Dana White says he can solve UFC fighter pay gripes – by eliminating bonuses

BAMfreddrickBAMfreddrick Somewhere in AlbertaPosts: 4,949Free
edited July 2013 in UFC
http://www.mmajunkie.com/news/2013/07/dana-white-says-he-can-solve-ufc-fighter-pay-gripes-by-eliminating-bonuses

The UFC is contemplating the elimination of fight-night and discretionary bonuses to fighters, the promotion's president told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

"You don't like the structure? All right, we'll pay the lower-level guys more money – no more f--king bonuses," Dana White said. "You guys come in, you negotiate your contracts, and we do away with all bonuses. That's what I'm thinking about doing."

White today said he and UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta came up with the idea to redistribute wealth after several former and current UFC fighters publicly criticized the way the promotion pays its fighters. And if they follow through with it, they could find out very quickly if those currently under contract believe the current system is as bad as its often made to be.

White said that for every UFC event that "kicks ****," the promotion "makes sure that everybody gets a piece of the extra."

Now, the promotion could boost fighters' base salaries across the board and take away rewards for those that perform.

"The bonuses are something we've been doing out of the kindness of our f--king heart," White said. "It was something we liked to do. Apparently, people don't like it. They want the lower-level guys to get paid more money."

For several years, the UFC has paid out discretionary bonuses, which include disclosed bumps for "Fight of the Night," Submission of the Night," and "Knockout of the Night," as well as undisclosed checks that are sometimes distributed backstage or mailed after an event.

Disclosed bonuses have gone as high as $129,000 at UFC 129, but recently leveled out to $50,000. The amount of discretionary bonuses ranges widely.

The extras have pushed some fighters' take-home earnings past the six-figure range for a single night's work. At this past month's UFC 161, first-time UFC fighter James Krause earned an additional $100,000 for "Submission of the Night" and "Fight of the Night," pending the results of a drug test.

However, several recent UFC castoffs, and one fighter set to make his octagon debut in Tim Kennedy, say that their disclosed pay shrinks considerably after deductions for training expenses and taxes. For preliminary-card fighters, who often take home $6,000 to show and $6,000 to win at an event, the financial hit can be particularly devastating if they are unable to fight more than twice a year.

Add to that a sponsorship market that's sunk since the sport's boom in the late 2000s, and many up-and-comers are forced to look for secondary income.

Onetime UFC title challenger Jon Fitch took aim at the promotion's profit margins and said it should share more of its profits.

"There are an overwhelming majority who do share that view," said Fitch. "But they're scared. They're absolutely terrified because the fighters to them are just meat to be replaced easily."

That replaceability is one reason White uses to justify the pay scale at the lower ranges. Because few preliminary-card fighters sell tickets, they aren't entitled to big purses until they develop a winning record and a fan base that adds to the UFC's bottom line.

White railed at fighters with "unrealistic expectations" and said the UFC's pay scale often is compared unfairly to sports franchises such as the NFL.

"We're more like Major League Soccer, as far as financials go," he said. "You fight three times a year, you make [$50,000 to show and $50,000 to win], you're making $300,000 a year fighting three times a year. I know you have to take jiu-jitsu and do all these other things, but we have the same thing. We don't just put on fights; we have overhead, too.

"All these f--king morons have no idea what goes into this and what it takes to build a sport and a company at the same time. And we've been very fair to guys."

Dana White says he can solve UFC fighter pay gripes – by eliminating bonuses

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  • Gabri1985Gabri1985 Manchester, England Posts: 7,695Free
    Yes get rid of Bonuses to pay the undercards more
    Good idea
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  • StompGrindStompGrind Posts: 21,211Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters
    Terrible idea but i get it. UFC looking for more ways to be cheap and greedy. Stealing fighters rights isn't enough anymore. Digging into sponsorship money and controlling credentials isn't enough anymore they want to milk every last dime.

    Shame on you UFC if you take away fighter bonuses as there is less incentive to fight to win instead of fighting not to lose.

