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Josh Barnett: I’m not taking a pay cut if asked

By Zach Arnold | July 31, 2008

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We interviewed him on Wednesday night. We asked him about a report from Dave Meltzer, claiming that Affliction VP Tom Atencio would allegedly ask fighters to take a 50% pay cut to work the Las Vegas show in October. Barnett replied by saying that he was not going to take a pay cut to fight.

In addition, when asked about whether or not he’ll fight Fedor, Mr. Barnett said that it’s not up to him as far as whether or not the fight gets booked. He wants to fight Fedor, but can’t worry about the politics surrounding why the fight hasn’t been booked.

Topics: Affliction, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 35 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

35 Responses to “Josh Barnett: I’m not taking a pay cut if asked”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1. Affliction should honor their contracts and pay the fighters what they promised.

    2. With that said, those Affliction Heavyweights are extremely overpaid.

  2. Rollo the Cat says:

    Dana should step up with some cash. I have been critical of Josh before for many reasons, but I still think he is a great fighter and a great addition to any roster.

  3. Chuck says:

    Of course Josh won’t take a pay cut, and he shouldn’t have to. As 45 Huddle said (Jesus, do I REALLY have to agree with him for a change?) that Affliction should honor the fighters’ contracts, because I doubt they want to get sued for breach of contract.

    And as 45 alluded to, Affliction really blew their load with that first show (it was worth it. It was a fantastic show) but they really did over pay most of the fighters, and I hardly believe in people being “over payed”, except for crooked CEOs.

  4. cyph says:

    If this is true that Atencio asked fighters to take a 50% pay cut, then I really question whether there will actually be a October Affliction.

    I don’t blame the fighters for not taking a pay cut. It’s not like Affliction doesn’t know how much fighters are getting paid. They wanted to make a statement, and they have. Now they have to face the consequences.

  5. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Barnett’s always been one who would rather ride the pine than be disrespected on his paycheck.

    Seems kind of ridiculous to me given how infrequently he therefore fights, but everyone’s responsible for negotiating their own rates.

  6. DarceYou says:

    Every fighter has a market price. Barnett should get what he’s worth. Does anyone care about him? I don’t. I only watch Affliction for Fedor. Period. They have no other fighter worth squat.

    The interesting thing is that Fedor was paid $300k whereas Sylvia was paid $800k. What a joke! Nobody cares about Sylvia.

    I hope the fighters in Affliction accept nothing less than what will cause Affliction to fail. Atencio deserves that. What a stupid business plan that dude has.

    Plus, I hate the fact that Donald “The Hairdo” Trump is involved with Affliction. He’s no hardcore fan. He’s a hanger-on.

  7. b.w. says:

    once a fighter makes that much money, he’s always gonna want that much or more. all atheletes do. all humans do. no one wants a pay decrease after succeding. barnett won in impressive fashion, of course he’s not gonna take a pay-cut.

  8. hollywood says:

    the business is not about hardcore fans. it’s about volume of tv viewers to drive advertising and other revenue.

    ultimately it’s not sport leagues that give the best analogy of where the business is going, with the possible exception of boxing associations. hollywood is a better analogy. in the early days, studios had all the power and put actors on contract. eventually the economics became clear that big stars command the big dollars and they wield the power. so it will be with mma if it gets to a really mainstream level.

  9. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Barnett’s market price is different at one fight a year than it is at two a year.

    The question is whether he would make more in total fighting once a year or fighting twice a year at a lower price.

    A market price is not the same every time, and the more that’s available, the lower the marginal price is going to be, but you’re not optimizing your earnings by only selling one unit.

  10. Ivan Trembow says:

    They must be aware of the fact the asking fighters to take pay cuts is going to mean that fighters aren’t going to take their contract offers seriously in the future, so the fact that they’re doing it anyway demonstrates how desperate they are financially.

    I don’t think they’re going to be around at this time next year. If they had budgeted their first show to break even at 50,000 buys instead of 250,000 buys, it would be a different story.

    As for Josh Barnett’s future, it would have to be in EliteXC, Dream, or Sengoku if it’s not in Affliction. I doubt it would be in the UFC given that the last time the UFC was asked about him in a press conference, the response was, “Nobody gives a shit about Josh Barnett.”

  11. dmp says:

    unbelieveable. How are they going to have a second show?

