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« | Home | »

UFC gauging how far they can push the envelope

By Zach Arnold | June 30, 2009

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1) Their new magazine

MMA Payout notes that UFC’s mailing list, combined with Men’s Fitness customer database, will be the backbone for launching and developing a customer list for their own magazine.

Prediction: UFC will develop a magazine that is oriented for the general public, not for hardcore fans. The company won’t go after other magazines who interview fighters since UFC would likely consider it free PR. As far as whether the magazine makes a profit, I don’t think it matters — as long as UFC can generate enough press coverage through their own means without spending too much money, it’s a win-win situation for them.

2) Dana White’s on-again, off-again infatuation with Vitor Belfort

He said on YouTube the day after he got Kimbo at the TUF 10 tapings that he was in Los Angeles for a meeting that would change the world. Then he said on the UFC web site that he wanted Vitor Belfort, despite Belfort being under contract. Tampering charges? How reckless was this? White’s now saying publicly that he has no interest in Belfort.

Prediction: If Affliction 3 bombs, my opinion is that Atencio considers filing a lawsuit and ending up with a settlement. This story also illustrates that not only is White still unfiltered (think: Youtube incident, Vitor issues, the whole issues with the video game), but that the company’s legal team doesn’t give a damn. They don’t exactly have Jerry McDevitt in their corner, however.

The mood with UFC, as demonstrated with the Jon Fitch video game situation, does seem reflective on how Lorenzo Fertitta operates — good and bad — as we’ve seen with the way Station Casinos was handled when it went from private to public and now back to private, along with the various union fights that have existed with SC.

3) Continuing fights against sponsors

It’s insanity. No other major league sport has gotten into as many fights so quickly (as I can recall) than UFC has with sponsors. As I stated before, all of this reeks of divide-and-conquer politics at its worst. Why is this penny-wise and pound foolish? What’s attracting new talent to MMA is money. Fighters are coming in because they sense they can make a career in this sport. If you start taking money directly away from fighters because you’re cheap or because you want 100% control over the athletes, then guess what will start happening? People will start leaving the business or not consider getting into it. As we’ve seen in Japan, when the money dries up so does the big-league talent pool.

Prediction: UFC will continue to push away or blacklist sponsors at an alarming rate. It will not catch up with them right now, but in a couple of years the organization will find itself developing so many enemies that UFC will find the people they shunned aligning with opposition groups. I also predict that if a slowdown in sponsorship money continues that there will not be as many blue-chip prospects coming down the road, despite the fact that the reason most people want to fight in UFC has more to do with fame than money.

UFC already has the best of all worlds — they have fighters as independent contractors and not employees, they don’t pay fighters outside of whenever the athlete fights, and they approve/disapprove of sponsors. It’s not a crime to make a profit, but it’s bad business when you become too cheap and it starts to negatively impact who wants to be in MMA and who doesn’t. If you assume people make rational economic decisions in terms of employment, then drying up how much money a fighter can make certainly will impact who stays and who goes.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 38 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

38 Responses to “UFC gauging how far they can push the envelope”

  1. David M says:

    I agree with everything you said except the part about their hardball tactics catching up in a few years. The UFC has reached the tip of the iceberg in terms of its popularity. Its videogame was the best-selling game for the month of May, its pay per view product is doing huge buys, and yet there is still a large portion of the population that has only seen highlights of mma (and yes I am using mma and ufc interchangeably here). Once the UFC strikes a deal with a network tv channel or when ESPN starts covering mma more seriously, the size of the pie is going to grow exponentially. With the UFC gyms and a UFC magazine and the videogame and the monstrous coverage for UFC 100, it is inevitable that the sport and its headlining league will grow so much that sponsors will be throwing themselves onto a product that delivers the young male demographic better than everything else on television save the NFL.