    If you want to build an army of Fitch's, Gsp's and Shields with a cheap skate scheme this is a good start.
  • ThePack19ThePack19 Posts: 1,976Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters
    Well.....there goes the motivation to actually finish the fights.
  • JimmyYOJimmyYO Posts: 1,234Free
    He won't eliminate bonuses because he never introduced them for the benefit of the fighters. He did it to force more exciting fights. Not that I'm complaining but true nonetheless.

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  • _Spartan_Spartan Posts: 383Free
    every new sport the athletes will always want more money, if you notice the fighters that do the most complaining are the ones losing
  • DarksjeikDarksjeik Posts: 2,245Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters
    When I was younger I was in my share of bar fights, I don't remember ever having been paid a dime for those. Fighters need to stop acting like royal diva's. Fuq that Rashad Evans attending post fight press conferences in his 3 piece Italian suits.

    Fighting is for fighters.

    You should want to be a fighter because you forged your body and skill in the fire of your will. Because you want to prove yourself to be able to hang with the best the human race has to offer.

    You wanna live like a rockstar, fuqing become a rockstar and leave fighting to fighters.





  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free
    edited July 2013
    ThePack19 said:

    Well.....there goes the motivation to actually finish the fights.

    Have you seen the results of the past few events? Decision fests.

    Dana upped the bonuses to encourage these fighters to put on a better show. It was a win-win situation. The fighters get paid more and he gets a better looking product. Who cares if Dana didn't do it out of the good of his heart? Fighters don't get paid with emotions, they get payed in cash, and DW didn't have a problem handing it out to people who deserve it.

    But now? If he eliminates these bonuses? The UFC may become more stingy with who they do and don't sign and who they do and don't keep around. If fighters thought fighting to win a boring decision was good for their career before, boy were they wrong, and they are even more wrong now. A win won't guarantee you a spot on the UFC roster. Instead, all it might do is guarantee you a one way ticket to being paid less by Bellator or WSOF. Even if you keep winning there in Fitch fashion. You will still be paid less winning there than you would be by putting on good shows in the UFC.

    Bottom line is that even if DW goes through with this, fighters and fans alike will still complain. Everyone feels they deserve more money, regardless of what their job is.
    Post edited by CaptainSuperman on
  • AnsemAnsem Posts: 3,836Free
    edited July 2013
    Dana is such a ****, the fastest growing sport in the world is paying some of its fighters 6k to show and 6k to win, are you **** kidding me right now.

    Im all in favour of a fighters union as there should be, a few weeks ago Tim Kennedy was complaining about the money then a a day or two later he apologizes im assuming Dana threw him some extra cash to stfu.
    Post edited by Ansem on

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  • BJJnoobBJJnoob Posts: 4,121Free
    You are free to negotiate with your employer, your pay. Let me tell you where they don't get to negotiate. Taxes.
    “It is curious that people tend to regard government as a quasi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization. Government was constructed neither for ability nor for the exercise of loving care; government was built for the use of force and for necessarily demagogic appeals for votes. If individuals do not know their own interests in many cases, they are free to turn to private experts for guidance. It is absurd to say that they will be served better by a coercive, demagogic apparatus.”
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  • MMA_FTWMMA_FTW Co-Owner of the UFCPosts: 6,818Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters
    Ansem said:

    Dana is such a ****, the fastest growing sport in the world is paying some of its fighters 6k to show and 6k to win, are you **** kidding me right now.

    Im all in favour of a fighters union as there should be, a few weeks ago Tim Kennedy was complaining about the money then a a day or two later he apologizes im assuming Dana threw him some extra cash to stfu.

    Why is Dana a ****? People negotiate for every contract they sign in any profession. You may feel that they are getting a low amount to fight and win when they start off in the UFC with minimal MMA experience, but what the UFC does offer besides the pay is exposure to the MMA fans/public. When it comes time to renegotiate a contract after the first one expires, a fighter will have more opportunity for marketability which offers them more leverage to get a better contract.

