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« | Home | »

Wednesday war room: UFC winning the PR battle?

By Zach Arnold | October 30, 2007

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Well, we know the Couture vs. White feud has jumped the shark when Time Magazine starts covering it.

Here is the video of ESPN’s E:60 TV segment yesterday covering Miletich Fighting systems.

Trevor Prangley talks about the upcoming Strikeforce Middleweight tournament in November. Here’s an interview with Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua.

Meet Matt Gudgeon, who is coming to Las Vegas soon.

ProElite.com will stream Fury Fight Championships’ 12/6 event on their web site.

The ongoing UFC vs. Randy Couture saga… We’ll start with an article from UFC’s HP. Second, here’s MMA Weekly’s write-up on the situation. The Fight Network has a recap of UFC’s Tuesday afternoon press conference. Steve Cofield has lots of audio highlights. Dana White continues to disparage Fedor. Dave Meltzer has an article at Yahoo Sports about the press conference, and notice this disclaimer in the middle of the article:

(Editor’s note: Yahoo! Sports reported Couture is slated to earn between $13 million and $15 million, including potential bonuses, over the course of his deal. Yahoo! Sports did not make any claim about the specific amount of money Couture would receive for any one individual fight.)

Kevin Iole was in Dana White’s office on Monday. It looks like UFC is winning the PR war. Just ask Steve Sievert and Tom Kim. MMA Opinion compares Couture vs. White to what happened with Eric Bischoff and Ric Flair in WCW. Luke Thomas on Fight Network Radio (audio here) says UFC has brought this trouble upon themselves.

Inside the UFC bonus system.

One interesting note – this is really the first major LA Times article (that I can recall) covering the story, and it happens to be coverage of UFC’s press conference. The same with The Canadian Press and NBC Sports. UFC has been successful in getting their side of the story out there in the mass media without those media outlets contacting Couture or anyone associated with him for comment on the latest press conference.

Fightlinker has posted a PDF file of Randy Couture’s checks and paystubs from Zuffa LLC. The biggest potential bombshell comes from Sam Caplan and Steve Cofield, which is that UFC may be in the process of re-writing some fighter contracts. This is important news, given that we may start learning more details about what a standard Zuffa contract looks like. Here’s an interesting thing to consider about the issue of free agency regarding players in Major League Baseball vs. fighters who fulfill their UFC contracts. Curt Schilling said that the Boston Red Sox have up to 15 days in exclusive rights to negotiate with him after he filed for free agency. With UFC contracts (according to Adam Swift’s Sherdog article), the organization has up to 60 days of exclusive negotiations and a full one-year period to match any offers made to a fighter coming off of a finished UFC deal.

A significant feature of the standard contract is the exclusive negotiation period and matching period that follow the expiration of the term. The fighter agrees to negotiate exclusively with Zuffa for 60 days following the term. Following expiration of the exclusive negotiation period, Zuffa has a one-year period in which it has the right to match any offer made to the fighter.

The IFL is getting rid of city-based teams and will instead focus on the various fight camps. Eddie Goldman has an audio Q & A with Jay Larkin. An interview with John Gunderson. Vladimiri Matyushenko has re-signed with the promotion.

Shooto Finland returns on November 17th.

Topics: IFL, MMA, Media, Pro Elite, StrikeForce, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 49 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

49 Responses to “Wednesday war room: UFC winning the PR battle?”

  1. David says:

    I told you guys, and I still fully believe that this PR that, I am almost sure the UFC is orchestrating, is purely for marketing purposes. Randy has nothing to worry about. Dana White set this up, he is the Vince McMahon that you guys thought was never possible. Zach was right all along!

    Dana White bashing Fedor? Complete discredit of D-Dubya. How could he say anything negative about Fedor, or Barnett, when he is too cheap to cough up the money to actually watch the match. So much for the “dream matches.”

  2. Body_Shots says:

    This thing looks like it’s going to court and all parties seem to be ready for legal action. Prepare for the shit storm.

