This week TUF 1 veteran Nate Quarry went public with some beefs he had with how the UFC treats their fighters. Lorenzo Fertitta responded pretty diplomatically (i.e., not like Dana White would have). With the ball back in Quarry’s court, “The Rock” fired off another volley – this time with a little less vitriol, but a bit more reason and insight into why he opened his mouth. Why is this relevant to your interests as an MMA fan? Because it provides some perspective from the point of view of the fighters. And regardless of where you come down on the issue, perspective is always good.
The salient points of Quarry’s latest statement are:
My last fight I was paid around 40k. Although I took a horrendous beating that took months to heal from and now have 13 screws and titanium in my face, I think I was paid very well for that fight.
Then why did I speak up in the first place? To change the past? To speak about low pay from 8 years ago? No, no I didn’t.
I’m trying to address issues that are occurring right now with fighters. The sponsorships being cut, the sponsorship tax, things like that. Things that will benefit the fighters without hurting the UFC.
He goes on to lay out specific issues, and offers suggestions on how to fix them.
Fight Week: Fighters are given two flights, one hotel room and $50 per diem
I suggest: Give the fighter 3 flights and $100 per diem. The days of one cornerman are over. Fighters are taking money out of their purses to pay for the numerous coaches they have to fly in to deliver the best fight possible.
Hotel Gyms: Fighters are allowed to use the gym for free, their corner has to pay to use the hotel gym where the fighter is actually fighting.
I suggest: The fighter and up to 3 cornermen get to use the hotel gym for free. This would cost next to nothing and is one little thing that shows the fighter that they aren’t being nickeled and dimed.
Sponsorships: This is completely random. The last time I was dealing with the UFC, clothing and supplement sponsors had to pay $100k for the privilege of having a fighter put their logo on the fighter’s shorts. Random companies don’t have to pay a fee.
I suggest: Remove the sponsorship tax. This is going to bring back a myriad of sponsors that want to support the fighters and can’t afford to pay 100k to the UFC.
UFC uniform: This is speculative but it seems that the UFC is moving towards a uniform for fighters to wear out to fight in. This is going to kill the remaining sponsors. No longer will they have a shirt sponsor if everyone is wearing the same shirt. No more shorts sponsors if everyone is wearing the same pair of shorts.
I suggest: Kill this idea. If the UFC is unhappy with certain fighters wearing inappropriate shorts or shirts, punish THEM. Not every fighter in the UFC.
UFC fight contract: I may be wrong but I believe the minimum wage in the UFC is $6,000. It goes up from there. I’ve had agents tell me they are pushing for a 5 fight contract. Why? If you’re fighter goes on a win streak he can’t demand more money. If he loses, he gets cut.
I suggest: A three fight NO cut contract. This lets the fighter know that for one year they are UFC fighters. They can focus on fighting and that’s it. The UFC is going to be more selective knowing that the guy they sign will be around for a year. This gives the fighter time to get over the Octagon jitters. And build a fan base because the fans know this guy will be around for at least a year. Right now guys come and go. So what difference does it make if you have one guy signed for three fights instead of three guys that are one and done?
Pay scale: Again, I could be wrong, but I believe the UFC minimum is 6k.
I suggest: Starting salary $10,000 to show, $5,000 win bonus. If you win, your next fight is $10/7.5. The third fight on your contract would be $10/10. For one year the fighter knows that they will be making a minimum of 30k.
As to why Quarry took to the Internet to state his case, he says:
“You’re saying this over social media? You should be a man and say these things privately and face to face!” I did. Over many years. And I was labeled an asshole and not a company man. And if you’re not a company man that means no appearances and no exposure from corporate. And social media is today’s version of picketing outside the offices. I can reach millions of people that are in my key demographic of people I want to reach instead of wearing a sandwich board outside an office. I did complain about having to pay to use the gym at the Palms to help my fighter cut weight. I was told rather soundly that I was the only one complaining and to be quiet. I did complain about sponsors being charge a tax or not being able to thank sponsors after fights and got THE call, telling me to be quiet. I even went to the MMA “journalists” and was told the repercussions of doing a story on such things would result in passes being pulled.
If anything, though, Quarry isn’t bitter about his time in the cage, or full of regret.
And my experience with the UFC was amazing. I got to fight for the world title, man! And Dana personally decided to pay for my back surgery. Not too many other bosses would do that. Everything in my life besides my daughter has come from fighting. And I’d do it all over again.
Oh, I’m not trying to generate interest for a comeback on my part. I’m not trying to promote Bellator or get cut from the UFC so I can fight for them. I’m sharing MY experiences. Good AND bad. And when I see the fighters losing sponsorship dollars for no good reason, that’s when I feel I need to speak up.
Honestly, I don’t enjoy this. But I have this little voice inside my head that won’t let me sleep unless it gets its chance to talk.
What do you think? Is Quarry way off base?