    The aspect of bonuses enables someone to want to go for the finish. The bonus helps the fighters and finishing fights is a lot more exciting for MMA fans to see.
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  • Wanderlei_RuaWanderlei_Rua Posts: 955Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters
    http://forums.ufcfightclub.com/discussion/146614/don-t-complain-after-you-sign-the-deal#latest

    CaptainSuperman has some good insights on the subject(no sarcasm) in another thread.

    Mods should consider merging.
  • BJJnoobBJJnoob Posts: 4,121Free
    MMA_FTW said:

    Ansem said:

    Dana is such a ****, the fastest growing sport in the world is paying some of its fighters 6k to show and 6k to win, are you **** kidding me right now.

    Im all in favour of a fighters union as there should be, a few weeks ago Tim Kennedy was complaining about the money then a a day or two later he apologizes im assuming Dana threw him some extra cash to stfu.

    Why is Dana a ****? People negotiate for every contract they sign in any profession. You may feel that they are getting a low amount to fight and win when they start off in the UFC with minimal MMA experience, but what the UFC does offer besides the pay is exposure to the MMA fans/public. When it comes time to renegotiate a contract after the first one expires, a fighter will have more opportunity for marketability which offers them more leverage to get a better contract.

    The aspect of bonuses enables someone to want to go for the finish. The bonus helps the fighters and finishing fights is a lot more exciting for MMA fans to see.
    /thread
    “It is curious that people tend to regard government as a quasi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization. Government was constructed neither for ability nor for the exercise of loving care; government was built for the use of force and for necessarily demagogic appeals for votes. If individuals do not know their own interests in many cases, they are free to turn to private experts for guidance. It is absurd to say that they will be served better by a coercive, demagogic apparatus.”
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  • SistiSisti Posts: 5,312Free
    abuse of power...he is the epitome of that at times...just a lot of screaming at reporters and encouraging his **** kissed all the time or screwing over ppl. the company freakin made 1/4 BILLION in PPV revenue alone a few years ago...they are the fastest growing sport in the world, there's no way they can't afford to give their fighters a cut of it
  • Wanderlei_RuaWanderlei_Rua Posts: 955Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters
    Virtually everyone agrees that the bonuses are a good thing.

    To me, the bigger point is that Dana is using blatant intimidation tactics to scare fighters from complaining about their pay. Made even more clear by the fact that it would damage the product he is trying to sell to do so.
  • Solid_SnakeSolid_Snake Posts: 11,789Moderator, Ultimate
    The UFC doesn't need to do away with bonuses, they need to do away with bad business, and it all starts with DW.
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  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free
    Ansem said:

    Dana is such a ****, the fastest growing sport in the world is paying some of its fighters 6k to show and 6k to win, are you **** kidding me right now.

    Im all in favour of a fighters union as there should be, a few weeks ago Tim Kennedy was complaining about the money then a a day or two later he apologizes im assuming Dana threw him some extra cash to stfu.

    It's actually been bumped up to 8 and 8. But who are these fighters making 8 & 8? Nobodies. Nobody is paying 2K for cage-side seats to see Joe Blow, thus Joe Blow, until he makes a name for himself, is making 8 & 8. If he turns out to be good, he gets a raise, just like every other job position in the world.

    Tim Kennedy is still on his SF contract I believe, until he renegotiates a contract with Zuffa and UFC. Not to mention he hasn't even fought yet or made that money and he is complaining. And he is relatively unknown in the MMA community, as Strikeforce wasn't as popular as you probably believe.
  • PoloRidahPoloRidah Posts: 11,253Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters

    Ansem said:

    Dana is such a ****, the fastest growing sport in the world is paying some of its fighters 6k to show and 6k to win, are you **** kidding me right now.

    Im all in favour of a fighters union as there should be, a few weeks ago Tim Kennedy was complaining about the money then a a day or two later he apologizes im assuming Dana threw him some extra cash to stfu.

    It's actually been bumped up to 8 and 8. But who are these fighters making 8 & 8? Nobodies. Nobody is paying 2K for cage-side seats to see Joe Blow, thus Joe Blow, until he makes a name for himself, is making 8 & 8. If he turns out to be good, he gets a raise, just like every other job position in the world.