  2. skwirrl says:

    More news on ZUFFA as the most overbearing, controlling MMA company in the world. It seems, (and has been confirmed by Ken Pavia on the UG), that UFC has sent word out to all agents and managers that anybody, EVEN THOSE NOT UNDER CONTRACT TO ZUFFA, that signs on to the EA game will be blackballed from ZUFFA promotions in perpetuity.

  3. The Citizen says:

    Great article — only time will tell.

  4. garth says:

    a couple cards in a row without a thrilling result, and the PPVs won’t sell so fast, and the hardball tactics will start to tell. the fertittas are in it for money. as soon as it flags a bit, they’ll bail. I think Dana White is what he portrays.

    the only thing is…there isn’t any valid competition. Strikeforce and Coker are trying, bless their hearts. but they have to BEAT the UFC at the money game. The sponsorship deal may actually help competitors rise up, but only if they can put together a string of good PPVs.

  5. Joseph says:

    http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2009/6/30/931156/from-golden-boy-on-the-ug-i-hear

    “I hear that all mma managers were informed that if any of their clients not currently under contract with the UFC….. sign to be a part of the EA game…….they will forever be banned for fighting in the UFC.”

  6. Ivan Trembow says:

    As I wrote in the other thread:

    As I said when EA officially announced their MMA game at E3, it was likely only a matter of time before Zuffa started threatening fighters to keep them out of EA’s MMA game. They certainly didn’t have any problems with threatening fighters in order to get them into the UFC’s MMA game, so why would they have a problem with threatening fighters to keep them out of a competing game?

    Also on the “predatory business tactics” front, MMA Payout is reporting that Hayabusa Fight Wear is the latest in the long line of companies that have been banned from sponsoring UFC fighters. At this rate, it will soon be quicker to list the companies who are interested in sponsoring UFC fighters that are NOT banned from doing so, as opposed to the list of banned companies.

    The basic argument that it’s okay for fighters to make a pathetically small percentage of the UFC’s gross revenue (nowhere near 53-59 percent) because, after all, they also make money from sponsors, is an argument that gets weaker and weaker with every ridiculous demand that the UFC places on sponsors and with every sponsor that the UFC bans.

  7. Zack says:

    I believe MMA’s popularity has peaked. Yes, the UFC game did great sales. It’s also the first game they did post TUF. The real story will come with how many people buy the 2nd, 3rd, etc. The UFC magazine won’t expand the fan base, and I don’t see UFC doing a network deal while they’re making so much money on the PPV model. They refuse to give up control and why should they until it blows up in their face?

    Tito/Chuck 2 was the peak.

  8. liger05 says:

    “I hear that all mma managers were informed that if any of their clients not currently under contract with the UFC….. sign to be a part of the EA game…….they will forever be banned for fighting in the UFC.”

    That is crazy and I really hope the fighters tell UFC to go fcuk themselves. To be honest I really doubt this would apply to all fighters. UFC wants the best talent and are they really gonna not sign a food fighter just cos he is on another videogame?

    Does this also show that the UFC are worried about EA even though there game will not have the UFC brand behind it?

  9. Alan Conceicao says:

    My thoughts on each question:

    1)Magazine is a red herring. There’s not even a hard deal to continue publication after UFC 100.

    2) Dana embellishes, lies, and makes mistakes. That is to say that he is human. Its embarassing to see people treat him like a demigod who’s never been wrong or done stupid things. He signed Cro-Cop only to see him walk immediately after just a couple weeks ago. He brought in Wanderlei Silva twice to hype fights that, as it turned out, had no real chance of happening at that point. He’s been talking about a Japan event since 2004 and he’s no closer to doing it today than he was 5 years ago. So when it comes to the fact that he’s waffling back and forth on Belfort, guess what? Everyone should have expected it. Its just another example of the abject stupidity gripping MMA journalism that rather than think about it rationally, the rush was on to fantasy book Vitor. Sometimes, kids, a little cynicism never hurt.