  3. white ninja says:

    If Randy wanted to fight the “man” – he needed a more accurate story and a more sophisticated PR adviser than his current wife

    Fighting an organisation takes brain power and resources and stamina – especially when the issue is all about money – and there is a also a bad smell of some backroom movements to get him to fight Fedor outside of UFC – hope he doesnt blow his legacy

  4. Rob says:

    I’d have to agree that the more facts come to light, the worse I think Couture looks. I’ve loved his fight performances and his attitude… but he’s coming off badly here. His decision making process doesn’t seem quite on point.

  5. Body_Shots says:

    [and there is a also a bad smell of some backroom movements to get him to fight Fedor outside of UFC]

    That’s what I’m thinking, I think he has a deal in place (not anything on paper, but numbers wise) to fight outside of the UFC – If that isn’t the case and this isn’t the sham I think it is they probably could work it out…but the way it’s going now I don’t see how this isn’t going to court.

  6. Ivan Trembow says:

    “One interesting note – this is really the first major LA Times article (that I can recall) covering the story, and it happens to be coverage of UFC’s press conference. The same with The Canadian Press and NBC Sports. UFC has been successful in getting their side of the story out there in the mass media without those media outlets contacting Couture or anyone associated with him for comment on the latest press conference.”

    Funny how that works, huh? The UFC has successfully twisted the situation to portray Randy Couture as being primarily a money-hungry, rich athlete (which most people would lean towards hating), as opposed to primarily being a fighter who says he has felt disrespected by Zuffa for the past several years and also feels (after talking to numerous other top UFC fighters about their pay) that White and Fertitta lied to him about being the second-highest paid fighter in the company (which most people would lean towards not hating).

    The LA Times’ photo caption is all that most sports fans are going to read before making up their mind: “Randy Couture, who quit the Ultimate Fighting Championship as reigning heavyweight champion over a money dispute, made $2.9 million this past year, according to UFC officials.”

    The casual sports fan reaction will be to see the $2.9 million figure and say, “Oh my god, he made $2.9 million in one year?”

    What you’re not going to read in that article, or hear in any Zuffa press conference about how they “take care of their fighters,” is anything about Zuffa’s $222 million in gross PPV revenue in 2006 (and being on pace to break that mark as of earlier this year), or about Zuffa’s $100 million+ renewal with Spike TV (and that was the figure before the record-breaking ratings of UFC 75).

    Those numbers are a lot more meaningful to the big picture of why Couture feels that he and other UFC fighters are underpaid relative to what Zuffa is making. And ultimately, the stereotypical sports fan response of, “Oh my god, he made $2.9 million in one year?” is a lot less damaging to Zuffa’s bottom line than, “Oh my god, you mean these billionaires whose PPV events gross tens of millions of dollars per event are still paying a lot of their fighters a few thousand dollars per fight to compete in what they call ‘The Super Bowl of MMA?’”

    from the LA Times article: “A UFC source said Couture was angered when White balked at the fighter’s request for an additional $500,000 bonus after the Gonzaga bout.

    “I don’t know what I did wrong,” White said. “We’re running a business here.””

    lol at the UFC feeding info to media outlets and then taking a public position of, “Who? What? Me? I hate talking about money!”

  7. johnni says:

    Ivan, you have to admit that Randy (or his agent, or his wife, or whatever other handlers he has, or maybe all of the above) made it far too easy for UFC to turn the public against him. Rail all you want about UFC but it has been one misstep after another from Randy’s side.

  8. Ivan Trembow says:

    Finally, I said this in the post yesterday but it bears repeating now because the mainstream media is repeating Zuffa’s ridiculous claim that the majority of UFC fighters legitimately don’t want anyone to know how much they’re making (and thus to know how much the other fighters are making), and they’re doing it without pointing out how ridiculous it is.

    Those reports, such as the one in the LA Times, are quoting from the parts of the press conference where Dana White said that he hates talking about money, one of which went like this according to Fightlinker’s report: “Dana opens up by saying he doesn’t like talking about money because most of the fighters don’t like talking about money.”

    Really? It’s because the fighters don’t like talking about money? It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that open disclosure of salaries as in every other major sport puts all of the athletes on an equal playing field when it comes time for negotiations because they know what their peers are making?

    It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the fighters might band together and/or demand more money if the fighters were to talk to each other about money, and subsequently find out what their peers are actually making straight from the horse’s mouth of each individual fighter… as opposed to having absolutely no recource but to to take Zuffa at their word when they say things to fighters like, “You’re the second highest paid fighter in the whole company”?

