Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Brendan Schaub believes fighters have lost leverage.
Schaub has expressed his belief that the UFC’s deal with ESPN has made it so that the promotion no longer has to cater to the desires of a fighter. Schaub has gone as far to say that the UFC’s “pay-per-view star model” is over. He has also criticized the UFC’s exclusive PPV deal on ESPN+.
Schaub Says UFC Fighters No Longer Have Leverage
On the latest edition of his “Below The Belt” podcast on Showtime, Schaub explained why the UFC no longer needs massive stars (via BJPenn.com):
“We heard Brock Lesnar turned down the deal. Conor… we haven’t heard anything from him. The UFC is content just being in cruise control because they have this reliable nut from ESPN. They’re set there, so they’re not willing to be bend over backwards to get a guy like Brock Lesnar anymore. They don’t need it. They don’t have to give Conor McGregor half the company to come back.
“Everyone wins, but the fighters are so f**ked because it’s such a limited viewership now. So your sponsors are less — if you even had any. Your notoriety, your fame, your social media following, your YouTube channel to sell merch… The day and age of a superstar in the UFC is gone, gone. It’s so gone.”
Do you agree with Brendan Schaub, or is the UFC-ESPN deal beneficial to the fighters?