UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko has shown her support for the UFC over the fighter pay debate, suggesting that fighters get paid “what they deserve.”
Shevchenko was in action for the second time this year at UFC 266 last weekend. Against Lauren Murphy, the 125-pound queen looked to go top of the list for most title defenses among active UFC champions with her sixth successful retention. With a level of dominance we’ve come to associate with “Bullet,” she did just that.
Having comfortably controlled a fairly lackluster opening three rounds, Shevchenko turned the heat up in the penultimate frame. Unleashing her weapons on “Lucky,” the 33-year-old finished the challenger with punches and elbows on the ground. With yet another masterclass in the books, Shevchenko’s place at the flyweight mountaintop looks untouchable.
With a lengthy spell holding championship gold and dominant performance after dominant performance, Shevchenko is inevitably at the point where she receives a handsome salary every time she enters the Octagon. However, recent times have suggested she’s one of few who’s content with her pay in the UFC.
After Jon Jones took to social media to slam Dana White and the UFC for not meeting his demands for a heavyweight title clash against Francis Ngannou, a number of active and former fighters have joined the movement for better fighter pay.
Shevchenko on Fighter Pay
Speaking with MMA News’ own James Lynch following her latest title defense, Shevchenko gave her take on the prominent debate. According to “Bullet,” high boxing purses have created a delusion surrounding the sport’s remuneration, something which has made members of the UFC roster seek higher pay.
“You know, (those who say) that it’s not fair or something like that (are) people who didn’t fight in different promotions. They don’t know what’s happening, people in the world. People didn’t know how other promotions treat their fighters. So if you don’t know, yeah, you are hearing all these crazy numbers: Boxers, they are receiving like millions and millions of dollars. And they’re like, ‘Right here, I’m not receiving millions and millions of dollars!’
“And if you think about boxers, how many of them (are receiving that)? One, two person maybe? And the rest? What you think? The rest of the fighters receiving thousands? No. And even poor boxers, for example, when they are starting, they have to sell their own tickets to get their own purse for the fight. You imagine what a person has to do. This is insane. This is crazy. This is what has to be judged.”
Joining the likes of Kevin Holland and Travis Browne, the Kyrgyzstani star showed her support for the UFC, claiming the promotion treats all its fighters well in every aspect of a fight, from medical care to travel arrangements. Shevchenko told MMA News that every athlete gets given the money they deserve.
“And I think everyone (is) getting paid what they deserve…they just say (that) because they don’t know what people getting fighting in other promotions.”
“And if you’re speaking about UFC, UFC treat all their fighters super good. And I’m speaking not about money. I’m speaking about everything: the medical care; how the crew, the team during the fight treats everyone; accommodations, trying to do it the nicest way; transportation; they’re responsible about everything. If you ask something, they will try to help you. They (don’t say), ‘Oh, are you in prelims? No, I’m not gonna do anything for you.’ No, they don’t do it. They just treat everyone the same. Everyone trying to help and trying to do (what’s) best for the fighters.
What’s next for the Bullet Ballerina?
Having now brushed aside the challenges of Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, Jéssica Andrade, and Murphy, Shevchenko has cleared out much of the women’s flyweight division. Many have suggested now is the time for “Bullet” to complete her trilogy with bantamweight and featherweight champ Amanda Nunes.
The pair first fought at UFC 196, where the “Lioness” comfortably secured a unanimous decision victory. A year-and-a-half later, Shevchenko challenged the Brazilian for the 135-pound gold. The competitive clash saw Nunes emerge victorious again, much to the dismay of the Kyrgyzstani, who believed she did enough to have her hand raised.
If Nunes can successfully defend her title against Julianna Peña at UFC 269 in December, we may well see the two great champions collide for the third time. According to UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, their trilogy clash should be a 130-pound catchweight bout for the female ‘BMF’ belt.
What do you make of Valentina Shevchenko’s comments on fighter pay? Do you agree with the UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion?