The biggest hurdle in the sport of MMA right now is the fighter pay. Most of the fighters cannot be well off, even former champions. A lot of fighters that have retired, came out to fight once more most likely due to financial issues.
If we compare boxing superstar to MMA superstar in terms of fighter pay, the boxing fighters earn a lot better. In their defense, boxing has been in the sport for so long and that there was the Ali Act which basically helped the boxers have a more equal rights against their own promoters.
The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, commonly referred to as the Ali Act, is a federal law that was introduced in 1999 and enacted on May 26, 2000 by the 106th Congress to: (1) protect the rights and welfare of boxers; (2) aid state boxing commissions with the oversight of boxing; and (3) increase sportsmanship and integrity within the boxing industry (See 114 Stat. 321(3)(2000)).
While in MMA, there is no Ali Act and the UFC could almost monetize the sport. If we compare UFC to Bellator and ONE, the gap is actually huge. UFC is without a doubt the biggest MMA promotion in the world, and it is unfortunate that other promoters offer bigger pay.
For example, Demetrious Johnson who dominated the flyweight champion for so long even broke the record for consecutive title defenses but once got a loss was traded for Ben Askren to ONE. Although it is worth noting that Johnson also got a significant pay rise after going to ONE.
In terms of pay for Jon Jones, he demands a pay more or less the same as McGregor’s level but we all know that McGregor’s PPV attraction is bigger compared to Jones. McGregor headlines 4 of the 5 biggest PPV events. Meanwhile Jones biggest PPV was against Cormier and it was not even close to the numbers of McGregor.
If anything, MMA fighters might need a bigger slice of the pie. Many are even saying McGregor is underpaid for his own worth, but the money is just simply big even if it is underpaid. The UFC contract could change a fighter’s life but they are also risking their health and future for the company.
One of the biggest bad decision for the UFC was the Reebok exclusive deal. When UFC signed the deal, the fighters would not be able to promote other brands that could help with their salary. Jones was notable with the Nike deal and other fighters could endorse brands.
Even Brendan Schaub has said that during his fighting years, his endorsement could be higher than his UFC pay which is INSANE if you think about it. Now the Reebok Deal is done, the UFC has now signed with VENOM.
With one of the UFC’s top star demanding a bigger pay, it is now the best time to form a fighter union that could help the fighters have a more equal grounds. Jorge Masvidal who was demanding a pay rise against Usman but then suddenly signed a multiple fight deal. UFC stars should look to form a union rather ignore the problem.