Thoughts on Cowboy Cerrone stepping in to face Ben Henderson
I decided that I wanted to say something about this after I realized that this will be his 6th fight is a 12 month span. The subject of fighter pay has been discussed at great lengths. Most people think that the fighters should be better compensated. I have always been on the side of they get paid pretty well for only working 1-3 times a year. I don't believe that their employer owes them for their preparation for the fight. Now don't get me wrong, if the fighter negotiated a better deal, then good for them, but it shouldn't be forced, in my opinion. On to my actual point, Donald Cerrone actually solves a whole lot of problems, including the one that I just mentioned.
If a fighter actually fought 4-6 times a year, even at the lowest pay level the UFC has, then they would all make a pretty decent salary. Let's say for instance, a guy fights 4 times in a year, goes 2-2, and gets no performance bonuses. That's pretty much the definition of mediocre, right? Add in that the guy is making the company minimum, and that's just about as bland as you can get. Well if that guy gets 8k a fight and gets 2 8k win bonuses, then he is making 48k a year, and I'm sure he'd probably get an occasional raise just for being a dependable guy that does well enough to stick in the company. 48k isn't a bad starting salary to be average. Now before anybody hits me with the "but there are a ton of hidden fees to be a UFC fighters", keep in mind that this is supposed to be the low end of what a guy can make.
Now let's take a guy that isn't exactly a main eventer, but has been around a bit. If he made 15k a fight, and went 3-2, he would be getting 75k base pay, and 45k in win bonuses that's over 100k even before any actual "of the night" bonuses. This theoretical guy isn't anywhere near the top of the pay scale, and he is making 6 figures. That's damn good money.
I think by this point everybody gets where I'm going with this. Guys that get paid a ton would be filthy rich if they fought several times a year, blah, blah, blah, so on, and so forth. My point on this is that it appears as though the money really is there if you are willing to work for it, and when I say work for it, I mean literally fill UFC TV/PPV time with you fighting another human person. I know injuries and other stuff can derail a guy from fighting 6 times a year, but it seems to me that that isn't always or even mostly the case. Many times I see a guy fight that hasn't fought in a long time, and I'll check and there won't be anything on him being injured. That guy can't really be mad that he didn't make much money, because he hasn't contributed much to the company. You gotta work to get paid.
Now on to my other point about Cowboy Cerrone. In my opinion, the guy has pretty much by himself set the LW division to stay interesting for a little while longer than it would have naturally been otherwise. He has willed his way into title contention about as fast as humanly possible. Some guys would sit out for 6-9 months just to hold their place in line. Cerrone will have fought 6 times in a year. Let those last two sentences sink in. If he wins, that will be a 6 fight streak, that is the kind of streak that most guys that are in title contention go on, but it takes them 2-3 years, if not more to do. As I have said, he pretty willed his way into title contention, which in turn, will give the division one more no brainer title fight before they have to get creative or pick between several guys with questionable resumés. A lot of the time when there is no clear cut contender, the UFC does the absolute stupidest thing possible, which is hold up the belt until a contender emerges. There is no need to do that when a guy gets 6 wins in a year. He has made himself a contender, he has made himself a star, and he might make himself a Champion by April (if he has his way).
I shit on the UFC a lot, but as a fan, I tend to often find myself wishing my favorite guys would fight far more often. I think more guys like Cerrone would lead to less stupid moves by the company (holding up titles, CM Punk, ect). That's something that would be great for the fans, the fighters, and the company. Everybody wins, maybe not 6 times in a year, but still.
Thank you for reading my rant.
Big Hairy American Winning Machine