Joe Rogan Opens Up On The UFC’s Fighter Pay Issue
In the past few weeks, Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal have both openly criticised the UFC for paying their fighters less than what they deserve. With Henry Cejudo also retiring from the sport, citing how much he gets paid as a major reason; fighter pay is the hot topic in MMA right now.
Now Joe Rogan has had his say. Speaking on his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” (transcribed by MMA Fighting), the long standing UFC commentator said he believes that the lack of competition between promotions has a negative impact on fighter pay.
“Right now, in particular, there is probably less money because there is no live gate, and that’s an extreme amount of money,” Rogan said. “But there’s also fighters that agree to certain deals. They agree to like, an eight fight deal at X amount per fight, and then they become more popular and then they want to renegotiate their deal, and the UFC is like, ‘Look, we’re just trying to stay open. We’re not going to renegotiate anything. You can take it or you can leave it, but this is what it is.’ I think it’s a matter of that.
“Looking at it from the fighters’ perspective, fighters would certainly be better off if there was more competition. That’s always how it works. So whether it’s Bellator or ONE FC or all these different companies, the more of those there are, the more World Series of Fighting, Professional Fighting League, whatever the f*** it’s called now, the more those rise, the better it is for everyone.”
Despite the issue being raised by a number of fighters, Dana White has stuck to his guns. The UFC is currently the only MMA promotion running live shows, in light of the global restrictions in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And Rogan believes that’s a big factor for fighters earning reduced salaries.
“It’s not a monopoly in that you do have choices, but there’s one clear, top of the food chain choice,” Rogan said. “ But it’s because they do it the best. They’re also the only ones that are having fights during this quarantine. The only people that are putting on any live sporting events, but they’re also part of a company in WME that’s hurting, really, really bad. So there’s not a lot of money to throw around. To keep the doors open, to keep people employed, a lot of money is missing. All these shows got cancelled, there’s all these audience members that aren’t gonna be there, that aren’t buying tickets, so it’s tricky. So this is why I think they’re complaining about fighter pay.”
Even though Rogan understands things from the company’s point of view, he still believes that fighters deserve “the most amount of money you can possibly get” just because of the nature of the sport.
“I think they should get paid more. I think everybody should get paid more. I think it’s a crazy way to make a living. I think you should get the most amount of money you can possibly get. But it’s also a business and I think that if they are struggling as much as I think they are – I don’t talk finances with them but I know that WME, the people who own it, are hurting, bad. They’re laying people off. Most businesses are hurting and all the entertainment businesses are f***ed. . . So what do they do? That’s what I think. But when it comes to me as a human that likes fighting, I know f***ing dangerous that s*** is. You should get paid an incredibly generous amount of money to step into a cage fight for millions of people to see.”
Do you agree with Joe Rogan’s comments on fighter pay?