When you woke up this morning to get your daily dose of MMA news, you probably didn’t expect to read “Kim Kardashian” anywhere in the headlines. And yet, here we are. After growing complaints about fighter pay, with fighters like Francis Ngannou and Paulo Costa comparing their salaries to the Paul brothers’, Dana White set the record straight on the difference between UFC fighters and the Youtubers. To get his point across, he presented an analogy using reality TV show icon and top social media influencer Kim Kardashian.
“There’s always gonna be a market for these kinds of fights,” White said in a TMZ Sports interview released Tuesday. “Imagine if Kim Kardashian wanted to fight Amanda Nunes. How big do you think that fight would be?
“And that’s the thing. I see a lot of these fighters crying, ‘Oh, this guy is making this much money and this guy’s making that much money.’ What do you think Kim Kardashian would make if she came in and fought Amanda Nunes? Probably more than anybody’s ever made ever. Stop talking about other people’s money. These kids started a fuckin’ YouTube channel when they were 12 years old. They built this up over years. This isn’t just (like) they did this overnight. They built this up over years and years, and they got in the gym, and they trained, and they did their thing, and they parlayed this into whatever it is now.”
White admits that he’s skeptical of the figures being presented by the Paul brothers for their recent events and even Floyd Mayweather’s claims specifically regarding his salary for the exhibition boxing bout over the weekend against Logan Paul. Nonetheless, White’s point remains that the Paul brothers, like Kim Kardashian, built up their brands over time on social media, and thus it’s an apples-to-oranges situation when comparing UFC salaries to celebrities like the Pauls.
On some level, there may be an “If we can’t beat them, join them” mentality among some UFC fighters, who might feel that if they can’t make the same money as boxers or even celebrity boxers, then they may as well attempt to enter that world to earn such figures in a one-off fight. Of course, as long as they are under contract with the UFC, they will need Uncle Dana’s blessing to do so, like the retired Ben Askren was granted to box Jake Paul in April.
Tyron Woodley, on the other hand, is a free agent. The first thing he did after hitting the market was successfully lobbying to fight Jake Paul in what his manager has claimed will be a multi-million-dollar deal. UFC legend Vitor Belfort also recently entered the world of celebrity boxing by agreeing to fight YouTuBer “The Real Tarzann” on June 19.
Indeed, there does appear to be a trend starting, and until MMA fighters can start Keeping Up With The Pauls, it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
What are your thoughts on Dana White’s “Kim Kardashian” argument? Is it valid?