    It has nothing to do with that? Nothing to do with the fact that it’s precisely that— fighters talking to each other about their UFC paychecks— that led to Couture figuring out that he was lied to in the first place? It’s because the fighters “don’t like” talking about money?

  9. Body_Shots says:

    How’s has he been disrepected Ivan? For getting paid the money in his contract? For getting numerous title shots, commentary positions & loads of tv time dedicated to him?

    What were not going to here from YOU is how Zuffa probably didn’t net 40% of the reported $222 million in gross PPV revenue, how they’re probably not going to see any of the reported $100 million tv contract until next year. How these billionaires sunk tens of millions of dollars into the company before it recently became profitable. Probably not going to hear about other high priced payouts (in addition to Couture’s) either or how Randy either lied or misrepresented himself during his press conference but I bet you call yourself a journalist.

    There a lot sides to the story of fighter payouts compared to what Zuffa actually nets, but that’s another issue for people far more knowledgable than yourself.

    The bottom line is Couture is being paid a lot more money than he said he was in his press conference, he was paid a signing bonus (the god damn thing said signing bonus on it), he broke a confidentiality agreement which leaves us why Randy feels “disrespected” – his pay in relation to others (but it’s not about money right?) an issue that may or may not have merit. I honestly don’t think Zuffa is paying fighters too much more than what Randy is getting.

  10. Kev says:

    Ivan’s not going to answer your question johnni. I don’t think Ivan is capable to admitting fault on any party opposed to Zuffa in any way.

  11. white ninja says:

    Ivan – the truth matters very little when you decide to wage a PR media war. Randy fired the first shot by calling his press conference; and if you go to a PR media war, the first victim is the truth, which gets taken outside and executed (by both sides) as soon as anybody hears the first shots.

    the rest is simply a spin war. unfortunately for randy, whatever the merits (if any) of his case, from what ive seen of the handling of his cause so far, he is about to get buried deep unless he kisses and makes up with dana – despite how distateful that may seem to him right at this moment

    Ivan – by the way, one thing that you shouldnt neglect to remember, is that despite Dana (and the Fertittas) not being above telling a few big lies, neither are the fighters – especially when they talk to each other.

    deciding to start a public war with your main source of money over what other fighters told you they were getting paid is…. well….. just plain stupid

    seems to me that randy has been getting some pretty crappy advice from somebody

  12. RussianMMA says:

    “I’d have to agree that the more facts come to light, the worse I think Couture looks.”

    Isn’t it great that mainstream media doesn’t cover this scandal and Couture’s image is not hurt among the casual Randy fans! :)

  13. Jason Bennett says:

    Situations such as this Randy vs. Zuffa debacle and the hubris surrounding it are why MMA isn’t taken seriously as a sport amongst casual fans or even non-MMA fans. No matter what your level of passion for the sport may be, how can you consider activities such as the grossly misrepresented fighter payout system to be the most scandalous pay system in sports.

    Bonus checks given at the promoter’s discretion, non-contracted handshake deals regarding signing bonuses and other additional bonuses, this is a very shady way to conduct business amongst a major global sport leader. I understand other sports may have similar bonuses, but in MMA/UFC, bonuses are not really bonuses – it is the huge majority of top level talents entire pay. If my salary was $500 weekly, but my paycheck was $5000 weekly, what exactly is my worth.

    As Ivan Trembow excellently pointed out, athletes need to have full disclosure so they know exactly what their value on the market really is. For those who think fighter payout should only be a concern of those involved in the contract, you need to wake up. Many of the absolutely best matchups will simply never happen due to these athletes not having a firm understanding on the entire market value for themselves; resulting in either fighting for too little or getting grossly overpaid in competing promotions that refuse to back down.

    Now that the cat’s out of the bag we can point out that Randy Couture being offered $3 MILLION to fight Fedor, Matt Hughes was offered $6 MILLION to fight Eddie Alvarez; is that overpaying for talent? If you don’t think so, you need your head examined.

