Up-and-coming mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters hoping to bank beaucoup bucks when they finally make it to the big time, may be in for a rude awakening after they sign on the dotted line (and not just because of this).
Especially if they compete for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
While attraction sponsors has proved to be challenging for anyone outside the best of the best, it's become nearly impossible for those athletes relegated to the promotion's new "Fight Pass" digital network, as companies are less-than-enthusiastic about buying spots that won't get
any mainstream exposure.
But as UFC President Dana White explained at yesterday's UFC 170 media scrum (watch it), that's a problem for the fighters, not him.
"So what, we shouldn't do Fight Pass? So should we never try new things? So what do you want me to do? Because we have Fight Pass and people don't want to sponsor them? I don't know what to tell you. It's not my fucking problem. Getting sponsorship is a problem. It's tough. it's hard to do. That question is ridiculous. If a guy fights on Fight Pass, first of all, he's getting paid to fight. That's what he's getting paid for. That's what he does. He gets paid to fight. How sponsorship works out for a guy is not my problem. That is not my problem. He's a fighter, he's getting paid to fight, period, end of story. Whatever extra money he makes outside of the UFC with sponsors and all that shit, that's his fucking deal."
White argues that fighters sign a contract to compete for a pre-determined salary and that's what the promotion is responsible for paying them, in addition to whatever performance bonuses are awarded at each event. Any income sought outside of that agreement rests squarely on the shoulders of the talent.
It just may have been easier two years ago, when your choices were pay-per-view (PPV) or a FOX-branded network.
Welcome to UFC 2.0.