  12. Mike says:

    I don’t begrudge Barnett his right to not fight for less money than he’s been promised, as that’s entirely his right. But I’ve also never spent a dime specifically to watch him fight and never will unless he goes up against Fedor.

  13. Michaelthebox says:

    Ivan: I’m not sure it would even be possible to budget a show to break even at 50,000 buys, in that I don’t see how any show that could break even at 50k buys, could get 50k buys. If Affliction really wanted this to work and knew what they were doing, they would have gone the Strikeforce method. But that takes time and starting with that now means you’ll probably never compete with Zuffa.

  14. Ivan Trembow says:

    I don’t think a show with a break-even point of 50,000 buys would draw 50,000 buys, either. They would have still lost money initially, but at least it wouldn’t be a net loss of several million dollars.

  15. Another thing Josh isn’t taking is shit from Aleks Emelianenko. He confronts him about his comments in last month’s Sherdog interview at 3:00 of this video and I’m glad he did.

  16. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Did Affliction even sign multi-fight deals with these guys?

    If they did, then they’re never going to have a second show, and they’re going to have big problems getting anyone to buy them too.

  17. jose bastillo says:

    I can’t believe some of things I’m reading here. People are actually saying some of the fighters were overpaid…? So, the UFC under pays, now Affliction is overpaying? What is the ammount they should of been paid then?

    Since everyone knows better than the current people in the business, how about some of you folks step up and start an organization, and you can call it “The Perfect Payers Club”.

    People will just always bitch about pay. Fighters, fans, and media. WTF?

  18. cyph says:

    You overpay when your revenue and profit doesn’t cover your cost. When you lose by a magnitude of millions of dollars, then you’re overpaying.

    Everyone complains that the UFC is underpaying their fighters. Coincidentally, they’re the only one solvent and making money.

  19. Fred says:

    Tom Atencio is going to find out that Affliction made a big mistake paying fighters those lucrative salaries on the very first show. Barnett probably won’t be the only one refusing to take a pay cut. No one is going to be amenable to a cut—especially any of the winners from the last show. You can’t pay multiple fighters $1 mil. or more per fight and expect to stay in business. Even the UFC can’t do that with live gates of 15,000 and PPV numbers of from 500,000 – 1 million viewers. When you pay your overhead and expenses, it doesn’t leave as much as some fans seem to think.

    WFA made the same error—-stacked cards and huge pay purses. It doesn’t work. It’s better to pay modest purses from the start than to pay exorbitant salaries and then dock the pay of the guys who just won fights.

    Affliction is already off to a bad start as far as the management end of things goes (the show itself was great.) It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of shows.

  20. Ultimo Santa says:

    “DarceYou Says: I only watch Affliction for Fedor. Period. They have no other fighter worth squat.”

    Hey man – I think you’re confused. You probably meant to post that comment on this website:

  21. IceMuncher says:

    “I can’t believe some of things I’m reading here. People are actually saying some of the fighters were overpaid…? So, the UFC under pays, now Affliction is overpaying? What is the ammount they should of been paid then?”

    Fighter pay is determined by the revenue the fighter creates for a promotion, not the skill level of a fighter.

    If Arlovski brings in 300k PPV buys by headlining in a UFC card, but they only give him $150,000, then he’s underpaid. If they pay him $750,000 on an Affliction card, but he only brings in 10,000 PPV buys with his name, he’s overpaid. Flip the paychecks around, and he’d be getting paid pretty fairly.

  22. 45 huddle says:

    IceMuncher is correct.

    a fighters rel value is for them to get a decent piece of the pie, but leaving just enough left over for the promotion to promote their next show and expand the sport.

  23. zack says:

    I wish we could see a Barnett/Nog swing fight.

  24. MickDawg says:

    Fact is…the UFC name brand alone brings in a certain amount of buys.

    That’s why Affliction can put on a great show and not get very many buys.

    You don’t see Arlovski bringing over very many fans by himself.

    Even on a UFC card, Arlovski getting 750K is unreasonable for 300K buys.

    Even the hardcore fan base didn’t make Affliction that much of a success.

    Goes to show why EliteXC banks on Kimbo Slice. The casual fanbase outweighs the hardcores by a HUGE amount.

    And why the UFC’s 250K investment on Brock Lesnar is a great idea.

    As long as Dana White’s propaganda machine keeps talking down these other promotions and these other fighters not in the UFC/WEC, the UFC will be the only game in town.

