Bas Rutten has been around the fight game for a long time. From his MMA debut in 1993 through winning the UFC championship, and his eventual retirement in 2006, Rutten has seen it all.
Now, with his position on Inside MMA, Rutten will likely have to analyze the impending UFC lawsuit. While he hasn’t had a chance to go over it in detail yet, Bas held firm in his advocacy for fighters, and why they deserve to get paid more.
“It’s hard. I don’t know the depth of the whole lawsuit and I didn’t go into it yet – and I have to go into it because of Inside MMA. I’m going to probably have to talk about it somewhere in the New Year – but you know everybody always wants more money. The top guys, they get well paid. They have a good manager, they get a cut of the Pay Per View, and then it’s up to you. If you can sell a fight and you’re gonna have a lot of Pay Per View buys, then you’re going to make more money. Sometimes the lighter weights, they’re complaining and they say “yeah some lightweights, they simply don’t pull in the Pay Per View numbers”. You know, if they pull in 200,000 pay per view numbers, compared to a [Daniel] Cormier and [Jon] Jones – they’re going to probably go over a million in January because of the whole thing that happened before. You see, those guys are making money, and the other guys are making less now. And I’m not going to say you’re going to have to attack your opponent at the weigh-ins and all that stuff, but I say that you have to sell the fight. You have to start doing something that people are going to be interested to watch that fight; to say “oh my god these guys have bad blood” or whatever. Whatever angle you can find, and hopefully it’s a real angle like a Jones and Cormier. Then people will tune in. So it kind of depends on the fighters. And if they don’t pull it in, then that’s too bad. Then hopefully the money is going to raise the basic money. But I believe they all have about – I don’t know what it is. I think it’s about 250,000 dollars it’s basic money, and some maybe 500,000 like a Jones. I think, I never looked into that – But everyone really makes their money with the pay per view buys.”
“Do fighters get underpaid? Of course. I always say that. And I will always say that until everybody starts to make really good money. Because there are still fighters they simple can’t live from the money that they make. And then they need to fight at least four times a year, which is also not going to happen, you know? So if you only have like two fights and you’re a beginning fighter, and you only make like 10,000 and 10,000 or something even less. Well good luck with that. If it’s 40,000 dollars a year; I don’t know if people know what training costs, and getting good people in, and paying your management, and paying your trainer. Boom. That’s 20 percent gone right there. So now it’s only 32,000 from 40,000 dollars. Oh well the taxes are going to come. Ok you can write some things off, but you can’t live on that. So most of the time that money [to live off] comes also from sponsors. You know the sponsor deal actually from Reebook that’s coming up, that sounds really promising to me; you know 70 million. All that money is gonna be spread out amongst the fighters. Of course some fighters get more because they’re more popular. They have this popularity scale, I don’t know how to call it any different. And that’s how they’re going to see, ‘this guy gets so much, that guy gets so much’. But it’s a lot of money 70 million dollars. And spread out over – I don’t know how many fighters they have. 700 or something? – it’s still a lot of money.”