The talk of UFC fighter pay isn’t about to die down and go away, at least not while the promotion is dealing with top athletes waiting for better contracts. But that doesn’t mean every fighter in the promotion is looking for a bigger slice of the UFC pie.
At least one top talent seems to believe there are very good reasons why the promotion deserves the vast share of revenue generated from UFC events. To hear former Bellator champion and lightweight title contender Michael Chandler say it on a recent episode of Jeremy Piven’s ‘How U Livin J Piven‘ podcast, Dana White just works harder than the fighters.
“And that’s why I’ve always been – and I think I take criticism for that from fighters – because I don’t have a problem with the ‘fighter pay’ argument in quotes and not- quote,” Chandler explained. “I think people think we should make a lot more money because the UFC makes a ton of money on their shows. Well, the UFC has been around since 1993. Dana White has had 10,000 sleepless nights when most of us fighters just show up to practice and go to bed, laying our heads on the pillow and going after it – and being paid a living wage for what we do.
“For me, I was able to monetize things outside of my fights,” he continued. “And you always see guys on the mic saying the UFC should pay more – or the media should say the UFC should pay more – and it’s never the guys that are there that have their own YouTube channels. , getting movie roles, developing their fitness & wellness lifestyle programs, selling products; doing all the different things that we can do as fighters, because we are independent contractors. our platform, our name and our likeness – the UFC owns it, and they can use a photo and video of me in whatever they want – but I can sell shirts, I can sell hats, I can do whatever I want I can be in your next movie [clears throat], I do not know? We can do whatever we want.
“I still think there are people in the lower echelons of society who are still throwing rocks at the people above them, when it takes the same amount of energy to reach and grab the next rung to get up to get there. It’s kind of been my thought process on that, and I’ve kind of been a self-starter and a self-motivated type of guy.
It should be noted that several fighters over the years have struggled to “do whatever they want” under contract with the UFC. Whether it’s gear or fight week sponsorship, competing in other non-MMA sports, or in the past contract language that restricted fighters from engaging in dangerous activities like riding motorcycles or wakeboarding, working with the promotion can come with significant bonuses, but it’s not without limits.
Chandler is coming off a second-round knockout win over former UFC interim champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 274. The win broke a two-fight skid, with losses to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira in 2021. After the victory, Chandler called for a second shot at the UFC lightweight title or, failing that, a chance to face former two-time champion and UFC superstar Conor McGregor. It is not yet known when he could be back in the Octagon.