    Meanwhile Rich Franklin’s old contract continues to pay him a whopping $45,000. “But what about the bonuses he’ll get” – my point exactly. Franklin’s value is far beyond $45,000 and I completely understand that it’s an old contract and we’re all certain he makes much more, but it simply is not professional business practice in the sports world to hide an athlete’s value and cloud not only their worth but also their peers worth.

    It’s possible that the Zuffa defenders will be just fine when they learn that Paul Buentello refused to accept a contract where he would get paid in Dairy Queen combo meals but with ‘ADDITIONAL DISCRETIONARY BONUS CHECKS AND ONE YEARS WORTH OF FREE BLIZZARDS (one per month for term of 12 month period)’.

    Dana is not only similar to Vince McMahon, he’s much worse. At least McMahon only promotes entertainment. Zuffa is still insisting it’s a real legitimate sports promoter.

    Prove it.

  14. Zack – Matt Gudgeon isn’t headed to the UFC. The article is misleading. It states that he’s going to be fighting a UFC veteran on December 15th at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, where IFO-Steele Cage is slated to hold an event that evening.

  15. Zach Arnold says:

    Thanks for the heads up, John.

  16. Grape Knee High says:

    “As Ivan Trembow excellently pointed out, athletes need to have full disclosure so they know exactly what their value on the market really is.”

    Why? Do you get this information from your employer? Does anyone here know exactly what everyone makes at their jobs? How do you decide what is fair market value at your current job?

    Just because *some* sports — not all — disclose salaries, doesn’t mean that Zuffa should be compelled to, in order to conform to some fictional notion of what constitutes a “real sport”.

  17. Zach Arnold says:

    Just because *some* sports — not all — disclose salaries, doesn’t mean that Zuffa should be compelled to, in order to conform to some fictional notion of what constitutes a “real sport”.

    The better argument to make is that UFC should be more forthcoming in the financial process with fighters simply to alleviate headaches in dealing with the talent. As Dave Meltzer pointed out on Bryan Alvarez’s radio show last week, UFC put themselves in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t-situation by not disclosing all the information (the fighters either think the PPV buyrates stink or else they’re thinking that they are getting screwed financially).

    The larger problem potentially in the future is one that pro-wrestling fans have seen with WWE, which is that you try to motivate and manipulate talent out of fear as opposed to out of desire. UFC likes to say they are the major leagues of MMA, so if the perception is that UFC = the business, it’s pretty hard for a fighter who wants to make a career out of this industry to refuse a far-reaching Zuffa deal. In the case of Couture, he shot himself in the foot by stating that he got an offer from BodogFight for $3 million/fight. As Jeff Thaler noted on Fight Opinion Radio, that really hurts any potential ‘contract of adhesion’ argument in court. However, the undercard fighters who have little or no financial resources can’t possibly challenge a Zuffa contract in court.

    UFC has done a great job of getting their message across in the mass media and Couture has taken a haphazard approach in terms of doing public relations on this front. However, to expect one-way loyalty (as we’ve seen today in articles like the one from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) is pretty disingenuous on the part of everyone. It’s worked for WWE and I’m sure it will work for UFC, but it doesn’t mean that it creates an entirely healthy environment.

  18. Grape Knee High says:

    “The better argument to make is that UFC should be more forthcoming in the financial process with fighters simply to alleviate headaches in dealing with the talent.”

    Zach, while this might alleviate some headaches, I think it will create other ones. Every fighter knowing full compensation of all other fighters will just create a culture of contract one-upsmanship that will only degenerate into wild salary inflation. That’s why all the major American sports all have soft or hard salary caps. This is precisely what Zuffa is trying to avoid.

    Again, let’s bring it back to a real life situation. I presume most of the intelligent, mature readers of this blog have jobs. And I assume some of you might be in managerial roles. Do regular businesses disclose salaries? Why not?

    As an employee, do you want to know what everyone else is making? Absolutely. As an employer, do you want everyone to know what everyone else is making? Heck no.

    I understand that some readers feel fighters are underpaid. Rather than point at Zuffa as some scheming slave master, everyone should be encouraging the fighters to ask for more. It is not realistic to hope that Zuffa will ever disclose salaries or pay more for their employees than they realistically have to. Why would they pay more than $3000 for undercard fighters when undercard fighters will accept that low salary?

