The topic of fighter pay goes through fluctuating waves of being among the most discussed topics in the sport at any given moment or being a somewhat dormant issue waiting for someone or something to shine a light on the subject once more. If the right person brings attention to the topic, it can stir up some hot takes and debates for months on end.
YouTuber turned boxer Jake Paul has proven to be the right person, as his criticism of Dana White and the UFC’s fighter pay rates now has the mainstream media broaching the subject. At least that’s what happened when Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel and UFC President Dana White appeared on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street this week.
“Yeah, that’s been going on for 20 years, too, and it’ll be going on for the next 20 years,” White said about fighter-pay complaints. “I don’t think you’re ever gonna see a scenario where you see a fighter or anybody for that matter saying they’re overpaid. And you’re always gonna have a certain level of guys that feel like they’re being paid enough. You don’t hear guys that actually bring in the revenue complaining about pay like a Conor McGregor.”
There are some recent examples that debunk this claim from Dana White. Jorge Masvidal has been vocal on the issue of fighter pay as someone who headlined two of the biggest pay-per-views of the last few years in UFC 244 (2019) and again at UFC 251 (2020). And of course, one of the biggest names in UFC history, Jon Jones, has been in a highly publicized dispute with the UFC regarding this exact subject.
Oddly, instead of mentioning either of these names or any other major figure in MMA, the host opted to go with the UFC’s very own Jake Paul! Of course, White has made it clear where he stands on doing business with Paul, so the UFC boss had to give the interviewer a stern correction while also alleging that he rejected Paul’s offer to sign with the promotion.
“Hey, that bum didn’t fight for me! You gotta get your story straight!” White said to the interviewer. “He didn’t fight for me. He’s out there complaining about fighter pay, he wanted to sign with us. I wouldn’t sign him.”
It’s unclear if White is alleging that Paul wanted to sign with the UFC as an actual MMA fighter or if he wanted to sign a deal to cross-promote with them.
The segment concluded with Ari Emanuel stating that the UFC’s fighter pay is up 600% since 2005. He then one-upped the CNBC host’s Jake Paul blunder by falsely claiming Dana White created the sport of MMA.
You can check out the full segment below if you dare.