    3) The UFC’s issues with sponsorship have been going on since day 1. Why is anyone shocked? I don’t think, however, that it would result in a smaller talent pool. There’s still plenty of opportunities elsewhere in the MMA world outside Zuffa, in spite of all the endless bellyaching as to the contrary. That will only happen if interest begins to receed in the sport.

  10. Grape Knee High says:

    I also predict that if a slowdown in sponsorship money continues that there will not be as many blue-chip prospects coming down the road, despite the fact that the reason most people want to fight in UFC has more to do with fame than money.

    You might be right, but Zuffa probably doesn’t care. If they had to choose between a bad kickboxing/brawling match and a fight between two skilled opponents, they’d pick the bad kickboxing/brawling every single time. And there’s never a lack of mediocre brawlers to choose from.

    I do think, though, that it won’t affect the current trickle of blue-chip prospects into MMA; let’s face it, most elite athletes in MMA come almost solely from grappling backgrounds who get into it because they don’t have any other options at fame or money. These guys would end up in MMA regardless.

    Most athletically gifted youngsters already end up in mainstream sports where the money is better, and this won’t change until MMA becomes a true mainstream sport. (Personally, I don’t think it ever will, but that’s a different story.)

    Brock Lesnar’s career arc is a perfect example. He has the size/strength/speed to be dominant in MMA for years, but he couldn’t even make the practice squad on the Vikings.

  11. Grape Knee High says:

    The basic argument that it’s okay for fighters to make a pathetically small percentage of the UFC’s gross revenue (nowhere near 53-59 percent) because, after all, they also make money from sponsors

    Actually, no. The basic argument is that it’s okay for fighters to make a small percentage because they are too stupid and disorganized to form a fighters’ union. It’s their own fault for not collectively demanding more from Zuffa and not putting an end to their shenanigans.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    I think there is some irony to that last point, given that a bunch of Florida Panther NHL fans just hired Drew Rosenhaus to negotiate lower ticket prices for them.

    Hockey fans can ‘unionize’ for lower ticket prices but fighters can’t seemingly ever band together.

  13. 45 Huddle says:

    The funny thing is that I see a lot of people saying a union would fix all this. No it wouldn’t.

    A fighters union would still want to have the fighters all signed under the UFC Game Deal. A union would still have restrictions on sponsors due to the UFC wanting to build a certain image.

    And overall, these tactics that Zuffa has done will never catch up with that. They are the sport. They have lots of money on reserve to fight any rivals (according to MMA Logic). Fighters have to just start getting use to it and worry about fighting and not being a “business entity” or “an entertainer” like Ortiz and Faber think they are.

    Let me also point out that the ~50% of revenues number that Ivan is speaking of is for well established sports leagues. My guess would be if he compared what those sports leagues were paying out 15 years after they started business, Ziffa would be looking very good right now. Not to mention that a business NEVER starts salaries off at their peak. If they did, when fighters want pay increases, the company would go out of business.

    What Ivan says sounds great from a “I hate the UFC” type of fan, but is the stupidest thing from a business perspective. Pay naturally rises over time. What ziffa is doing is playing hardball in order to create a sound foundation of where try want to take te sport in the future. It absolutely stinks for fighters today, but will likely pay off for the next generation. It’s either that, or they can go the way of every other MMA company, and this sport suffers because of it. Fettitta is a smart guy. An is being under estimated here in how he will benefit the future growth of the sport.

  14. Grape Knee High says:

    The funny thing is that I see a lot of people saying a union would fix all this. No it wouldn’t.

    A union wouldn’t fix everything, but it would certainly go a long way in establishing more leverage on the fighters’ side in negotiating with Zuffa.

    I do agree with your point about the business cycle and current level of compensation; Zuffa is putting quite a lot of investment into the growth of the sport that is easy to overlook.

