UFC commentator Joe Rogan has shared his thoughts on the fighter pay debate that is currently raging inside the MMA bubble.
Over the last few weeks, multiple UFC stars including Henry Cejudo, Sean O’Malley, Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal have publicly criticized the UFC over the amount of money they’re making as professional fighters. This has prompted UFC President Dana White to go on the defensive.
Now, Rogan has weighed in. He seems to think the UFC’s unwillingness to pay the fighters in question more likely has something to do with the financial strains of operating during the coronavirus pandemic, when ticket revenue is non existent.
“Right now in particular, there is probably less money because there is no live gate, and that’s an extreme amount of money,” Rogan said on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast (via MMA Fighting). “But there’s also fighters that agree to certain deals. They agree to like, an 8-fight deal at X amount per fight, and then they become more popular and then they want to renegotiate their deal, and the UFC is like, ‘Look, we’re just trying to stay open. We’re not going to renegotiate anything. You can take it or you can leave it, but this is what it is.’ I think it’s a matter of that.
“Looking at it from the fighters’ perspective, fighters would certainly be better off if there was more competition,’ Rogan added. “That’s always how it works. So whether it’s Bellator or ONE FC or all these different companies, the more of those there are, the more World Series of Fighting, Professional Fighting League, whatever the f*ck it’s called now, the more those rise, the better it is for everyone.
“It’s not a monopoly in that you do have choices, but there’s one clear, top of the food chain choice. But it’s because they do it the best,” Rogan continued. “They’re also the only ones that are having fights during this quarantine. The only people that are putting on any live sporting events, but they’re also part of a company in WME that’s hurting, really, really bad. So there’s not a lot of money to throw around. To keep the doors open, to keep people employed, a lot of money is missing. All these shows got cancelled, there’s all these audience members that aren’t gonna be there, that aren’t buying tickets, so it’s tricky. So this is why I think they’re complaining about fighter pay.”
While Rogan makes some interesting points, his theory that this has anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic ignores the fact that most UFC fighters have been paid poorly since long before the pandemic began. Complaints about fighter pay, after all, are nothing new.
Countless fighters such as Mark Hunt, Cris Cyborg, Al Iaquinta, Kajan Johnson, and Leslie Smith have shared their issues with fighter pay over the years. Multiple fighters are now involved in an anti-trust law suit with the UFC, a central component of which are issues surrounding fighter pay.
Whatever the case, Joe Rogan does believe fighters deserve to be paid more.
“I think they should get paid more. I think everybody should get paid more,” Rogan said. “I think it’s a crazy way to make a living. I think you should get the most amount of money you can possibly get. But it’s also a business and I think that if they are struggling as much as I think they are – I don’t talk finances with them but I know that WME, the people who own it, are hurting, bad. They’re laying people off. Most businesses are hurting and all the entertainment businesses are f*cked. . . So what do they do? That’s what I think. But when it comes to me as a human that likes fighting, I know f*cking dangerous that sh*t is. You should get paid an incredibly generous amount of money to step into a cage fight for millions of people to see. “
What do you think of these comments from Joe Rogan?