UFC President Dana White on First Take.
UFC President Dana White on First Take.

UFC boss loses his cool over pay dispute

Despite growing calls to readjust the company's revenue share, UFC President Dana White has argued his fighters are not underpaid during an explosive interview.

Two popular fighters recently addressed the UFC's revenue share, arguing they are drastically underpaid when compared to other sporting codes.

During an interview on ESPN's SportsCenter, UFC welterweight star Jorge Masvidal questioned why fighters received only an 18-20 per cent revenue share while athletes from other sports were allocated a substantially larger cut.

"It's not that I'm asking for more money, it's that I'm asking for a bigger revenue share of what we bring in," Masvidal said.

"I've got a lot of questions, and one of them is NBA, NHL, baseball, they make, I think, 50 per cent with the players of what the organisation brings in.

"Football, I think it's 47 per cent. Mine is like 18 per cent. So I have these questions in my mind: Is it to put the cage up costs so much? The set up? What is it so much?"

Meanwhile, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has announced he is taking a hiatus from fighting until he receives a salary increase.

There is also growing speculation a fighters' union will be formed if these issues are not resolved.

 

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Appearing on ESPN's First Take, White was grilled by former NFL player Domonique Foxworth about the ongoing pay issues.

The UFC boss did not take kindly to the hard-hitting questions, and fired back with a fierce rant, arguing the fighters were paid more than enough.

"Does anybody feel like they make too much money? Nobody does," White said.

"By the way, I don't know if you know this, but we're in a pandemic, and no other sports are going. Oh, by the way, every other sport out there is arguing about money right now.

"I haven't laid off one employee. I haven't asked any of my fighters to take less money, and you don't hear me out here crying about, 'No, I don't get any gates, I don't have this, I don't have (that).' You don't hear me crying about anything.

"I'm running my business. I'm paying everybody. Right now, if you think it's easy to be a business owner right now here in today, you are right out of your mind. There has never been a harder time to do business than right now. Guess what? I'm pulling it off."

White argued he should be applauded for not reducing the fighter's salary amid the coronavirus epidemic, when crowds were not permitted and advertising revenue was down.

"I'm paying them exactly the same amount of money no matter what is going on. In the history of this company, I have never asked a fighter to go backwards, ever," White said.

"I have 630 fighters on contract, and we're talking about two."

White also hit back at Conor McGregor after the Irishman's third retirement, claiming he ducked Tony Ferguson when given the opportunity to fight the lightweight contender at UFC 249 last month.

Earlier this week, McGregor said being kept on the sideline too long and not having any appealing fights on the table convinced him to quit.

"The game just does not excite me, and that's that," McGregor told ESPN.

"All this waiting around. There's nothing happening. I'm going through opponent options, and there's nothing really there at the minute. There's nothing that's exciting me."

Despite McGregor bemoaning a lack of opportunities in the Octagon, White said he was offered to step in and fight at UFC 249 if either Nurmagomedov or Ferguson pulled out.

"He (McGregor) wants to fight Gaethje. Gaethje just won to get the fight with Khabib," White said on ESPN's First Take.

"He (Gaethje) just beat Tony Ferguson. Conor had the opportunity to slide into that spot if Khabib or Tony fell out.

"He came back and said, 'I'm not a replacement fighter, I'm not going to do it'. He would be in that position now if he took the fight. He didn't, Gaethje did so Gaethje gets it."

 

Originally published as UFC boss' explosive rant on pay dispute