  15. Mr_Mike says:

    “Brock Lesnar’s career arc is a perfect example. He has the size/strength/speed to be dominant in MMA for years, but he couldn’t even make the practice squad on the Vikings.”

    Brock had the athletic ability to play in the NFL, just not the skills, which come from playing college ball, something he didn’t do.

  16. Dave2 says:

    Dana White also claimed that he’d bring in Belfort on Spike TV during one of the Ultimate Fighter finale segments IIRC. How can he promise us Belfort on TV (let alone his vlog or the UFC website) and then go back on it? It’s clear that he’s afraid of a potential lawsuit from Affliction Entertainment (While Zuffa has good lawyers, so does The Donald, the majority owner of Affliction’s entertainment branch.)

  17. Zack says:

    You don’t really believe Donald Trump is the majority owner of Affliction’s entertainment branch, do you?

  18. Mike Rome says:

    What lawsuit is Tom Atencio going to file? The guy is just a spokeshole. The legal fees to fight that would end up being significantly higher than any damages. Then again, given Affliction’s budgeting prowess it wouldn’t be a surprising decision.

  19. skwirrl says:

    “And overall, these tactics that Zuffa has done will never catch up with that. They are the sport. They have lots of money on reserve to fight any rivals (according to MMA Logic). Fighters have to just start getting use to it and worry about fighting and not being a “business entity” or “an entertainer” like Ortiz and Faber think they are.”

    You do realize that guy is just some lowly idiot that gets paid by ZUFFA to astroturf. He “broke” the news about Randy coming back but there was no recourse for the guy so of course he was coming back. That dude is a nobody in a cubicle that gets paid to constantly sling shit at the wall and none has stuck since. Its funny seeing people use him as a source. Now everybody over there thinks MMA Supremacy is an astroturfer. Its quite possible he works for Affliction, (or he could be just like me and he realizes ZUFFA is a pox on this sport and hates that company with a passion), as he’s been right on many of his “rumors” about Affliction/Dream/Strikeforce co-promotion fights months in advance.

    Also — “Fettitta is a smart guy. An is being under estimated here in how he will benefit the future growth of the sport.”

    The Fertittas are guys that have fought more than 1 class action lawsuit from their casino employees because they are scumbags who routinely cheated their own dealers out of overtime amongst other things.

    And Rome – Affliction suing ZUFFA would just be advertising for them as it would quite possibly get their name on one of the major sports networks – oh say… ESPN Sportscenter.

  20. Grape Knee High says:

    Brock had the athletic ability to play in the NFL, just not the skills, which come from playing college ball, something he didn’t do.

    Definitely a fair point about college ball.

    However, he did play high school football, in addition to the wrestling. I have trouble believing that if he truly had NFL potential, he (or college scouts) would have overlooked that. Instead of a wrestling scholarship, he would have had a Div I scholarship for football.

  21. Russell says:

    MMA / UFC popularity has peaked? Chuck & Tito 2 was the peak? Seriously?

    What is that type of comment even based on? Buy rates, revenue, TV ratings? All are on a steady increase with International revenues not even scratching the surface. You don’t think UFC 100 will do 1 Million buys?

    Sometimes I think people who cover MMA get a little bit too emotional in their coverage and opinions. If a guy who plays for the Atlanta Falcons wants wear Puma cleats and wear a Tampax logo on his uniform, do you think the NFL will go for it?

    DO you think the NFL started the NFLPA for the players and volunteered to give them better medical coverage and pension plans? Of course not. At some point the fighters will need to decide when to stand together and insist on changes. Until the, Zuffa is running a business – and running it very well if you are interested in things like making money and growing a sports popularity.

  22. Mark says:

    1) Very fitting that Dana White pulls an Oprah and puts himself on the first cover. Despite what he thinks, the non-hardcores don’t give a shit about him anymore than most baseball fans don’t care about Bud Sellig’s life. It’s so Vince McMahon-level it isn’t even funny. Especially since he’s posing like the MMA fighter he wishes he was.