  19. Ben says:

    There’s a workplace productivity/happiness blog that has some cogent thoughts on secret salaries.

  20. cyphron says:

    On one side is 45 Huddle, and on the other Is Ivan. Ivan’s disdain for Zuffa is so apparent, that it’s not even bias any more. If the WWE can survive without the Rock, then the UFC can survive without Randy. (Damn, wrestling analogy…)

    Why does Ivan think that athletes are entitled to at least 40% of revenues? Businesses take the risk and they reap the benefit. If atheletes have the market power to negotiate the 40% revenue sharing, then more power to them. Otherwise, there is no unwritten rule that the employers must share in wealth. Athletes are employees who benefit from the risk of the employers. They are just highly paid employees.

    Second, lets talk about respect. When the UFC was hemorraging money during the early 2000’s, did Randy offer to take a cut of his pay based on the performance of PPV? No, I think he would’ve gladly jumped ship had the UFC stop paying him what he’s worth. The UFC owe Randy for helping them all these years. But Randy also owes the UFC for making him who he is today. You can’t have one without the other right? Respect should go both ways.

    So Randy got knocked out twice and decided to retire. The UFC put him in the hall of fame. Randy then tells the UFC he wants to get back in the game and the UFC gave him a $500k guranteed signing bonus as part of his potential $1 mill plus per fight. This is AFTER he lost twice at a lower weight division and retired. Randy didn’t even have the guts to go back into LHW because he knew he couldn’t hang there. Don’t forget that Randy Couture ran to that lower weight division because he couldn’t handle the heavy hitters that kicked him out of the HW division in the first place. Randy said some one offered him 3 mill a fight is BS. Who the hell in their right mind would offer him that much money after he retired due to two KO losses? Randy, you’re not fooling any one.

    Randy is right, it’s about RESPECT. But it’s not Fedor that he feels he’s being disrepected against. It’s Chuck Liddell. Randy feels that he should be paid Chuck’s money since he is obviously the bigger draw. He’s right in that regard. Too bad, Randy is so confused he don’t even know what he’s talking about any more.

  21. The Gaijin says:

    Nice that you pretend like you’re going to examine both sides of the argument and then proceed to go on a completely one-sided and biased rant against the one side you don’t agree with.

    High comedy.

  22. I don’t see how the “jumped the shark” reference applies to Time giving coverage to the dispute. If anything, Time covering the dispute is the opposite effect of “jumping the shark.”

  23. ilostmydog says:

    LOL @ this whole situation. Zuffa haters and lovers are out in force.

  24. Sandra F says:

    “Bonus checks given at the promoter’s discretion, non-contracted handshake deals regarding signing bonuses and other additional bonuses, this is a very shady way to conduct business amongst a major global sport leader. ”

    And leads to major confusion / misunderstanding as to what the money was for.

    Couture thought he got a showerroom bonus in 2 parts. Zuffa says it was a signing bonus in 2 parts. But they are talking about the same cheques and the same money.

    So if Randy thought he got a shower room bonus for Sylvia but none for Gonzaga, there is the root of the problem – a misunderstanding of what the money he did receive was for … or miscommunication at the time of the discussion.

    For the record, I believe Randy. Nobody in their right mind is going to forget the discussion about NOT getting a signing bonus.

    How can the UFC record a shower room bonus (accounting wise) before the fight? So maybe at recording (the letter) it gets put as a signing bonus. It’s before the fight so it’s a signing bonus.

    To my knowledge, the UFC did not display any contract stating the specifics of a signing bonus.

  25. Michaelthebox says:

    Sandra, it seems that there are receipts showing that Randy cashed the first check in January. Thats some magical after-fight bonus accounting, right there.

  26. Grape Knee High says:

    “There’s a workplace productivity/happiness blog that has some cogent thoughts on secret salaries.”

    That’s a pretty interesting link. But I think the dissenters in the comments have much more cogent (and realistic) thoughts than the blogger, IMO.

  27. Sandra F says:

    He said they wouldn’t give him a signing bonus, but they would give him some of his after fight shower room bonus in advance, and the rest after which explains the cheque.