    Tim Kennedy is still on his SF contract I believe, until he renegotiates a contract with Zuffa and UFC. Not to mention he hasn't even fought yet or made that money and he is complaining. And he is relatively unknown in the MMA community, as Strikeforce wasn't as popular as you probably believe.
    Tim is fighting on the UFC 162 card. Doesn't that require a UFC contract?
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  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free
    Sisti said:

    abuse of power...he is the epitome of that at times...just a lot of screaming at reporters and encouraging his **** kissed all the time or screwing over ppl. the company freakin made 1/4 BILLION in PPV revenue alone a few years ago...they are the fastest growing sport in the world, there's no way they can't afford to give their fighters a cut of it

    How do you think they bought PRIDE, WEC, and Strikeforce? With wishes?
  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free
    PoloRidah said:

    Ansem said:

    Dana is such a ****, the fastest growing sport in the world is paying some of its fighters 6k to show and 6k to win, are you **** kidding me right now.

    Im all in favour of a fighters union as there should be, a few weeks ago Tim Kennedy was complaining about the money then a a day or two later he apologizes im assuming Dana threw him some extra cash to stfu.

    It's actually been bumped up to 8 and 8. But who are these fighters making 8 & 8? Nobodies. Nobody is paying 2K for cage-side seats to see Joe Blow, thus Joe Blow, until he makes a name for himself, is making 8 & 8. If he turns out to be good, he gets a raise, just like every other job position in the world.

    Tim Kennedy is still on his SF contract I believe, until he renegotiates a contract with Zuffa and UFC. Not to mention he hasn't even fought yet or made that money and he is complaining. And he is relatively unknown in the MMA community, as Strikeforce wasn't as popular as you probably believe.
    Tim is fighting on the UFC 162 card. Doesn't that require a UFC contract?
    Nope. All they did was take on existing contracts. When the UFC bought PRIDE, they took on all PRIDE contracts. Mark Hunt still had a contract with PRIDE that UFC said he was obligated to fulfill. UFC bought PRIDE in 2007 and it took 3 years until Mark Hunt stepped into the Octagon. Same deal here with Strikeforce.
  • Wanderlei_RuaWanderlei_Rua Posts: 955Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters

    Sisti said:

    abuse of power...he is the epitome of that at times...just a lot of screaming at reporters and encouraging his **** kissed all the time or screwing over ppl. the company freakin made 1/4 BILLION in PPV revenue alone a few years ago...they are the fastest growing sport in the world, there's no way they can't afford to give their fighters a cut of it

    How do you think they bought PRIDE, WEC, and Strikeforce? With wishes?
    No, they bought them with cash. Which proves 1)that they are not struggling financially like Dana always claims and 2)that they are trying to eliminate fighters bargaining power by being the only game in town.
  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free
    But you can't buy entire organizations if you don't have the cash. And if they are paying out more than what the fighters are worth, that leaves them with little in the bank for security reasons like UFC 151, or to buy and expand.

    I gave out these examples in another thread, I don't think I should have to point it out, it's common sense.

    Let's say you have a product that you want to sell. It normally goes for X amount on craigslist or ebay. You think you deserve twice as much, so your asking price is 2X. After a few weeks, you see similar items have been sold left and right, but at the original x price. Meanwhile, you still have not sold your item. What are you going to do? Reduce your price, because you are trying to sell it for more than it is worth.

    Or say at your job, you think you deserve a 50% raise. Your employer thinks your position in the company is not worth that much, so they fire you (assuming you're not union) and hire somebody else who is happy with what you were making. You go on a job hunt looking for the same position you had but at different companies. You say you want more than what they are offering, each and every time, they will show you the door. What are you forced to do? Reduce your asking price.

    But let's say the job really is worth more than what you are paid. They fire you and look for a replacement. But every applicant declines the job because the pay isn't worth the position. What are they forced to do? Raise the wage of that position.