    2) It was very hypocritical for Dana to announce he was on the prowl for Vitor days after throwing a hissyfit that Cro Cop had been talking to DREAM. There is absolutely no point in doing that besides playing mind games with Affliction of “I can take who I want whenever I want.”

    3) I think someone should let Dana know that in the back of your mind when you gain success, you should always remember “The same people you shit on going up will be there as you’re going back down.” If UFC loses its current status as the hottest thing on pay-per-view and he needs the “little sponsors” for help like the old days again, he is going to be in trouble. Karma is a bitch.

  23. Fluyid says:

    The UFC is on the way out. By UFC 125, they’ll be headlining Dan Quinn vs. Kirik Jenness.

    You read it here first. ;)

  24. MMAMoneyLine says:

    I would love to see Vitor Belfort in the UFC. However, one thing that seems lost upon everyone in this whole White/Attencio/Belfort/Silva saga is that Belfort has a very tough fight against Jorge Santiago. I’m not sure Belfort can beat Santiago. If he loses, then what?

  25. Robert Poole says:

    Zach,

    The Drew Rosenhaus thing is not legit. It’s a marketing campaign by the Panthers.

    http://nhl.fanhouse.com/2009/06/30/florida-panthers-fans-hire-drew-rosenhaus-to-negotiate-ticket/

  26. EJ says:

    1) Their new magazine-
    MMA Payout notes that UFC’s mailing list, combined with Men’s Fitness customer database, will be the backbone for launching and developing a customer list for their own magazine.

    I see this as the UFC just reaching out to see if they can get any interest from fans for more of their brand. The UFC has made it clear they are going outside their current structure into other types of branding to see if they can get a bigger piece of the pie than they already have.

    2) Dana White’s on-again, off-again infatuation with Vitor Belfort-
    He said on YouTube the day after he got Kimbo at the TUF 10 tapings that he was in Los Angeles for a meeting that would change the world. Then he said on the UFC web site that he wanted Vitor Belfort, despite Belfort being under contract. Tampering charges? How reckless was this? White’s now saying publicly that he has no interest in Belfort.

    I’m sure that Dana wants Vitor back in the UFC, but he is under contract with Affliction so until that ends he won’t have any interest in him in public. Also the idea that Affliction would try and sue the UFC is hillarious, considering their dealing with Randy and other UFC fighters they’d be the ones that would look to settle with Zuffa if things went to court.

    3) Continuing fights against sponsors-
    It’s insanity. No other major league sport has gotten into as many fights so quickly (as I can recall) than UFC has with sponsors. As I stated before, all of this reeks of divide-and-conquer politics at its worst. Why is this penny-wise and pound foolish? What’s attracting new talent to MMA is money. Fighters are coming in because they sense they can make a career in this sport. If you start taking money directly away from fighters because you’re cheap or because you want 100% control over the athletes, then guess what will start happening? People will start leaving the business or not consider getting into it. As we’ve seen in Japan, when the money dries up so does the big-league talent pool.

    First off as the UFC has already shown with Affliction their brand is the reason why many of these t-shirt guys are making money. You take that away and most of the same people who are wearing these shirts will simply jump on another companies bandwagon.

    Simply put it’s the UFC’s world and all of these sponsors need to know that or they’ll be the ones who suffer for everyone sponsor that is frozen out another will take it’s place the UFC is too popular for them to go without sponsors of any kind.

    As far as fighters leaving the sport that is laughable everyone knows that there is alot of money to be made in the UFC. Look at the NFL Goodell is talking about banning people for life and the NFL players union is actually supporting that bs. They have just as much if not more control over their sport than Zuffa does and as long as the checks clear the athletes don’t care how many rights they lose. It’ll be the same way with the UFC, they will win this fight because as long as people are making lots of money in the end they’ll agree to almost anything that’s just how things go.