    The hardcore fan base alone cannot carry a $3M payroll…and that’s the only people watching Affliction.

    And not even all the hardcores are watching it.

  25. cyph says:

    If Arlovski, Fedor, and Co. brings in 100k buys for Affliction, what does that say about their worth?

    If the same fighters on a UFC card brings in 400k buys, what does that say about the UFC’s worth? Apparently, there’s a 300k bottom for any UFC event, regardless of the fighters it feature. Great fighters and great fights add buys above and beyond that bottom.

    Lets say Arlovski brought in 1/4 of the Affliction buys, then he’s worth 25k buys. 25k * 40 * .4 = 400k. He’s probably worth 400k a fight just for a promoter to break even (I’m being generous considering that it takes 20 fighters to fill out a card, and 10 good fighters to fill out the main cards).

    There’s an old saying, the whole is worth more than its collective parts. It’s been proven time and again that the UFC can survive without the fighters, but the fighters can’t really survive without the UFC. Unfortunately, this seems to prove that the MMA business model adheres more closely to the WWE than boxing. Failed promotions after failed promotions has proven this.

    The fan loyalty lies in the promotion and not the fighter. The hardcore fans number in the 300k… however, how much of that 300k are MMA fans and how much are UFC fans? I believe it may be a 30/70 split.

  26. Rolf Rosenstein says:

    Did Tom Attencio actauallu say the fighters on contract would have to take paycuts or was it reference to fighters trying to come on board?

    Has anyone evidence of any of the fighters being asked to take a paycut?

    Double R

  27. Rob Enderle says:

    You, a hardcore fan?
    No, youre a reality TV loving UFC nut hugging cock sucking hanger on.

    Dont use the word hardcore to describe your MMA knowledge. Your dick gobbling skills though are probably top notch.

  28. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I think that the 300k buy floor is partially the UFC name, but it has value because people have come to expect that even if there isn’t a massive headline fight, they’re still going to get a card that’s competitive, and they’re almost always going to have at least a couple outstanding fights on any given night.

    That’s due to good matchups by Silva, it’s also due to good lower tier fight talent in the organization.

  29. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Enderle, go elsewhere.

  30. John says:

    Good lord, that’s just horrible. Maybe now people won’t think it was such a cool stunt as some seem to do. Very sad news.

  31. sved says:

    hey how about a little respect for Josh Barnett…His last loss was due to losing his contact and not wanting to get a fractured orbital he tapped b4 Mirko layed on a heavy Pride style GnP w/ Soccer Kicks+ Knees

    Basically his last UFC match was a win over every body’s favorite hero Randy Couture….

    As for Contracts affecting the length of the Affliction show…get real

    The Affliction show was pure Fan Service
    giving the Fans what they want…but not all of the fans are eager to go and see the event live and at least 15-25% of the PPV Ca$# is cut by UtUBE+OTHER types of streaming/Dl options that don’t put a penny in AFFliction’s Coffers…
    The fact is that statistic is fairly conservative–Do you know how many Prides I saw for Free w/o going to the Bar b4 I actually ordered an event—about 6 of them…why…because they weren’t live+ and it was difficult to enjoy watching something you already read about beforehand.

    As for Afflictions future plans–it was originally planned for 3 shows that IT

    the notion that they’ll still be around is for us to support and make happen…Buy Tickets or invite some friends around and watch the live show
    otherwise complaining that they overpaid can be solved the same way that they used in Tournaments in Asia the last ohh..20 years in MMA—-pay the tournament competitors 10k$ to show and an additional 10-20k$ to advance
    _+ a big check for the Winner of the Tournament

    Boxing Style/Wrestling Style matchmaking and promotion might be fine for exhibition shows but for MMA to be taken seriously the world needs to see the same focus that olympics get in tournaments and trials be given to MMA

  32. b.w. says:

    #32 sved. i hate it when people point out barnetts win over randy, but fail to mention that he tested positive for steroids after that fight,had his belt stripped and the decision was reversed. its like they are trying to hide something. maybee you just didnt know?

  33. […] says he will not accept any such pay cut, and dished a bit about facing Fedor Emelianenko as well: “We asked him about a report from Dave Meltzer, claiming that Affliction VP Tom Atencio […]

  34. […] says he will not accept any such pay cut, and dished a bit about facing Fedor Emelianenko as well: “We asked him about a report from Dave Meltzer, claiming that Affliction VP Tom Atencio […]


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