Tito Ortiz Supports Idea of Union for Fighters
The words “Tito Ortiz” and “soft spoken” are rarely ever in a sentence together, and as you can guess (especially with a new fight just on the horizon) he has a lot to say to the media about the UFC and the sport.
Tito took time out this week to speak with Middle Easy about a wide range of topics, from the early UFC days to highlight moments in his career, but one of his strongest topics was about the need for a union among MMA professionals.
He began by paying the UFC a compliment on their insurance and quality of medical care, and the swiftness with which they react to fighters injuries. However, he asserts that the medical aspect was never and issue, and that for himself and a few other top fighters in the organization, it was all about one thing.
“They always went out of their way to help. All this really comes down to for me, Couture, Rampage, is contracts. It’s fighters making 2% of what they’re worth when they’re fighting. It’s all it comes down to – contracts. When someone is taking advantage of another, that’s going to happen. We go in there and fight for ten years, and make them 30-40 million dollars, and we make a million? What are we doing that boxers are doing different?”
One of his top examples was UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
“Look at Bones Jones. They probably made 40-50 million dollars on his last PPV locally. And by locally I mean United States. That doesn’t count Canada, Brazil, we’re not talking about Mexico or China or Japan. There are other countries that buy that PPV. They may have made $100 million, and Jonny Bones made $2 million? Maybe? What are we doing different that boxers are doing? There has to be a union. There has to be something where it says – you’re getting paid for being a main event, a co-main and everyone gets cut into the piece of the pie.”
Tito continued to emphasize that fighters are more than just fighters, that they are their own business, that they are a brand, and that usually, they aren’t in it just to fight. They are regular people that have families to care for and bills to pay, and that can’t be ignored or forgotten.
“This is a business as I continue to say, this is not strictly competition. Yes this is competition but it’s a business and we don’t fight for free. You don’t go out there and fight someone just because you want to be a fighter, you want to be the best competitor out there and make a million dollars and make a big payday. You gotta take care of your kids, you have to take care of your family and most of all you need to take care of yourself because the maximum life of a lot of these fighters is five or six years. For some of the better guys, ten years? The greats go longer. I’m lucky. Seventeen years. I take care of myself. But that window is only so big. What are they going to do when they can’t compete anymore? When the young guys come up and bounce them out? Look at Matt Lindland? How many people know who Matt Lindland is right now? At a time, he was one of the best. But he negotiated too high and was thrown to the wolves and were forgotten about.”
Ultimately, Tito spoke on everyone getting the pay that they deserve for the work that they’re doing, but he doesn’t think that the guys that aren’t willing to do the work to be a star should automatically receive star payment.
“If a union went down, the most recognizable would get the most money, but it would incentivize those guys to go out and do the PR, and do what it takes to get big.”
By Kenya Owens