  27. Russell says:

    The key piece that people seem to be overlooking is this: THe UFC is not saying that a fighter can’t be sponsored by a company – just that they cant be sponsored by that company ON THEIR PROGRAMMING. Same rules as Baseball, the NFL, NHL, NBA, WWE, etc. where visible logos and sponsorships are kept to a select group of key partners of the league (and that comes with a big proce tag). Have you never noticed that an NFL player sponsored by Adidas has to completely tape up their cleats to cover all Adidas logos during games? Why is it so much more horrible when the UFC does it?

  28. Mark says:

    Sure, some UFC fighters are big enough stars that maybe they could get endorsements on the side, but how many MMA fighters do you see in commercials or print ads? Not many. Gina being in the Pepsi ad for 4 seconds is the peak of MMA endorsements right now. Everything else hinges on them advertising their sponsors on UFC programming.

    You’d have an argument if MMA was accepted as football and basketball where companies would be comfortable with public endorsements. But since they’re not and everything is regulated to martial arts magazine-only ads, UFC TV is all they have.

  29. Rob Maysey says:

    45 Huddle’s analogy to the percentages in relation to the league payouts is off base.

    Salaries were low in the other sports, when revenues were low. As soon at national TV and thereby big dollars entered the fray, salaries dramatically increased, and rapidly.

    Zuffa has already experienced dramatic increases in revenue, and are already reaping enormous profits. Thus, the argument of 45 Huddle is reduced to one that relies only upon the passage of time.

    Fighters, it appears, should wait for a change in the payscale merely for the passage of time, another 50-60 years say, just because.

  30. Mike Rome says:

    But isn’t there an assumption behind the comparisons to other sports that requires a leap of faith?

    When we compare the percentage mixed martial artists make to that which baseball players and basketball players make, the assumption is that their percentage is right or just. Is it? I don’t believe in some cosmic justice that determines how revenue should be split, there’s only what fighters can achieve for themselves battling against what management can afford to keep.

    The revenue split from the UFC on PPV is closer to 20% than the 10% routinely bandied about, but of course even at that rate it’s not close to the other sports. At the same time, the brand UFC obviously has incredible value right now. What does Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans for Affliction draw on PPV? 80k? Less? And that’s assuming they have the name value drawn from their UFC careers at that point.

    The flood gates for pay will open when fighters can leave the UFC, run an independent PPV, and draw a huge number on their names alone. The UFC is aware of that, which is why they put so much focus on the brand, and why they spent so much to keep Randy from fighting elsewhere.

    Fighters need to figure out a way to turn themselves into valuable commodities independent of the UFC structure. Right now, most fighters are perfectly happy just to be stars within that structure, so I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

  31. Rob Maysey says:

    Rome,

    It isn’t pointing to cosmic justice to point to the other sports, it is pointing to the leverage players in other sports are able to exert to achieve roughly the same split. Why should we believe (i) the percentages are unfair or not “just” when they are the result of negotiations, and (ii) that the percentages, given the same leverage, would be any different in MMA?

  32. Rob Maysey says:

    I agree with the last 2 paragraphs of Rome’s post.

  33. IceMuncher says:

    “Salaries were low in the other sports, when revenues were low. As soon at national TV and thereby big dollars entered the fray, salaries dramatically increased, and rapidly.”

    #1 – National TV? UFC is still working on that one.

    #2 – Salaries *have* increased, dramatically and rapidly. When Couture came back and fought Sylvia and Gonzaga, he made something like $3 million. You want to compare that to how much he was making 4 years earlier?

    #3 – After the UFC has had two good years you want it to provide salaries rates comparable to very established and very profitable sports that have existed for decades and have a *completely* different business model. That’s a ridiculous standard.

  34. Rob Maysey says:

    My goodness–be genuine in your disagreements, or the discussion becomes pointless.

