On his recent podcast with fellow comedian Andrew Schulz, UFC commentator Joe Rogan talked about a hot topic in the MMA industry – low pay for its fighters. Over the last few weeks, some high profile fighters have publicly complained that they are not getting what they are worth. Among the most prominent fighters to voice those feelings were Henry Cejudo and Jorge Masvidal. Cejudo recently retired as the Bantamweight Champion partially due to the lack of money he was making from his fights, while Masvidal for the same reason has asked to be released from his contract with the company. Jon “Bones” Jones has also been publicly outspoken on the subject and is pressing it legally.
Rogan, as he usually does, did a good job in highlighting the issues from both sides. First he looked at it from the UFC’s perspective saying, “Right now in particular, there is probably less money because there is no live gate, and that’s an extreme amount of money. But there’s also fighters that agree to certain deals. They agree to like, an 8-fight deal at X amount per fight, and then they become more popular and then they want to renegotiate their deal, and the UFC is like, ‘Look, we’re just trying to stay open. We’re not going to renegotiate anything. You can take it or you can leave it, but this is what it is.’ I think it’s a matter of that.
He then looked at things through the lens of the fighter, affirming his stance that fighters are not paid enough for the risk they take. He argued, “I think they should get paid more. I think everybody should get paid more. I think it’s a crazy way to make a living. I think you should get the most amount of money you can possibly get. But it’s also a business and I think that if they are struggling as much as I think they are – I don’t talk finances with them, but I know that WME, the people who own it, are hurting, bad. They’re laying people off. Most businesses are hurting and all the entertainment businesses are f****d. So what do they do? That’s what I think. But when it comes to me as a human that likes fighting, I know how f*****g dangerous that s**t is. You should get paid an incredibly generous amount of money to step into a cage fight for millions of people to see.”