    See where I'm going? If UFC fighters truly hated their contracts, they could stop signing them. The UFC would be left with little talent, and be forced to do something about how much they are paying if they wanted the talent to come back.
  • StompGrindStompGrind Posts: 21,211Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters

    Nope. All they did was take on existing contracts. When the UFC bought PRIDE, they took on all PRIDE contracts. Mark Hunt still had a contract with PRIDE that UFC said he was obligated to fulfill. UFC bought PRIDE in 2007 and it took 3 years until Mark Hunt stepped into the Octagon. Same deal here with Strikeforce.

    Im pretty sure they wanted to just offer some kind of payoff to Mark to buy out his contract and Mark took it upon himself to say no i want to still fight. Dana even made comments about how proud he was and how much respect he had for Hunt for this.
  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free

    Nope. All they did was take on existing contracts. When the UFC bought PRIDE, they took on all PRIDE contracts. Mark Hunt still had a contract with PRIDE that UFC said he was obligated to fulfill. UFC bought PRIDE in 2007 and it took 3 years until Mark Hunt stepped into the Octagon. Same deal here with Strikeforce.

    Im pretty sure they wanted to just offer some kind of payoff to Mark to buy out his contract and Mark took it upon himself to say no i want to still fight. Dana even made comments about how proud he was and how much respect he had for Hunt for this.
    Ahh, my bad. Didn't know. But the point still stands, they took on all contracts. It's just like when any other company buys the competition, you also get all of that companies business.
  • Brady969Brady969 Outside DCPosts: 3,100Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters

    http://www.mmajunkie.com/news/2013/07/dana-white-says-he-can-solve-ufc-fighter-pay-gripes-by-eliminating-bonuses

    The UFC is contemplating the elimination of fight-night and discretionary bonuses to fighters, the promotion's president told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

    "You don't like the structure? All right, we'll pay the lower-level guys more money – no more f--king bonuses," Dana White said. "You guys come in, you negotiate your contracts, and we do away with all bonuses. That's what I'm thinking about doing."

    White today said he and UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta came up with the idea to redistribute wealth after several former and current UFC fighters publicly criticized the way the promotion pays its fighters. And if they follow through with it, they could find out very quickly if those currently under contract believe the current system is as bad as its often made to be.

    White said that for every UFC event that "kicks ****," the promotion "makes sure that everybody gets a piece of the extra."

    Now, the promotion could boost fighters' base salaries across the board and take away rewards for those that perform.

    "The bonuses are something we've been doing out of the kindness of our f--king heart," White said. "It was something we liked to do. Apparently, people don't like it. They want the lower-level guys to get paid more money."

    For several years, the UFC has paid out discretionary bonuses, which include disclosed bumps for "Fight of the Night," Submission of the Night," and "Knockout of the Night," as well as undisclosed checks that are sometimes distributed backstage or mailed after an event.

    Disclosed bonuses have gone as high as $129,000 at UFC 129, but recently leveled out to $50,000. The amount of discretionary bonuses ranges widely.

    The extras have pushed some fighters' take-home earnings past the six-figure range for a single night's work. At this past month's UFC 161, first-time UFC fighter James Krause earned an additional $100,000 for "Submission of the Night" and "Fight of the Night," pending the results of a drug test.

    However, several recent UFC castoffs, and one fighter set to make his octagon debut in Tim Kennedy, say that their disclosed pay shrinks considerably after deductions for training expenses and taxes. For preliminary-card fighters, who often take home $6,000 to show and $6,000 to win at an event, the financial hit can be particularly devastating if they are unable to fight more than twice a year.

    Add to that a sponsorship market that's sunk since the sport's boom in the late 2000s, and many up-and-comers are forced to look for secondary income.

    Onetime UFC title challenger Jon Fitch took aim at the promotion's profit margins and said it should share more of its profits.

    "There are an overwhelming majority who do share that view," said Fitch. "But they're scared. They're absolutely terrified because the fighters to them are just meat to be replaced easily."

    That replaceability is one reason White uses to justify the pay scale at the lower ranges. Because few preliminary-card fighters sell tickets, they aren't entitled to big purses until they develop a winning record and a fan base that adds to the UFC's bottom line.

