During the most recent edition of Jon Anik and Kenny Florian’s podcast, the two were asked about the revenue split between fighters and owners in the UFC as compared to the revenue split that athletes get in the NFL, NBA and NHL. This led to a spirited debate between Anik, Florian and their guest, Brendan Schaub, about the revenue split in the UFC.
Florian: I want to see fighters get paid more, obviously. There’s one thing that is being overlooked though. There’s what’s shown on the books, and there’s a lot of bonuses. It’s a lot of money and no one knows about it. That’s one thing. Some fighters want it that way, because they don’t want people knowing how much they make.
With a guy like Rory MacDonald… I can guarantee you that he was happy after that fight.
Anik: There’s a good chance they cut Rory MacDonald a check for half a million dollars. There’s 1 or 2 points I also want to make before we bring in B. Schaub. The percent of money that goes to the fighters, I believe it’s higher than 25%. Maybe it’s 30%, maybe it’s 35%. But one thing that people fail to sort of inject to the conversation is that Zuffa got this company out of bankruptcy not that long ago.
It was in 2001. There has been a build up to this point is in time. Now (they’re doing) 45 shows, they have 600 fighters. You have to look at where this sport is, relative to it’s own history, and relative of the century long histories of these other sports… I do think we are moving into the right direction…
Schaub: First of all! It’s sure the fuck not 25%! The last numbers I got was 7%! 7 percent, Anik! …Good god, man. Don’t get me wrong, there are undisclosed discretionary bonuses. But imagine if your work never really paid you really well and then one time they give you a $100,000 bonus, and then the next time they gave you $3000. There’s just no stability. You can’t do that.
Guess how many undisclosed discretionary bonuses are in the NFL. Guess how many are in the NBA. Guess how many in the NHL. It’s very black and white. There’s incentives.
I get it. They’re still in that growing stage, so I don’t fault Dana White or the UFC for it. I don’t know if I would run it any different, but there has to be a conversation, that’s it. Who knows what they deal with? We don’t.
Anik: I know there were some internal conversations recently about that topic, and about that percentage. Rest assured that Lorenzo Fertitta and the others… by large want to do good by the fighters. This whole notion that there’s this greed going on, it’s not the case… There’s really not an appreciation for the whole operation, and the machine, and the costs involved, and moving into new territories, and the money they’ve spent on New York City to try and get that done.
Schaub: You know what Jon, and I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I just don’t care. I’m the one dealing with the head trauma. I’m the one dealing with the injuries. I’m with the one that has an average career one and a half years with the UFC. By the time they get that going, for everyone fighting right now, it’s not going to matter to us.