It's Official: UFC Fighters Have The Worst Contracts In All Of Sports

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 5 years ago '07        #1
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Jago 1030 heat pts1030
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It's Official: UFC f!ghters Have The Worst Contracts In All Of Sports
 

 
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Randy Couture, one of the sport's true legends and a UFC Hall of Famer, was loathe to complain about a career that has made him a millionaire. He understands the efforts and expense it took to build this sport from the ground up. But he couldn't help but wonder about the discrepancy between mainstream sports money and what he and other top UFC stars are paid.

"It's hard for me to sit here and bi*ch and complain about the pay I got when I made more money competing in mixed martial arts than I ever made doing anything else," Couture told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview. "Does it irk me that Floyd Mayweather can f!ght one time and make $40 million? Well, that's more than I made in my career. Yeah, that bothers me."

How much UFC f!ghters are actually paid is a carefully guarded secret. Although some state athletic commissions are required by law to report a f!ghter's base pay, most f!ghters are also paid a variety of bonuses that are not included in that mandatory reporting. Backroom, performance and even pay-per-view bonuses are routinely handed out, but until recently, most reporters and fans didn't know much about that process.

"We don't give out numbers," White told Bleacher Report. "We don't say how much f!ghters get paid or what the company is making. It's something that we don't do and it drives people crazy."

Enter Eddie Alvarez, a lightweight f!ghter who is one of the very best in his weight class outside the UFC. He's looking to join the promotion and challenge Benson Henderson and the other top UFC stars, but he's mired in a contract dispute with Bellator, a competing promotion on Spike TV.

The battle has been tough on him, emotionally and financially. Alvarez, pictured at right from his Twitter account, has even discussed the negotiations publicly through social media. Alvarez's troubles, however, have proven to be a real boon for MMA journalists and historians. For years, the UFC's standard contract has been a mystery, a matter of speculation, but not available for the record. Thanks to Alvarez's legal struggles, it has become a public document, an exhibit in Bellator's case to re-sign the f!ghter to a "matching contract."

More important, for our purposes, is that Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter acquired a copy of Alvarez's contract with the UFC's parent company Zuffa, part of a collection of court documents now available to the public, journalists and legal minds all over the world—some of whom are not impressed.

"When you look at who gets the money, at the end of the day, it's disproportionately Zuffa and disproportionately not the f!ghter," Northwestern University labor law professor Zev Eigen told Bleacher Report, calling the UFC contract the worst he's seen in the sports or entertainment fields. "None of these f!ghters are represented by a professional a.ssociation or a union. There's nothing that sets a minimum or basic standard below which the company can't go.
It makes sense—in any relationship like this you would expect the contract to favor the more powerful actor.

"That should be intuitive and it's universal. If you're contracting with Apple, you shouldn't be surprised that Apple takes as many rights as possible. If you use iTunes in anyway they don't like, hell, fire will rain down on you. That's what you can expect anytime you're contracting with an entity more powerful than you are. So too with the UFC."

In boxing, those minimum standards are set by law, part of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act that is helping clean up a notoriously corrupt sport. In other individual sports, like tennis, players are protected by a professional a.ssociation. In mixed martial arts, however, there are no protections at all. f!ghters are left to their own devices to negotiate shark-filled waters.

"The UFC has coagulated all this genius at law. And they've done nothing but prosper from it," Juanito Ibarra, former manager of UFC star Quinton "Rampage" Jackson among others, told Bleacher Report. "They've left managers and trainers, and most importantly, f!ghters out in the cold. They don't have a voice."

Ibarra is quick to point out that UFC isn't the only company that preys on f!ghters, usually young guys he says have never had a dime to their name and are happy just to be on television making a little bit of money.

"It's with all the promoters," Ibarra said. "The promoters, all they do is copy each other's contracts. They hire a lawyer, and he tweaks it, but it's all copy and paste."

As a private company, the UFC doesn't have to report its revenues, cash flow or profit margins to anyone. According to a recent profile in Fast Company, the promotion makes in the neighborhood of $600 million per year, though Fertitta says that number is overstated. The UFC is worth north of $2 billion, making it a more valuable property than even the legendary New York Yankees, Major League Baseball's perpetual cash machine.

Yet despite this success, Fertitta told ESPN that in the seven years since the company started regularly turning a profit, they have paid out just $250 million total to the athletes, a far cry from the 47 percent of total revenue the NFL's players split.
Full article: visit this link The Business of f!ghting: A Look Inside the UFC's Top-Secret f!ghter Contract | Bleacher Report

Contract breakdown: visit this link Article I: Grant of Promotional Rights


Last edited by Jago; 05-15-2013 at 12:32 AM..

