One of the biggest topics of 2022 has been that of UFC fighter pay. The debates surrounding this issue have been a common one for many years now.
However, this year has particularly been newsworthy after big names like Jon Jones, Francis Ngannou, and Jorge Masvidal have spoken out at length on the matter. YouTuber turned boxing superstar Jake Paul has perhaps been the most vocal combat sports figure to challenge White and the UFC on how their fighters are compensated.
UFC lightweight Michael Chandler has been among those who have spoken out in support of the UFC. Much like Kevin Holland and UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, Chandler has voiced his belief fighters are treated fairly in the promotion.
In an appearance on the “Bussin’ With The Boys” podcast recently, Chandler doubled down on his support for the UFC brass and has a theory for why so many people are critical of the promotion.
“The UFC gets a bad rap in a lot of ways because they are just the epitome of a phenomenal promotion. They are the #1 worldwide leader in mixed martial arts, not even close. #2 is not even in the same atmosphere,” Chandler said. “So therefore, there’s always people in life and in every vocation, people at the lower rungs want to look up and take shots at the people on the higher rungs instead of trying to climb to a higher rung. So it’s easy for people to sit at their lower rung and shoot shots at the UFC and say they should be doing this, they should be doing that, they should be paying people more, they should be taking care of their fighters more.
“I—and this is just my experience—I have been treated so well by the UFC. I have felt so much love from Dana White, Hunter Campbell, Sean Shelby, Mick Maynard, these guys at the very, very top, the guys who call all the shots and make all the decisions. And this is a huge, huge platform. The UFC is not your small fight promotion like some of these other fight promotions are.”
Chandler would then elaborate on his personal experience to counter the narrative that the UFC does not treat their fighters well overall. The top-5 lightweight expressed that this couldn’t be further from the truth based on his time in the promotion. Furthermore, the Missourian believes this misconception is in large part because the general public is unaware of all the good White and the company brass do for their fighters.
“And ‘They should be quote-unquote ‘paying fighters more’ and they should be doing all this other stuff.’ They’ve done nothing but take care of me,” Chandler said. “I’m banged up right now. They may as well be handing me a credit card and I could just swipe it at any medical place I want to right now to take care of all of my medical bills, to make sure I am taken care of. They’ve got insurance, and they have all these different things, these things that wouldn’t necessarily be covered under insurance. They’re like, ‘We’re gonna take care of it. We’re gonna take care of this; we’re gonna take care of that. That was the fight of the year, anything you need.’
“There’s been so many stories that I have heard about these guys making people millionaires because they are phenomenal fighters, and a lot of this stuff goes under the radar.
“A lot of this stuff flies under the radar. Dana White doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t want to throw around the numbers and throw around this. You barely ever hear him talk about it. But people under the UFC banner are extremely well taken care of.”
This year, Dana White has also addressed the issue of fighter pay more than the past in response to the heightened criticisms. One of White’s arguments echoes what Chandler said above, which is that the media and critics of the UFC are ignorant to how the promotion uses their money and just how much they help fighters.
White also used former strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk as an example of how much money a fighter can make and the lavish, liberated lifestyle someone could lead while contracted with the promotion.
What are your thoughts on Michael Chandler’s comments defending the UFC’s treatment of their fighters?