Fellow bloggers over at MMA Nuts shared this interesting read that heed's some sobering advice from former UFC fighter Nate Quarry. Apparently Nate himself posted this on an online forum:
When I signed with the UFC this is what I was told”
We can’t pay you much but you can have any sponsors you want.
Then: We need to approve your sponsors.
Then: You can’t have any conflicting sponsors.
Then: You can’t thank your sponsors after fights.
Then: We are not approving any sponsors that we don’t like their product.
Then: Your sponsors have to pay us a fee of $50,000 for the pleasure to sponsor you.
Then: Your sponsors have to pay us a fee of $100,000 for the pleasure to sponsor you.
If a sponsor has a budget of 10k to sponsor a fighter, they are then
out. If there are 5 shorts companies in the UFC you can only go to them
for a sponsorship. If they have spent their budget or don’t want to
support an up and coming fighter they give you shorts instead of money.
If you’re fighting for $6,000 to show and fighting 3 times a year, even
$500 makes a big difference. When there is no competition they don’t
have to pay you. I lost And1 as a sponsor when the UFC enacted the tax.
At the UFC summit a fighter asked if he could wear his own shirt.
Dana laughed and said, “Uh… we can talk about it.” I turned around and
asked the UFC lawyer if I could wear my OWN shirt and he said, “Sure,
give me $50,000 and we can talk about it.”
People have no clue from the outside what it’s like to fight for the
UFC. After spending 10-15 years chasing your dream only to see that the
company it’s been your dream to fight for cares nothing about the
fighters and only cares about the bottom line.
When I was fighting for the UFC we got X-Mas presents like an iPod. A
very bottom of the line iPod but it was still cool. Now the guys get a
gift certificate to the UFC store and can use it ONE day. Any money they
don’t spend on that day is forfeited.
A fighter gets to use the gym at the hotel he’s fighting at for
free. The cornermen and everyone with him have to pay. So I’m helping
Leben make weight the day of weigh ins and have to pay to go sit in the
sauna with him. The UFC couldn’t say, “The fighter gets 3 people to go
into the gym with him the week of the fight.”
That’s just nickel and dime stuff.
With every little bit they try to squeeze out of the fighters, the more the other organizations will look more attractive.
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to fight for the UFC and
everything I have besides my daughter has come from fighting. But let’s
not fool ourselves. It’s not a charity. It’s a business. And they are
doing everything they can to make money. The fighters are just a product
to use and discard. Every up and coming fighter is the best ever. Every
ex-fighter who then expresses an opinion is a coward, loser, etc, etc.
I fought for the world title for $10,000. Not a penny more. No
bonus. No cut of the PPV. The gate alone was 3.5 million dollars. The
third highest gate in UFC history at the time. And they must have loved
the fight cuz they show the final punch at the start of EVERY UFC PPV.
And that’s fine. Because it’s a business. But sooner or later the
allure of fighting in the UFC will not be as attractive as fighting for
an organization that takes care of you, appreciates you, will let you
have sponsors to help make up the income gap, doesn’t trash you when you
think for yourself, and on and on. Just like every business you work
for. It’s funny to me to hear people cheer for Dana when he says things
that if he was your boss and he said them about you, you would be
looking for another job. But when you’re signed to a contract, you can’t
go anywhere. No matter how much you want to.
When I retired I received a form letter, EMAILED to me that said,
“Should you choose to fight again you are still under contract with the
UFC.” I didn’t even get a hard copy with a real signature that I could
As I said, I love what the UFC has done for me and my family. And specifically what Dana has done for me.
But I also know it’s a business. And that’s the best piece of advice
I can give to wanna be fighters. Fight for the love of the game. But
you better treat it like a business. Because the promoter handing you a
contract sure will.