ticket is a tax write off. All of his training expenses are. So don’t complain too much.

    • joshuah says:

      U dun readed dat all good.

      He said he is doing fine financially he is not speaking up for his own gains, hes speaking up for the other Asian fighters that aren’t walkin away w/ fat stacks.

      I clicked the link to say some sarcastic comment about how smart it is to talk shit about ur bosses, Guy is 100% right. Lots of guys complain, but none of those guys r as big of a name as Kim good 2 see him sack up.

      1 of the many reasons I hate the UFC they make more $ off the sponsors of a fighter than they pay the fuckin fighters when they bought SF & implemented the sponsorship fee Conner burn said he immediately lost 30 grand because his sponsors couldn’t afford it. This is y we see 2 or 3 sponsors overload a card cuz they pay 1 sponsorship fee & have 2 work the system RIDICULOUS

    • Vincent says:

      mmaunconscious, he is not complaining, he is talking for all fighters when he discusses how the UFC is an unprofessional company that rips off their employees.

    • Michael says:

      “The business expense of a plain [sic] ticket is a tax write off. All of his training expenses are.”

      From my reading of this comment, I can only come to a few contrasting conclusions: (1) You are an expert of South Korean tax law. (2) You forgot that Kim is a citizen of South Korea and not the United States. (3) You think that all countries pretty much have the same legal systems, tax law included. (4) You have an amazing command of the English language demonstrated by your impeccable grammar and correct spelling of the word plane. Which one is it?

  4. razz says:

    kim would beat anderson silva if they ever fought, and he’d win by dongbar!

  5. TheMan123 says:

    The fact of the matter is that the up and comers need to fight in more local organizations before coming to the UFC if they can’t afford it. Of course the weaker/newer fighters will get less pay. This is how it is in any sport. The headline fighters make tons of money. They don’t make boxing money but they make a lot.

    Its unfortunate but guys gotta pay their dues and they’ll get paid more if they’re winners and people want to watch them. It’s a sport but also a spectacle and you need to be able to sell fights to make the big bucks.

    • Dee says:

      True. The problem isn’t that people have to pay their dues. The problem comes when the UFC are buying out other organizations and controlling the market. Making it hard for fighters to work with management teams, receive sponsorships, fight in other promotions. A lot of top guys are making little money as well. These guys are making it only by their sponsorships. Take away that and they’ll have nothing. The UFC buy out these other organizations and give these fighters less fights. Remember Joe Stevenson. He had to go to a doctor and Mexico to get his elbow taking care of.

  6. True but first time fighters only make $4,000 win or lose. Gets doubled after a win but we know that is not a sure thing. The only thing you can hope for is a fight night bonus. Truly sad.

  7. check123 says:

    i agree 1000% with Kim. The ufc doesnt pay fighters worth the shit and look how much zuffa makes. its ridiculous and very sad, i wouldnt be suprised if fighters went on strike in the future, they put everything they have into this sport and only get a very small amount back, shit at least pay the air ticket and the sponorship rule is just crazy, thats robbing a fighter of money that they need and you pay them dog shit, imo the undercard fighters should start with pay of 25,000 or more, nothing less. but this is my opinion, it doesnt matter

  8. m says:

    If you dont like getting paid shit to fight….find another job.

    The UFC will only make you rich if you are an elite fighter…..and this vagina tapped out from a takedown.

    • Dee says:

      “If you dont like getting paid shit to fight….find another job.

      The UFC will only make you rich if you are an elite fighter…..and this vagina tapped out from a takedown.”

      Finding another job isn’t the problem. People are saying they’re tired of being taken advantage of. It’s easy for you to say that because you are enjoying the benefits of what someone else fought for years ago. People years ago fought for industry regulations, minimum wage, and equal treatment. They stopped big businesses from exploiting their workers. By someone else speaking up many people today are able to enjoy higher salaries, compensations, benefits, etc. So don’t get mad at him because he’s voicing his God given right of an opinion in defense for other people who are being taken advantage of.

  9. Bossman says:

    I think part of the problem is ALOT of ppl that were just doing this(martial arts) for fun or in local competitons are now dreaming of greener pastures and are cramming into MMA as a career. Everyone wants to be paid to do what they lvoe,but the fact of the matter is they know beforehand that there is little sponsorship unless you are a proven fighter and can bring somethin to the table to the organization. It’s the same with any sport,although there are admittedly alot more players in the NFL/NBA because you have teams and farm teams and so on and so forth. Maybe they need to go back to being local fighter and stop trying to expect the organization to support everyone who has a dream.

  10. Larry says:

    More UFC fighters get paydays compared to boxers, Dana is right about that; however, the bigger issue, and I believe it was mentioned earlier in the thread, is that the UFC denies fighters sponsors because they require a huge fee from the sponsor to go on the shorts or banner of a fighter.

    If they don’t stop that pracice, another promotion will eventually come along that they can’t buy and fighters will gravitate there. Fighters deserve to be sponsored by whomever will pay them. I understand the reason that the UFC did this, remember Condom Depo anyone, but fighters deserve to get what they can. All other sports allow sponsorship of their athletes.

    • B-rad says:

      You are so wrong if you think most UFC fighters make more money than most boxers… Boxers make fucking bank! Look at any middle ranked fighter in a weight class and they probably pull down more than some of the top guys in the UFC.. Pacman makes astronomical money when he fights. In the fight before he fought Bradley, he made somethin like 45 million.. that is a payday right there lol

      • Dee says:

        I agree. Dana is telling a huge lie. Up and coming fighters like Broner, Gamboa, Rigondeaux, Josito Lopez, Brandon Rios, Chris Arreola, Abeko and ton of more make way more than UFC fighters.

        Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward made $500K a piece for their fights. They would have made $175K in the UFC.

        There also other fighters like Jab Juda, Maidana, Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan, Andre Ward, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch who aren’t even Pay Per View draws that make way more than your biggest names in boxing.

        Shall I go on.

  11. b-rad says:

    Compared to the average 9 to 5 worker they make good money.. But k1 fighters, and boxers make a lot more money than UFC fighters.. thers just not as many sponsers as mma

    • Dee says:

      That’s not true at all. compared to the average 9-5 they make nothing. These guys are in high risk jobs getting injured constantly. They’re bound to a contract which keeps them from doing a whole lot. They live with the fear of being cut and they don’t work as often. They also do not get any benefits. Imagine working 10 weeks in camp and find out that you’ve been slated. You still have to pay for gym, coaches, sparring partners. There are mma sponsors, but the UFC makes it hard for guys to go out there and make extra cash. Plus there is not 401k plan. A fighter can make as much as 25k IN one year and still be obligated to taxes and everything else. They can make 100K one year and 4 the next.

  12. quit bitching says:

    What’s all this bitching about, getting old….does anyone in the world not think they should get paid more for what they do? I was making a few hundred bucks every 15 days in the Marine Corps giving people their freedom, along side a couple hundred thousand others, I’ve never worked harder or longer in my life or made less. Most elite military force the world has to offer and most of us make less then the person flipping fries at mcdonalds. How about shut your mouth and figure out a way to make more if you want to make more money. There’s millions of people training mma, any lop in the ufc could run a gym anywhere in the world and train daily while making money. Deal with it and live your life.

    • Dee says:

      You should quit your bitching. I’m in the military and the truth is the military make money. So stop your bitching. Also you the idea that anywhere can run a gym is as dumb as saying anyone can join the military and go off to war. You joined the military to make money. Let me give you pay for an E3 INSTEAD of an E6 or an E7 (WHATEVER IS YOUR RANK) and lower your BAH because you’re in IRAQ, BECAUSE you’re not actually staying in the states and let’s see how long you fight for America’s freedom. Let’s be real here. Right is right and wrong is still wrong. I’m for the troops making all they are worth as well as these fighters.

    • Pau Murray says:

      What you are forgetting and no disrespect to the Marines (I was a Navy EOD Diver) but, how many people can fight in the UFC. Not many. You joined the Marines and you knew you would make low pay. The UFC dudes get hurt and can’t fight and they don’t get paid. You get paid more money by how replaceable you are. Marines are replaceable, school teachers are replaceable, hence the low pay. Elite UFC fighters are very rare and should be paid more. When you were a Marine you had free health care. UFC Fighters don’t have that. So, thank you for your service, but you are way off that UFC Fighters are bitching. They deserve every penny they get and should get even more!

  13. Rick James Bioch says:

    Bottom line is if the fighters are smart they would form a union and have a collective bargain agreement that states a certain amount of revenue goes to the fighters on a PPV and certain amount is guaranteed to a fighter for a fight regardless of tenure… Do this and the sport grows immensely. UFC at first won’t like it because it will cut into their profits at first but over all it grow the sport such as football.

  14. Jonas says:

    How about you MOVE?! I cant take a job in Japan and ask my company to move my ass freely, jeez.

  15. Dee says:

    It’s disgusting. Dana has made this big huge campaign about how he’s better than Boxing yet these fighters aren’t even eating. I hear this occurring so often in the UFC. Fighters shouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal should come from while preparing or a fight. Dana has recently commented on how he doesn’t agree with sponsorship, management, or sports agents. This is him trying to control the industry and keep fighters oppressed. He doesn’t want them to gain too much of a leverage.

  16. gugu says:

    I congratulated you DON HYUN KIM.First and foremost is quiet awesome that we have fans that really know what Dana GREEDY White is doing,making huge profits for himself and his croonies.What really is amazing is when he incourages the fighters into basically killing themselves as he does for his reality show.I say Dana should put on the gloves and go get hit in the face a couple off times and see how it is,then collect the lousy paycheck,pay his taxes then his first bill will be the hospital visit then his coaches,training partners,the fare bill,the hotel bill,food bill,now lets see how much he has for himself and if he has a family cause he needs a roof over his head,dummed people have no idea how expensive it is to be a elite fighter,but yet when a PROFESSIONAL mma fighter cause remember thats what they are PROFESSIONALS when they speak out they are villainize in the media by DANA’S people ala THE DIAZ BROTHERS specially Nick they will get less opportunity’s also look what happen to JONES he wanted to give the champ less money to have a fight with Chael and JONES didnt go for it he stop the show cause he is not dummed he is a professional fighter and he takes his craft seriously hate him or love him he did what was right for himself not for DANA’S profits on that night,so DANA when straight to the media and villainize him,it was all about money and time but some fighters know that what JONES did will help them in the future,another scheme DANA is doing is going down to BRAZIL and getting fighters which they are so poor they will fight for basically food and clothing at first so theres huge profits on the Brazilian fighters.DANA is a very smart but evil human being,much can be said about how these fighters are being taking advantage.The majority are not educated in the finacial scheme off things but little by little fighters will learn and soon fans will speak out as well cause basically without elite fighters the show wont go on…UNION.

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