    In the other sports, the revenue is from national tv–there is no PPV. Not so for the UFC. The UFC gets revenue from PPV, and from SpiktTV, which while not “national” is in something like 92 million households. My point remains–the UFC already has the revenue now–not waiting for it to arrive at a later date–it exists right now.

    Salaries have increased from an incredibly low amount, the just a generally low amount. Compare the splits not to other sports, but to boxing. MMA pays out far less, on equal or greater revenue. It isn’t a function of what it exists–it is purely a function of leverage, as Rome alludes too.

    Your third point is just inaccurate throughout. No one said pay rates the same as other sports–I think what have been said–why aren’t the “splits” of what exist similar to other sports. MMA and boxing are not that different at all–and yet, their payouts are very different.

  35. [...] Between their new magazine and reports that they are shutting out more sponsors, the UFC is pushing it. (Fight Opinion) [...]

  36. Mark says:

    I think less people would complain about fighter salaries not matching up with an increased revenue if Zuffa gave at least a tiny idea of where all this money is going.

    The biggest excuse they have given is the need to “expand UFC internationally.” Okay, where are tens of millions of dollars going to do that, then?

    Basically, all we’ve seen is they show up and run a show. They’re not establishing a the German office branch of the International UFC Bureau. They have some guys do a little press (no different than they do when they run American shows) that costs nothing, and then show up and make lots of money off of the gate that at least helps them break even, if not profit.

  37. sturm says:

    The UFC is spending a lot of money on lobbyists to try to get MMA legalized/regulated across all 50 states. Lobbyists cost A LOT OF MONEY.

    That’s not even talking about internationally, where they had to pay lawyers in Canada and Germany just recently!

    Yeah, they’re probably banking most of their cash, but right now, that’s probably wise. They’ve probably set aside a percentage each month to spend on lobbyists, and they have to be prepared to pay a bunch of lawyers in the future (given how many legal battles they’ve been in, it’s a safe bet they’ll be in more). And once the UFC grows a little bigger, there will be legal battles about the sport’s safety, the possibility of having to make more extensive medical coverage available to the fighters, etc.

    I mean, just look at the NBA. It’s grown, it’s a mature sport. And its expenses are huge. Every team needs political lobbyists because they need deals with the cities for the stadiums, they have press teams, merchandising staff, advertising staff, legal, trainers, coaches, referee school… If an NBA player just sprains his knee he gets an MRI! You know how much an MRI costs???

    This is a future they need to prepare for (hopefully they are, if they’re not, it’s foolish). Boxing is a bad comparison – there isn’t a single dominant organization in boxing. Boxers are almost individual companies… I don’t want mma to head towards the direction that boxing has matured into, with rival organizations, multiple championships, and a diluted talent pool with a ridiculous number of weight classes.

    UFC is investing in their gyms, staff for those gyms, etc.

    They could be paying the fighters more, sure… no argument from me about that. But I’d rather have them be paid what they’re currently paid, (at some of them have managed to make millions off of this) and the company grow than have their salaries inflate prematurely. Once they go up, they aren’t coming back down, and money going towards expansion will be proportionately much less.

  38. Rob Maysey says:

    What does UFC investing in gyms have to do with treatment of fighters?

    What does UFC’s global ambitions for its brand (not the sport) have to with the treatment of fighters?

    While not spoken about at all, Zuffa’s lobbying is on behalf of Zuffa, and its global aims again, are for the benefit of Zuffa.

    As to litigation, a large percentage of that litigation is aimed at stifling the progress of any entity and/or person not Zuffa or contracted to Zuffa–not for the benefit of the sport at all.

    A small, and unspoken about change to the database requirements–to be considered an official stat, bouts must be undertaken under the auspices of an ABC commission. This has not yet become a public issue, but think about that for a moment.

    Were I Zuffa, I’d use that little change to install commissions to my liking in every jurisdiction I enter. You don’t agree, you will become irrelevant as fighter stats will not be “official.”

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