95 comments for "It's Official: UFC Fighters Have The Worst Contracts In All Of Sports"

 5 years ago '12        #2
TRILL SH1T 95 heat pts95
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Something I still can't wrap my head around is how is Floyd and Pacquiao making 20, 30, 40 million dollars a f!ght and GSP and Anderson Silva are making no where near those numbers; i dnt think they've even made a third of what Floyd made last week... Even up and coming f!ghters are making upwards to 1,000,000+ per f!ght: Broner, Garcia, Alvares.... How can this be when boxing is supposed to be "dead" and MMA at a all time high?
 5 years ago '12        #3
Dee352 170 heat pts170
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How much money has anderson made in the ufc?
 05-15-2013, 12:50 AM         #4
CurlyD 
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 TRILL SH1T said:
Something I still can't wrap my head around is how is Floyd and Pacquiao making 20, 30, 40 million dollars a f!ght and GSP and Anderson Silva are making no where near those numbers; i dnt think they've even made a third of what Floyd made last week... Even up and coming f!ghters are making upwards to 1,000,000+ per f!ght: Broner, Garcia, Alvares.... How can this be when boxing is supposed to be "dead" and MMA at a all time high?
Makes me think boxing isn't really "dead" and ufc has been trolling this entire time
 5 years ago '11        #5
PotheadFocker 169 heat pts169
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Pretty sh*tty. Only a select few are eating in MMA, Zuffa lining the ol pockets tho.


But I'm curious as to what everybody besides Floyd and Manny make a year (Manny's money about to take a little hit)

The Mosley's and Canelo's and Ward's of the world. Thats where the comparison needs to be made.
Boxing also has multiple champs and belts so that kinda throws comparisons off as well.

All in all there needs to be some sort of f!ghters union implemented but I doubt it will happen
 5 years ago '05        #6
Sluggernaut 19 heat pts19
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Everyone knows this...

Thats why Nick Diaz, before he joined UFC he was thinking about becoming a pro boxer. UFC is paying pennies to their f!ghters..
 5 years ago '05        #7
Y.G. 27 heat pts27
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Dana is jamming this in his iPod every time he issues his f!ghters their checks.


[video - click to view]


 5 years ago '04        #8
bibbyboi 25 heat pts25
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It's a brand new sport. The UFC has to underpay the f!ghters to make sure they survive as a brand and company. If you think otherwise you only have to look at all the other big orgs that failed because they overpaid for their f!ghters. Affliction, Strikeforce, Pride etc.


Right now the UFC is the best thing for the sport. If the UFC fails I'm not sure anyone could pick up where it left off.
 5 years ago '05        #9
Y.G. 27 heat pts27
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 bibbyboi said:
It's a brand new sport. The UFC has to underpay the f!ghters to make sure they survive as a brand and company. If you think otherwise you only have to look at all the other big orgs that failed because they overpaid for their f!ghters. Affliction, Strikeforce, Pride etc.


Right now the UFC is the best thing for the sport. If the UFC fails I'm not sure anyone could pick up where it left off.
It's a brand new sport?

UFC has to underpay when they've been profitable for 7 years?

You're the only guy in here who thinks this is acceptable. Did you even read the contracts they give these f!ghters?

"When you sign a deal with the UFC and its parent company Zuffa, they control rights to your 'name, sobriquet, image, likeness, voice, persona, signature, and biographical material of f!ghter and all persons a.ssociated with f!ghter (collectively, the 'Identity').'

These rights belong to the UFC in perpetuity, meaning forever. The contract explicitly states that even death can't get you out of this deal."




And you support that?
 5 years ago '04        #10
bibbyboi 25 heat pts25
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 Y.G. said:
It's a brand new sport?

UFC has to underpay when they've been profitable for 7 years?

You're the only guy in here who thinks this is acceptable. Did you even read the contracts they give these f!ghters?

"When you sign a deal with the UFC and its parent company Zuffa, they control rights to your 'name, sobriquet, image, likeness, voice, persona, signature, and biographical material of f!ghter and all persons a.ssociated with f!ghter (collectively, the 'Identity').'

These rights belong to the UFC in perpetuity, meaning forever. The contract explicitly states that even death can't get you out of this deal."




And you support that?
I don't agree with all that extra stuff. I'm just talking about how much they get paid to f!ght. I agree that their "360ish" deals are ridiculous.

