A hot topic of controversy in MMA, and specifically surrounding the UFC, is fighter pay. Some of the media has shined a spotlight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and what they believe to be an unfair and low pay scale. I believe that this criticism of the UFC is absolutely flawed and should be reconsidered.
First of all, nobody, including UFC management, is forcing any of the athletes to fight, despite claims that the organization is a monopoly, which it isn’t (topic for another time). People choose to be fighters and are not forced into the profession, just as a grocery clerk isn’t forced to be a grocery clerk and a bus driver isn’t forced to be a bus driver. With that said, if they pay was as horrible as some of the media make it out to be, then fighters would chose to switch to one of the many other professions are world has to offer.
Secondly, the UFC only releases the base pay for fighters as required by the athletic commission of the state that the event was held in. This means that no one, besides the fighters and their managers, actually know what they are paid. For example, Nick Diaz was recently fined for testing positive for marijuana metabolites after his fight with Carlos Condit. When that fine came down it was released that Diaz had received a $300,000 “showing up to the press conference” bonus. The UFC has turned many fighters into millionaires over the years, and that doesn’t even include the large amounts of money that top fighters are paid by their sponsors.