    BUT …

    And it pains me greatly to say this …

    … I’m feel like I’m dying … like Barrera’s wife …

    What Dana said about the signing bonus makes more SENSE. Half up front, half after you get to the fight old man.

    STILL

    This wouldn’t be a problem if it was straight in Randy’s contract.

    BUT …

    Randy would still have a problem about not getting a shower room bonus. He’d be mad because he didn’t get for either fight.

    And he’d be exactly where he is now. Screwed!

  28. cyphron says:

    Nice that you pretend like you’re going to examine both sides of the argument and then proceed to go on a completely one-sided and biased rant against the one side you don’t agree with.

    High comedy.

    I can always count on you to put in your shots, the straw man specialist, you. Where in my post did I stated that I was going to take both sides?

    Unlike some people here, and yes I mean you, I’ve always been quite observant of the facts. If tomorrow new facts show up, I am quite ready to change my stance on the issue. Can you?

  29. Zack says:

    Like I stated yesterday, I think the main controversy stems from the undisclosed tanning salon bonus.

  30. The Gaijin says:

    Straw man specialist?

    Where have I been bowling over strawmen?? I’m not the one that starts my post with: “There’s X’s point of view and there’s Y’s point of view…now let me ramble on for 4 paragraphs and point out any negatives about Y’s disdainful point of view and offer zero counterpoints or point out the strength in their argument”.

    If information actually comes out other than both sides trying to fight a PR war based on self-serving “credibility” statements, then I could foreseeably change my mind. But other than a self-flaggelating press conference where you see people dancing around with semantics to prove credibility vs. countless times being shown to have little credibility….I know what side of the fence I’m sitting on for now.

  31. The Gaijin says:

    On the otherhand,

    I’ve seen reports of contents of the contract…if these reports are true, regardless of who I believe about what’s being said (with regards to payments, handshake deals, ‘he said, she said’) – Couture’s fighting an uphill battle if those terms in the contract are held to be enforceable by the courts.

  32. Sean Sherk’s appeal is apparently being up for a postponement to Nov. 13th due to a packet of information being sent that was never handed to the members of the committee and now needing some kind of time period to mull over the data.

    November 13th is the new date.

  33. Dru Down says:

    I friend of mine was at the courthouse covering the hearings. According to him, Armando G. received the packet of information as well as Sherk’s exhibits, and failed to forward any of it to the members of the commission.

    CSAC running at full efficiency as usual…

  34. They’re also not allowing Ken Pavia to speak for Phil Baroni. Keystone Kops over there.

  35. cyphron says:

    “Where have I been bowling over strawmen?? I’m not the one that starts my post with: “There’s X’s point of view and there’s Y’s point of view…now let me ramble on for 4 paragraphs and point out any negatives about Y’s disdainful point of view and offer zero counterpoints or point out the strength in their argument”.

    LOL. Let me say again, where in my post did I say that I was going to take both points of view?

    See how conveniently you change the argument so that we’re talking a bout something else? My original statement was about Ivan’s negativity against the UFC and his position that atheletes are entitled to 40% of revenues. Then I wrote that Randy is clearly in the wrong about his talk of respect which he clearly did not show the UFC.

    Now, why don’t you write a rebuttal against what I actually WROTE instead of the fallacy that I was going to give a pro and con thesis on Ivan which was NEVER my intention, Mr Strawman.

  36. cyphron says:

    Oh yeah, if you go back on my post history, you can see that originally supported Randy Couture’s side on the issue. I have since changed my mind on that issue. It’s okay to admit you’re wrong. You should try that some time.

  37. Ian Dean says:

    LOL @ Matt Gudgeon

    Another UK “Fighter” talking himself up to the local UK press who believe all their lies. Yet if you are a legit fighter/promotion. They don’t seem to be interested

    He doesn’t even have a fight on the UK databases and seems to be a personal trainer. I’m going to do some digging as these kind of stories are quite common in the UK and they also revolve around people who are total unknowns in the UK MMA scene.

  38. lynchman says:

    According to copy of the letter sent to Randy, it was a signing bonus.

    Also, there is no denying that Randy lied about his PPV money. He said he had made about 500k, but had cashed checks for 900k.

    Did he forget about the other 400K or did he lie about it?