The sport is less than 20 years old. It's really the newest sport out there. The UFC has to underpay, actually more like not overpay, f!ghters to expand the sport.
 05-15-2013, 02:58 AM         #11
BayArea51 
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 Y.G. said:
Dana is jamming this in his iPod every time he issues his f!ghters their checks.



 5 years ago '07        #12
r.burgundy 16 heat pts16
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 TRILL SH1T said:
Something I still can't wrap my head around is how is Floyd and Pacquiao making 20, 30, 40 million dollars a f!ght and GSP and Anderson Silva are making no where near those numbers; i dnt think they've even made a third of what Floyd made last week... Even up and coming f!ghters are making upwards to 1,000,000+ per f!ght: Broner, Garcia, Alvares.... How can this be when boxing is supposed to be "dead" and MMA at a all time high?
easy,because they earned it.these guys have built a fan base for damn near 15 years,and boxing promoters market personality and image more than they do actual boxing.there is on avg about 3-4 big boxing ppv's per year while mma has a ppv every 2 months.u cant build a buzz that way.up and coming guys have networks backing them.thats why they get high salaries
 5 years ago '05        #13
Bea5T 137 heat pts137
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UFC is a business and the f!ghters are the product.

Boxers are both the business and the product.
 5 years ago '13        #14
Lucky Lucas 47 heat pts47
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Floyd is worth over 115 mil, Anderson Silva is worth slightly over 10 mil.


God damn
 05-15-2013, 04:49 AM         #15
kokaine 
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boxing is an ancient recognized sport. MMA is like jack of all trades, master on none. Since all top tier mma wrestlers do not dedicate time to their main craft, likewise with standup mma f!ghters and jitsu.

It's like having one athlete play bball,hockey,baseball,football and soccer and then go on to say their the best....

rather than having a tactician in floyd master boxing, lebron and kobe master hoops ....

Also, it is a relevently new sport introduced to the world. The boom was in 2007-2008 where you had everyone and their grandma have some interest in mma... slowly that has come to pass and most people I know now do not really give a sh*t about mma unless they go to an actual event, get drunk and maybe catch a main event at the bar... or stream them at college library..
 05-15-2013, 05:32 AM         #16
Web Search 
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Whoa whoa whoa. Keep the f!ghters HUNGRY! I dont want them in the UFC paid too much, because you see what happens with rappers? Rappers are at their top game when they are hungry. They get too much, then they fall off.

Nothing better than people that are hungry in life.
bnw99 gave props
 
 5 years ago '09        #17
Zaosyn 261 heat pts261
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MMA is not a sport that is gonna be here in 100 years and if it is gonna be here in 100 years, UFC isn't. Dana and boys are just cashing in and trying to preserve the sport for as long as they can. UFC isn't as hot as it was years ago and we can expect things to get sh*ttier once Anderson and GSP retire befor they get better.

Here's some cliff notes about the contract that I stole from someone on the underground
1. The contract gives zuffa the exclusive, worldwide right to use the name, likeness, persona etc. of the f!ghter. This basically gives the ufc superior rights over you to use your identity. Also, it appears that these rights are perpetual meaning FOREVER even after you are cut and not f!ghting in the UFC. In other words, zuffa owns your a.ss. I think this has been discussed before, but its pretty crazy.

2. The f!ghter is required to a.ssist zuffa in advertising, publicity and promotion of the bouts he f!ghts in, of all other events of the UFC and the sale of UFC merch at times and places reasonably designated by zuffa without additional compensation (other than travel, room and board). This is pretty broad. There are no limits on this other than "reasonable". This is probably what pissed off Huerta and Diaz.

3. The f!ghter is generally prohibited from participating in or rendering services as a professional f!ghter or in any other capacity to any other mixed martial art, martial art, boxing, professional wrestling, or any other f!ghting competition or exhibition (except if you are not a champion, you can participate in certain events with zuffa's permission). This is pretty broad too since it includes rendering services, essentially in any capacity, to anything f!ghting related. This appears to be the infamous provision that got fedor angry.

4. At the end of the term, if the f!ghter is a champ, the term gets extended automatically to the later of a 1 year period or the date the f!ghter has 3 f!ghts (but pay stays the same). I always thought this champions clause was perpetual, but apparently its not (perhaps due to enforceability issues). However, since its the "later of", it appears the UFC can always just not give the champ a bout, thus prolonging the time he is under contract.

5. It is "intended" that eddie's first bout be for the title, and that the first bout be prior to March of 2013. I don't really know what this means in a contractual context, but its not a guaranteed title shot. Eddie probably asked for a guaranteed shot, Zuffa balked and this was the compromise, which isn’t all that meaningful from Eddie's perspective. At best, its probably some type of good faith clause, which would be difficult for Eddie to enforce in court if the UFC decides not to give him a title shot.

