Every time I see some member of the MMA media using Floyd Mayweather to make a point about fighter pay in MMA, and the UFC specifically, I have to laugh at them. They make some comparison to an MMA fighter and how much Mayweather makes to illustrate that boxers make more than MMA fighters. They are then surprised when the fans do not agree with them and then the fans are accused of siding with the billionaires. I am here to explain why the members of the media keeping missing the point with their argument and why the fans do not respond the way they want.
First we will start with Money Mayweather. Stop using him for your comparisons because it is really just stupid. Mayweather was the top paid athlete according to Forbes magazine. The top paid period. He also makes way more than most other boxers. He is the king of PPV having been a part of the number one and two biggest PPV’s in boxing history.
It is especially funny when they compare Mayweather to someone like Myles Jury, who is just into the top ten of his weight class. While Mayweather is begrudgingly considered the best pound-for-pound in boxing.
It is quite simple boxing has been around for five to six times as long as MMA. It has a deeper fan base and there is a lot more money involved – period. Trying to get fans to feel that MMA fighters are unfairly paid by using Mayweather is like using Stephen King to illustrate how little money playwrights make.
The problem is that it would take a lot of research to really breakdown what the average boxer makes versus the average MMA fighter. I also do not think that would be the point. What they would find out is that the majority of the boxers in the world do not make anything near what Mayweather does. Yes, there are many boxers making more than most of the MMA athletes but at the low-end of boxing the pay is actually worse than MMA, often in the $2000 range.
The other big issue is the apparent disconnect between the MMA and the fans. Another example that was used recently by Jonathan Snowden involved Cowboy Cerrone. I like Snowden’s writing a lot and consider him one of the better journalists but I think do not thinks he understands the average fan on this issue.
Snowden Tweeted, “After taxes, trainer, manager and a 20k training camp, 140k becomes 60k pretty quick. #Cowboyup” I am not going to argue whether or not the 140k becomes 60k. No, I will accept the 60k. It is a substantial amount of money. It is more than my wife and I will make combined in a year before taxes. I suspect it is more than the average MMA fan makes. It is hard to get behind him as being underpaid. It is also a bad example because that man clearly loves to fight. He also has some expensive habits. I saw him on the UFC countdown show riding around on some very expensive snowmobiles and building a gym on his ranch so he can train at home. Literally at home. He is not the guy to use to make a point about how little fighters make unless you are willing to show how he has snowmobiles while Dana White has Ferrari’s.
I am all for fighters getting paid more but you are not going to get fans to rally behind that cause by using those kinds of examples. Maybe talk to Chris Leben who has said he wishes he had driven a truck instead of fighting. He might give people the kind of perspective that is needed on this issue.
It also does not help when Carla Esparza is spending 1k on a sundae before tip and taxes. What she paid for that sundae would cover our rent, cable and cell phone for a month. I am not saying she does not deserve the sundae. It is her money, she earned it and she should spend it however she likes. To the victor go the spoils according to Seinfeld but when fighters are literally shitting gold it is hard to feel sympathy for them about how little they make.
As fair as supporting billionaires it would help if someone could show us how much the Fertitta brothers and Dana make off from the UFC. The big problem is that no one has those numbers nor do we know exactly what the fighters make because there is money being paid that is not reported to the media. Both Dana and fighters reference getting paid money from the UFC at various times.
The thing that no one seems willing to do is really show the life that Dana lives. Then maybe it would resonate more with the fans. I am talking about showing us the house he lives in, the various Ferrari’s and other cars he owns, talking about his personal chef and other elements of his life that would illustrate how different he is than the average fan. I suspect I know why no one has done anything like that and that is because they do not want to end up like Loretta Hunt and Josh Gross. Which is why I suspect I see the fighter pay issue being brought up on Twitter and not in some well researched article by a top MMA journalist. They do like their free front row seats and press conference access.
While fighting is dangerous and a tough sport with a short career it is not the only one out there like that. According to Salary.com the average Fire Fighter in the U.S. makes $43,167 a year before taxes. Which is exactly $16,833 less than Cowboy made for one fight after taxes. The same site has the average salary for a police officer at $52,316 which is getting closer to what Cowboy makes for one fight.
To make this point a little clearer a police officer working a 40 hour work week makes 42 cents a minute. While Cowboy made 4k per minute for his fight with Jury. If you want fans to get behind fighter pay increasing it will help if you stop using numbers for one fight that are more than the average fan makes in a year. If you want us care show that you really care and do the work. Write a well researched article and do not just use Twitter if you do truly care about this issue and not just winding up the morons on Twitter. Also, if you engage with idiots on Twitter you really should not be surprised when you get stupid responses from them.
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