Dana White and the UFC are often criticized for not compensating fighters well.
And, a quick glance at a majority of recent UFC payouts – sans superstars such as Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre, etc. – more or less confirms this argument.
Cheap, greedy and money-hungry are all words that have been used to describe the Zuffa MMA machine.
Ultimate Fight Night (UFN) at Miramar, however, is an entirely different story.
On December 13, the UFC will stage a special live event in an aircraft hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California. It is the first ever live UFC event on a military base, showcasing a welterweight extravaganza headlined by Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Riggs.
Here's the kicker:
The UFC auctioned only five – yes, five – pairs of tickets to the general public for the event, the proceeds for which will benefit the Marine Corps Community Services Quality of Life Programs for the Marines and Families.
The rest of the crowd will comprise about 3,000 United States Marines.
Indeed, Dana White is leaving a whole lot of money on the table. And according to the announcement from the UFC back in November, here's the reason:
"We are holding this fight at Miramar as our way of saluting the brave men and women of the United States Military fighting oversees in the name of freedom."
For years, the UFC has had a special relationship with the United States military. There is an unspoken bond or shared "warrior spirit" that exists between mixed martial artists and soldiers.
Both prepare to go to war, whether it's in a cage or on the battlefield.
Some UFC fighters, in fact – Hall of Famer Randy Couture and heavyweight Brandon Vera to name just two – are military veterans themselves.
Last night, "Inside the UFC" aired some footage of Joe Riggs and Karo Parisyan hanging out with the troops in Miramar and demonstrating some fighting techniques. Tito Ortiz is a huge supporter of the US military, making appearances at Camp Pendleton and other military bases in the past (when Jenna is permitted, of course).
And, in probably the biggest show of support, the UFC earlier this year sent Randy Couture, Rich Franklin and Rachelle Leah to Iraq.
Here's a snip from Couture on TheNatural.tv:
"They recognized that we're willing to put our butts on a plane and take time out to fly over there and meet them where they're working, see what they do, listen to what they have to say, and put forth that effort, outside of the typical celebrity that's either speaking out against the war or says they support the troops, but wouldn't get on a plane and go to a warzone. And the comment was made to us on several occasions that ‘we can't believe you guys actually came over here. Thank you so much, you made my year.' Most of those guys are over there for 12 month deployments away from their families and their children. So I had the feeling that they were very excited that we went over and it gave them something to talk about and something to think about other than the day to day grind."
UFN at Miramar is also going to give our troops another something to talk about. Dana White and the UFC, as well as the fighters, should be commended for their efforts.
It's in no way cheap.