  39. CapnHulk says:

    Is Couture in charge of his own finances? If not, could he be being misled?

  40. Bryan says:

    “LOL. Let me say again, where in my post did I say that I was going to take both points of view?”

    You asserted that on the one side you have 45 Hurdle and on the other you have Ivan. This has the appearance of being a paragraph setting up a manner to discuss both sides which is what he charged you with. His interpretation of the sloppy manner in which you structured your argument is not a straw man argument.

    “Who the hell in their right mind would offer him that much money after he retired due to two KO losses? Randy, you’re not fooling any one.”

    A billionaire that paid big money to a Middleweight to fight a HW?

    “Randy is right, it’s about RESPECT. But it’s not Fedor that he feels he’s being disrepected against. It’s Chuck Liddell. Randy feels that he should be paid Chuck’s money since he is obviously the bigger draw. He’s right in that regard. Too bad, Randy is so confused he don’t even know what he’s talking about any more.”

    So he’s right that he’s a bigger draw than Liddell but he’s confused that he shouldn’t be compensated for the superior drawing power you state that he has?

    The only one that isn’t making any sense is you.

    Liddell has lost twice both times very badly; first round KO, tooled to a decision victory by a guy that Dana brought into feed to Chuck. Couture is “Captain America” he puts on good fights, wins against the odds and so has a good story that people can pick up on. There should be absolutely no question that he carries the ppv’s he is on. He obviously feels that he was not treated like the top guy in the company. This is the fault of the UFC it is their job to make their talent happy and to have them want to perform for the company. They obviously failed at that and so it’s their own fault.

    Also, your contention that he owes the UFC respect now because he didn’t take a pay cut when the UFC was “hemorraging money” is absurd. He may not have taken a pay cut but he also didn’t jump over to Japan for a bigger pay day, now did he? The UFC has made way more money off of his name than he is made from the UFC.

    And the speculation about where he should be and whether he has a justification for being upset is completely fruitless because the UFC operates in a shady manner and doesn’t put it out there for people to see. This leads to criticism for them being cheapskates when the fighters salaries are reported by the state athletic commissions and is now causing them problems because lockeroom talk has led to the belief in discrepancies between payouts. If they want the problems to go away they could simply stop doing things like “shower room” pay outs and report it for everyone to see, instead of expecting people to take their word for things.

  41. lynchman says:

    Randy is not a bigger draw than Chuck. Chuck’s smaller shows (Babalu) have done 500+k buys, with his biggest being just over one million, while Randy’s Biggest was a little over 500k.

  42. Zack says:

    No one draws as much as Jim Davis.

  43. THE HUNTER says:

    Ivan Trembow is an asshole.

    He rails on about the UFC playing games and using ‘PR wars’ and other misleading things…but then he goes and makes this post:

    ” is anything about Zuffa’s $222 million in gross PPV revenue in 2006″

    Hey Ivan, talk about misleading and talking about YOU intentionally using a misleading number of above to help prove your already heavily biased assnine views.

    The UFC never saw $222 million. That is the total take, but the UFC never saw that money. InDemand (the consortium that runs the ppv business model) reportedly keeps around 60% of the above figure. So that said, the UFC’s take was quite a bit less than that number. But then again, you knew that, but still intentionally quoted the higher figure, you lied to try and help prove a point.

    You are a lying asshole.

  44. Re: MMA fighters not having the same bargaining power as baseball players.

    The power that baseball players have comes from the fact that they collectively bargain. They unionized to gain this power.

    If MMA fighters want power in their negotiations, the answer is a simple one. They aren’t going to get it by attempting to negotiate separately. That answer has NEVER worked for employees attempting to get a bigger share of the profits of their company.

  45. white ninja says:

    unionise fighters…. gotta love that concept

  46. IceMuncher says:

    The only fighters that will unionize are the ones that feel like they’re getting treated poorly. The guys that are happy with their pay (which is almost everyone except Couture and Tito) aren’t going to risk their own livelyhoods and dreams on behalf of someone else who feels disrespected.

