It's pretty common knowledge at this point that making it into the UFC doesn't result in immediate riches and financial security. In fact, more and more stories continue to pour out featuring fighters struggling and going broke fighting for the organization. Here's the latest disheartening tale: #8 ranked bantamweight Michael McDonald can't even afford a camp right now, so he's stuck working a second job until he can save up enough to train. Via ESPN:
"I'm trying to make enough money right now to pay my bills and still have a little savings for a camp," McDonald said. "And it's tough because I don't know if camp will be perfect and I don't know if I'll pay for one, only to have my opponent back out. It's always iffy."
"My goal is to fight, but I also have to keep my possessions," McDonald said. "I've borrowed money before and racked up $15,000 in debt in order to train like a professional athlete. And I've went through injuries and lost everything, twice. I've lost my home and moved back in with my parents.
"The worst part is you never really know if you have enough. You just get this chunk of money and you're saying, 'I hope this enough.' Let's say I have $20,000 in the bank. I think I'm good, start working my butt off, get injured and need surgery. By the time I get healthy, now I've got $5,000. What happens if I get injured again? I've had three hand surgeries and taken two years off before. You go into a lot of debt doing that."
"For the longest time, I haven't wanted to say anything about this," McDonald said. "When people open their mouths and talk about how they're not paid enough, it seems like they disappear. I'm to a point now where I have nothing to lose. The UFC isn't paying my bills as it is."
McDonald doesn't even sound particularly bitter about it, saying he still plans to keep fighting for the UFC in his quest to become bantamweight champion. Unless of course he gets disappeared for revealing the dire straights he's in. And it's not like he's one of those fighters you assume must be making it rain in the clubs. Out of all the expenses laid out in the ESPN article, the most frivolous thing we could spot was his habit of tithing to his church.
But anyone who spends over two years on the sidelines from their job is going to have some serious financial trouble. McDonald was out from December of 2013 to January of 2016, something that's certainly not the norm. Still, it gives you an idea of how injuries or bad luck can derail a promising UFC fighter's career. How many stars have failed to shine because the UFC's purse strings are too tight, we wonder?