Sunday, August 14, 2022

Adesanya Encourages Fighters To Come Together For Pay Improvements

UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya thinks fighters need to unionize to be better compensated for their efforts.

Adesanya is set to face Jared Cannonier in the UFC 276 headliner this Saturday night. He’s emerged as one of the biggest stars in the sport with recent wins over Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori.

Adesanya is also paid handsomely for his performances in the cage. He recently signed a new multi-fight deal with the UFC which is said to be one of the most lucrative deals in the promotion’s history.

But Adesanya was in rough financial shape before he made his UFC debut back in 2018. During his time competing in Glory Kickboxing, he struggled to make ends meet before his recent successes in the Octagon.

Adesanya has been a strong advocate of fighters who speak out in favor of better fighter pay, including heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.

Adesanya: Patience & Unity Needed For Fighter Pay Change

Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman
Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman

During his UFC 276 pre-fight media day, Adesanya explained how the fighter pay issue can be addressed constructively.

“It takes time,” Adesanya said. “You know, with Francis — also, you have to look at it this way: fighters are like strippers. We’re independent contractors. So, everyone’s out for themselves. But there comes a point when we need to come together as fighters in the UFC and make an agreement like, ‘What can we do to help the baseline for the younger guys who just got into the UFC?’

“This is a prestigious position, to be a UFC fighter. It can’t just be — I don’t live in America, so (don’t know) if it’s the same with NBA, NFL. The drafts, it’s a big deal, right?” Adesanya continued. “I feel like that’s how the UFC is. You make it to the UFC, it’s a f*cking big deal. So, we need to get paid like it’s a f*cking big deal. I’m getting paid, a few of us are getting paid, but I’m talking about the guys who are just getting to the UFC.”

Adesanya is far from the only current or former UFC fighter to make similar comments. Former UFC champion Jose Aldo and welterweight Jorge Masvidal are a few of the athletes who have called for fighters to unionize in recent years.

The conversation involving fighter pay has ramped up in recent years. With athletes like Adesanya and Ngannou leading the way, we could potentially see a fighter union happen sooner rather than later to help fighters get more benefits.

Do you agree with Israel Adesanya’s comments on fighter pay?

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