UFC heavyweight Chris Daukaus doesn’t believe Francis Nagnnou’s efforts to increase fighter pay will result in bigger purses for all.
The seemingly never-ending fighter pay debate has divided opinion among the UFC’s biggest stars. On one side of the aisle, the likes of Ngannou, Jon Jones, and Paulo Costa have fiercely voiced their salary grievances. On the other side, Valentina Shevchenko, Kevin Holland, and Darren Till, among others, have publicly defended their employer’s remuneration practices.
Other than perennial Dana White agitator Jake Paul—who’s made inflaming the fighter pay debate his pet project in recent months—there’s been no more vocal critic of the UFC than Ngannou. The 35-year-old, who’s been locked in protracted contract negotiations with the UFC for some time, has publicly declared he “would not fight for $500,000 or $600,000 anymore.” Ngannou has also consistently argued for more equitable contract terms.
Under his present contract, Ngannou is precluded from fighting outside of the UFC and therefore can’t test the market for higher pay. The Cameroonian, it seems, is willing to remain inactive for 12 months so as to annul his contract, and thereafter pursue a big-money superfight with heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury. As it happens, Ngannou is set to have knee surgery, taking his willingness to be inactive out of his hands.
Chris Daukaus Explains Why He Thinks Fighter Pay Won’t Increase
The argument goes that if the UFC’s biggest stars continue to pressure the franchise for better pay, a trickle-down effect will see bigger purses for all. But in an exclusive interview with MMANews, Ngannou’s heavyweight peer Chris Daukaus explains why that theory is flawed. The 32-year-old says that arguments for better fighter pay fail to take into account simple market economics.
“No, no,” said Daukaus when asked if Ngannou speaking out will lead to better pay for all fighters. “Because, I mean, when they were all figuring out who was gonna fight for the heavyweight belt before, Jon Jones said he won’t fight Francis for anything less than $10 million, and then Derrick Lewis tweeted out like, ‘I’ll fight him for eight.’ That’s us fighters. If you won’t do something for $10, I’ll do it for $8 because I know I’m gonna get that opportunity.”
Daukaus is also skeptical of the figure Ngannou claims to receive from the UFC each fight but doesn’t fault the champ for desiring a bigger paycheck.
“Plus, let’s be real, Francis isn’t only making $600,000,” continued Daukaus. “He’s not. That’s just not the way it goes. He’s definitely getting paid a lot more than that. I think he wishes that he got paid more. Everyone wishes that they got paid more. That’s just natural.”
Personally, Daukaus says that he’s content with how he’s been treated by the UFC and notes that while it would be ideal for fighter pay to increase across the board, certain economic realities must be appreciated.
“I really don’t know what it’s going to take for us to get paid better,” said Daukaus. “I’m extremely happy with my pay scale, my everything, especially with the last two main events. I’m extremely happy with that. I mean, I don’t know what people want. I don’t know what fighters want. Does everyone want $1 million to fight? That’s just not the way it is. So I don’t know what the hell’s gonna happen with it.”
What do you think? Do you agree with Chris Daukaus’ take on fighter pay?