6. Eddie's PPV points are only for his first f!ght if it’s on a PPV and for any subsequent bout that is on PPV where he is a champ. But I don't see anything that requires zuffa to make eddie's first or any subsequent bouts on PPV, so these PPV points may just be window dressing ultimately. Also, the PPV is not as rich as I think some originally thought on here. For example, he gets $1 for each buy BETWEEN 200K to 400K, meaning if the event does 200,001 buys, he gets $1. Its still not bad considering he has not proven to be a TV draw and he has never fought in the octagon, but in light of the fact that there does not appear to be any obligation to put eddie on one single PPV, its not anderson silva money by any means.

7. In the incidental section, the figher is only entitled to 2 plane tix and 1 hotel room if he is a non-champ and 3 plane tix and 2 hotel rooms if he is the champ. This seems pretty meager to me, at least in the case where you are champ. Also, he only gets 4 tix to the events he f!ghts in.

8. There is a pretty broad code of conduct provision that requires the f!ghter to conduct himself "with commonly accepted standards of decency, social convention and morals". I'm pretty sure every UFC f!ghter has breached this provision. Also, neither the f!ghter, nor any of his managers, trainers and a.ssistants are permitted to wear any clothing or ornamentation or tattoo that is lewd, obscene, offensive, defamatory, discriminatory or inappropriate as determined by the ufc, in its sole discretion. Brown Pride!

9. If a f!ghter claims to be injured, the ufc can: (a) declare that it has satisfied its obligation to give the f!ghter one of his contracted f!ghts without compensation or (b) cut the f!ghter. This may be a reason why some f!ghters (e.g. hendo) are reluctant to inform zuffa when they are injured until they are absolutely sure they cannot perform. The ufc can also cut you after one loss.

10. The ufc has a right to match clause that is similar to bellator’s with a key difference. The ufc only has to match the “financial terms and conditions” of a third party offer. Probably would have been better to only have to match “guaranteed” financial terms”, but its still better than having to match the terms generally, which theoretically could be anything. Funny thing is, most of the other language is verbatim the same as bellator’s right of first refusal, so it looks like there is some truth to the allegation that bellator “stole” zuffa’s contract…but then zuffa modified the language to add “financial”. Also, its true that zuffa has the right to match even after they cut you.

11. There is a pretty comprehensive release and covenant not to sue that covers any injury, illness, damage, loss or harm to the f!ghter resulting from the f!ghters participation in events and promotional events or any activities a.ssociated therewith. I understand the need for a release for injuries and the like sustained in a f!ght, but this goes well beyond that when it includes damages, losses or harm for a.ssociated activities. What if the ufc does something negligently or recklessly that causes a loss to a f!ghter – why should the f!ghter waive its rights to sue zuffa?


Last edited by Zaosyn; 05-15-2013 at 07:23 AM..
 5 years ago '08        #18
AnyGiven 39 heat pts39
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 TRILL SH1T said:
Something I still can't wrap my head around is how is Floyd and Pacquiao making 20, 30, 40 million dollars a f!ght and GSP and Anderson Silva are making no where near those numbers; i dnt think they've even made a third of what Floyd made last week... Even up and coming f!ghters are making upwards to 1,000,000+ per f!ght: Broner, Garcia, Alvares.... How can this be when boxing is supposed to be "dead" and MMA at a all time high?
Problem is you and everybody else compares Mayweather to UFC f!ghters. You're not even suppose to compare Mayweather to other boxers. He's in his own realm. With base pay and ppv points Silva and GSP do make that Alvarez, Broner, Mosley, Pacquiao, etc money.
 5 years ago '07        #19
Jago 1030 heat pts1030 OP
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 Zaosyn said:
MMA is not a sport that is gonna be here in 100 years and if it is gonna be here in 100 years, UFC isn't. Dana and boys are just cashing in and trying to preserve the sport for as long as they can. UFC isn't as hot as it was years ago and we can expect things to get sh*ttier once Anderson and GSP retire befor they get better.

Here's some cliff notes about the contract that I stole from someone on the underground
Those are some Diddy-esque contracts.
 5 years ago '05        #20
HiRolliN 109 heat pts109
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Dana White and the Fertitta brothers have the MMA circuit in choke hold and thats the reason why mma f!ghters sign those slave contracts. no other company can pay f!ghters what zuffa is offering and unfortunately for the f!ghters zuffa is not paying anything that is close to fair payment unless your on ufc's top 10 p4p list.


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