    White railed at fighters with "unrealistic expectations" and said the UFC's pay scale often is compared unfairly to sports franchises such as the NFL.

    "We're more like Major League Soccer, as far as financials go," he said. "You fight three times a year, you make [$50,000 to show and $50,000 to win], you're making $300,000 a year fighting three times a year. I know you have to take jiu-jitsu and do all these other things, but we have the same thing. We don't just put on fights; we have overhead, too.

    "All these f--king morons have no idea what goes into this and what it takes to build a sport and a company at the same time. And we've been very fair to guys."

    I won't make any friends sticking up for Dana here but Im going to. When Nick Diaz gives up on being a promotor because of how much money he's gong to lose maybe he will say he was wrong and didn't know any better.

    Everyone thinks The UFC and its employees are just showered in money. They have more bills in one main event than all the money any of us will ever see in our life time. Btw...Dana is worth everything he's paid.

    Distributing the wealth is the Obama way and it doesn't work. It's socialism in sports. Bonuses are good thing. Everyone shouldn't be treated the same in the fight game. Unless you want everyone to fight the same.
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  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free
    edited July 2013
    Agreed Brady. Though I don't view it as sticking up for Dana, rather it just seems that everyone wants wants and wants without wondering where the money comes and goes from.

    Everyone acts like it's unfair for other MMA orgs to try to compete with the UFC, yet they forget how hard Dana and the Fertita's worked to get where they are. They bought UFC in 2001 for 2 million. It was in the red. It wasn't not profitable. 5 years later they took 10M of their own money and jumpstarted TUF. And that is the year they finally turned a profit. If Zuffa could do it with UFC, Viacom could do it with Bellator. Donald Trump should have been able to do it. But no. There is a reason PRIDE, WEC, and SF decided to sell, cause they weren't exactly flourishing.
    Post edited by CaptainSuperman on
  • StompGrindStompGrind Posts: 21,211Free
    No keep bonuses so that good money goes to good fighters
    Yeah i still agree with your point though. Entry level pay for entry level fighters. The lower level guys complain but that's just how it is. It's a progression
    You want more pay then you either move up the ladder or put on such exciting fights that you become an asset to the company win or lose.

    I just don't like the idea of Zuffa cutting bonuses because it's counter intuitive and seems more like another way to scale back to milk in as much as they can. The whole sponsorship situation and likeness rights etc. stinks enough as it is.

    Don't take the damn bonuses away. It's a Greg Jackson ruin mma move.

  • CaptainSupermanCaptainSuperman Posts: 10,101Free

    Yeah i still agree with your point though. Entry level pay for entry level fighters. The lower level guys complain but that's just how it is. It's a progression
    You want more pay then you either move up the ladder or put on such exciting fights that you become an asset to the company win or lose.

    I just don't like the idea of Zuffa cutting bonuses because it's counter intuitive and seems more like another way to scale back to milk in as much as they can. The whole sponsorship situation and likeness rights etc. stinks enough as it is.

    Don't take the damn bonuses away. It's a Greg Jackson ruin mma move.

    YES! Nobody STAYS at 8 & 8, nobody seems to understand that. They just see those numbers and freak out that a UFC fighter is making so little without taking into account the context.

    And I kinda agree about the results of taking away the bonuses. That fighters may resort to Fitch tactics. But I also think that the UFC would be more than happy to trim the fat if they feel they are paying more than what they need to the lower tired, boring, no name fighters. So who knows, that option may result in fighters fearing for their job more than before. Which would be funny, cause you might get fighters trying super hard to get these finishes to keep their job, and yet those bonuses are gone and they lost out on the possibility of more money.

    I guess it would be hard being a UFC fighter when your boss is a brash as Dana White and he don't give a ****. I guess it's careful what you wish for.
  • BJJnoobBJJnoob Posts: 4,121Free
    If anyone is getting **** its me. Can you imagine if I could negotiate my tips with the customers? That would be great!
    Sir how much are you going to tip?
    10%
    Sorry, Im not your guy.
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