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Dana White on UFC fighter pay: ‘These guys get paid what they’re supposed to get paid’

MMA: AUG 09 UFC - Dana White’s Contender Series Photo by Amy Kaplan/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) won’t be making any significant fighter pay changes for as long as Dana White’s around.

And that could be until at least 2029.

One of the consistently hotter topics in mixed martial arts (MMA) revolves around the issue of fighter pay across all promotions. With UFC being the biggest and most prominent organization in the world, it’s often targeted as underpaying when it appears to have more than enough funds to go around.

In 2022, fighter compensation tallies out at about 19 to 20 percent, a number that’s been consistent for 11 years, according to Forbes. The base pay for a UFC athlete is $12,000 to show and $12,000 to win — a number many see as too low for the ultimate proving ground and one that White doesn’t plan on changing.

“Listen, there aren’t too many things you can talk s—t about the UFC about,” White told GQ Sports. “If you look at what we’ve done with the business in the last 22 years, it’s incredible. Never been done ever, the things that we’ve done in the fight business. You always have to have something to b—ch about, I guess.

“Fighters always want to make more money,” he continued. “Boxing has absolutely been destroyed because of money and all the things that go on. [A change in fighter pay is] never gonna happen while I’m here, believe me, these guys get paid what they’re supposed to get paid. They eat what they kill. They get a percentage of the pay-per-view (PPV) buys and the money is spread out amongst all the fighters.”

White didn’t do the UFC fighter pay debate any favors recently when gifting Kyle Forgeard of the Nelk Boys $250,000 (in cash) for his birthday. However, he made it a point to highlight it was his money rather than UFC’s and that people should continue to “mind your own f—king business.” In the GQ chat, he reiterated that sentiment along with a previous solution.

“If you don’t like it, there’s a simple solution to this problem,” White said. “Go start your own MMA organization, no buried entry, knock yourself out paying whatever you want to pay ‘em. It’s been done before. Hasn’t worked out for other guys. Not well. Mind your business.”

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