While many people are busy analyzing next weekend’s UFC 162 card, discussion regarding fighter’s pay continues to grab headlines, particularly due to Tim Kennedy’s recent claim he’d make more money emptying “trash cans.” Although Kennedy has since apologized for the remarks, his comments surfaced not long after other UFC vets like Jacob Volkmann, John Cholish and Jason “Mayhem” Miller have criticized ZUFFA for what the company pays.
In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, former TUF competitor and UFC contender Nate Quarry talked extensively about the issue of compensation, and whether fighter’s should be earning more. After Quarry noted that fighter’s have no bargaining power and that “one organization basically dictates what happens”, the retired fighter was asked if the UFC specifically has too much influence over the market.
It’s a catch-22, because without the UFC where would I be? Where would the sport be? I consider myself ridiculous lucky because of all the things Dana White, the Fertittas, and the UFC have done for me – and all the athletes – is amazing. But on the flip side, what all the athletes have done for Dana White and the Fertittas is amazing.
What most people don’t know is, before my back surgery, I went to Dana White and said, “I can’t even train anymore. My back hurts so bad and I can’t afford surgery. I don’t know what to do. “And he said, “We’ll take care of it. Go get it done.” So Dana White is 100% responsible for saving my career. Of course, if I got paid more for my title fight I could have taken care of it myself. (laughs) Maybe.
I will always be indebted to Dana White for helping me there. And I know he’s done that over and over again for other guys. He’s one of those guys who’s generous to a fault with helping fighters – helping people in general. You hear that over and over again. But he’s also a cutthroat business man.
Quarry went on to cite the importance of competition, and pointed out Hector Lombard specifically, as an example of what other organizations can do for fighter’s pay. Lombard was the heralded Bellator Middleweight Champion, and when he became a free agent, by all reports he cashed in with a pretty sizeable contract from the UFC. This is why, according to the 41 year-old vet, fighter’s he’s talked to “hated it” when ZUFFA bought Strikeforce.
Quarry also relayed that he believes fighter’s would better off if ZUFFA raised the minimum show money to $10,000 per fight, and if contracts were for a guaranteed 3 fights per year (currently fighters can be released after one loss). This way they could count on making at least 30K (before training expenses) per year and make a “total commitment to the sport.”