  47. klown says:

    Couture needs to steer the issue away from his personal experience with the UFC and turn his attention to other fighters, who are far more exploited than he. If the issue is “Couture vs UFC”, it will come off as a “Clash of the Millionaire Egos” and Couture will lose the PR war. Couture must frame it as “the Champion using his power and leverage to help less advantaged fighters”. In other words he needs to dedicate himself to forming an industry-wide fighter’s union. That will secure his legacy forever.

    Unionization is not only about pay. It’s about power and respect. Right now, all the power is in the hands of the promotion – they have a near monopoly on the sport and negotiate with isolated fighters in secrecy. They have no incentive to treat fighters with respect. Collective bargaining balances the power disparity between promotion and fighters.

    Once fighters are united, pay will merely be one of the issues they will be able to address. Fighters will have a say on health insurance, marketing, control over their own image, where to fight, how often to fight, protection against exclusive contracts or other unfair contractual obligations, severance regulation, time off, respectful treatment by the promotion, drug testing, rules, judging, refereeing, the relationships between agents, managers and promoters, etc.

    You can be sure that one of their first demands will be full disclosure of fighter pay and regulation of signing bonuses and PPV revenue distribution, and the elimination of locker room bonuses. These practices are meant to keep power in the hands of the UFC management, and keep fighters at the mercy of the promotion.

    When 85% of your income is off-the-books, it’s not a bonus, it’s not a gift… it’s an unwritten part of your contract. Then the UFC turns around and makes like it’s an act of charity, that they are “the only company that pays fighters more than their contracts require”. This would never fly in a union environment, in any industry.

    - Fighters should never have to fight injured, or feel they are jeapordizing their career by delaying a fight due to injury, or feel pressured to use dangerous drugs in order to perform, like Hermes Franca

    - Fighters should have a say in how they are promoted, what their image will be, and full rights over their likeness, and share with the promotion the rights to fight footage

    - Fighters should have a say in when/where to fight, so we never have a situation where Dan Henderson’s wife is forced to undergo a procedure to schedule the birth of her child at a convenient time for the promotion

    - The promotion should never to coerce fighters into fighting at inconvenient times by disrespecting them in public, as the UFC did to Wanderlei Silva – he just moved to America and changed his life, and they accuse him of ducking Chuck Liddell

    - Fighters should have more freedom to fight at different promotions. No promoter has the right to “own” a fighter, as Dana White loves to brag – EVER

    - There needs to be a “minimum wage” for undercard fighters

    I could go on. These issues are as important, or MORE important than the issue of pay, which everyone is focusing on. I repeat: Unionization is about POWER and RESPECT. Pay is only one facet of that.

    Couture, you can do it. Devote your post-fight career to serving other fighters and no one will ever bash you for having a large salary again. Start privately interviewing fighters you trust. Team up with Tito Ortiz and veterans like the Shamrocks and assemble a roster of disgruntled fighters. Develop a unionization plan and a PR strategy and go public when the time is right. NOW IS THE TIME!

  48. cyphron says:


    You asserted that on the one side you have 45 Hurdle and on the other you have Ivan. This has the appearance of being a paragraph setting up a manner to discuss both sides which is what he charged you with. His interpretation of the sloppy manner in which you structured your argument is not a straw man argument.

    This is a contrast that leads to my criticism of Ivan. 45 loves the UFC and Ivan loves to hate it. How can this be construed as a pro and con of Ivan, I have no idea.


    Also, your contention that he owes the UFC respect now because he didn’t take a pay cut when the UFC was “hemorraging money” is absurd. He may not have taken a pay cut but he also didn’t jump over to Japan for a bigger pay day, now did he? The UFC has made way more money off of his name than he is made from the UFC.

    That is NOT my contention. Obviously, if you can’t get my point, then you make it up. Why didn’t you read my follow up paragraphs rather than take a vice grip on one and take it out of context? I provided you proof on why the UFC gave Randy respect by offering him the fat contract he has, given the fact that Randy was beaten into retirement by Chuck Liddell. Not only do they give him the contract that made Randy a happy man, they also gave him a title fight at HW!!!

    Yes, even Randy is surprised at how well he turned out. Regardless of the current situation, the Randy that signed that contract is not the same Randy that is today. He was OVERPAID when he signed it. Now he wants to renege… please! Randy, show the UFC the same respect they showed you when you signed the contract!

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