Dana White Engages In Heated Debate On ESPN Over Fighter Pay

UFC president Dana White was grilled on fighter pay during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take.

Compensation for MMA fighters has been a hot topic for years. Many have pointed out that the top earners of the UFC don’t make anywhere near the amount of money top boxers make in base pay. White has argued over the years that fighters are paid significantly more in undisclosed pay. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal have recently challenged this claim.

Dana White & ESPN Personality Get Into Heated Debate

White appeared on ESPN’s First Take and got into a heated debate with former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth. The topic at hand was the fairness of UFC contracts and a potential reason for fighters to unionize. Here’s what was said (via MMAFighting).

“Does anybody feel like they make too much money?” White said. “Nobody does. If we were talking about a thing where these guys had old contracts from three years ago and it’s like ‘that was three years ago that I did this deal, let’s [renegotiate].’ They signed these less than a year ago. This was months ago.”

White went on to mention the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it’s had on businesses. The UFC boss said people don’t hear him complain about the lack of live gates. White also bragged about how the UFC is still doing business during uncertain times.

Foxworth countered by saying that White’s point doesn’t address whether or not the deals UFC fighters sign are fair.

“Saying that they just signed contracts doesn’t speak to the leverage that they have in negotiations,” Foxworth said. “Just because they signed contracts doesn’t necessarily mean the contracts are fair.

“I’m not informed enough to know whether contracts are fair or not, but I understand when there’s a track record of a number of athletes over a period of time having an issue with someone or a company, then that seems like a group that needs unionization in order to have the leverage to get the things that they want.”

Over the years, many have wondered if the Ali Act will ever be implemented in the UFC. Boxing promoter Bob Arum has predicted that if the Ali Act were introduced in MMA, Dana White would be out of a job because he wouldn’t be able to stand losing control. It’s the reason why many believe White has seemingly canceled plans for Zuffa Boxing.

Jon Jones has claimed the UFC has been ripping him off for years. “Bones” expressed his desire to move up to the heavyweight division if the UFC gave him a bump up in pay. White claimed that Jones demanded pay in the $30 million range. Jones denied this and called the UFC boss a liar. Some more heated words between the two led Jones to suggest vacating his light heavyweight gold and sitting at home until he’s given a satisfactory offer.

As for Jorge Masvidal, he was supposed to receive a welterweight title shot but negotiations broken down. “Gamebred” claimed that the UFC only offered him half the pay he earned for his last fight back in Nov. 2019. Masvidal also questioned the UFC’s revenue split for fighters when compared to other sports organizations.