Former UFC middleweight title contender and current analyst Chael Sonnen defended the UFC and its president Dana White over fighter pay.
Fighter pay is a hot topic in the world of MMA today, as many fighters are looking for a bigger piece of the pie with the sport growing, and particularly with YouTubers such as Jake Paul showing how much money there really is out there. Paul has become a champion for fighter pay and was among those who donated to UFC women’s flyweight Sarah Alpar’s GoFundMe, which once again highlighted some of the issues with the UFC fighter pay.
Taking to his YouTube channel, Sonnen spoke about UFC fighter pay and defended the world’s leading MMA promotion and White over how much it pays its fighters. For example, Sonnen pointed out that the current minimum pay structure for a rookie in the UFC is $12,000 to show and $12,000 to win. However, Sonnen says that it was only in 2005 where he was fighting for the UFC on a $2000 to show and $2000 to win contract. For Sonnen, the fact that the minimum pay has gone up six times is proof pay is improving.
“The person who believes fighters were exploited and fighters weren’t paid enough is Dana. And they’re now trying to use the same argument that he brought forward and act as though he is doing something wrong. When I first fought in the UFC, the year was 2005. I was paid $2,000 to show and $2,000 to win. I could not believe how much money I had in my pocket when I got that check. $2,000 in 2005,” Sonnen said (h/t Bloody Elbow).
“The minimum pay right now is $12,000. The minimum now is six times as much. I will give two tickets to anybody who shows me any company in the world that is paying six times (more) right now than what it paid 15 years ago. If you can prove to me that they pay a minimum of six times what they paid a mere 15 years ago, I would get you two spectacular tickets to any UFC you would like to attend.”
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