Tim Kennedy on UFC Fighter Pay: I’d Make More Money Emptying Trashcans

UFC newcomer Tim Kennedy was always an outspoken, opinionated fighter during his tenure in Strikeforce. He was never to one to mince words, and he gave you the sense that he was telling you how he really felt.  So it may come as no surprise that Kennedy is already taking a stance on a touchy subject before his UFC 162 fight against Roger Gracie, and that subject is fighter pay:

“Anybody who accepts that as a reality of the sport is sad and pathetic. I hope this isn’t the reality of the sport, if it is I should probably go do something else, like empty trashcans. I’d make more money than I do now.”

Kennedy revealed that he was due around $55,000 to show up at UFC 162, with the purse potentially increasing to $70,000 with a win bonus – but that after the expenses of his camp, medicals and fight team, he would only pocket around $20,000, even before taxes.

After the interview, Kennedy sent a detailed breakdown of how his fight purse would be divided up: 13% on gym fees, 12% for nutrition, 10% to his manager, 10% to his coach, 8% on his camp lodging,  3% for fight medicals and 3% on equipment. In total, that’s 59% of his fight purse before tax is deducted. –  via Place To Be Nation

When it’s put into such a detailed perspective, it seems fighters truly do struggle to make it through a camp with a little left over. The UFC has been under extreme fire recently for allegedly paying their fighters much less than they are truly worth. Talk has swirled of a potential fighters’ union,  but no official steps have been taken. Kennedy joins Jon Fitch and John Cholish in the group of fighters choosing to speak out about the UFC’s pay discrepancies.

Sponsorship pay is not factored in, and is definitely a big portion of many fighters’ income. However, in a time when the UFC is cleaning up with an all-time high number of events, perhaps the fighters do deserve a little more. Lorenzo Fertitta has stated that the UFC put on each event solely by themselves, the exact opposite of major professional sports who have large partnership deals in place. What are your thoughts on Kennedy’s words and the issue of fighter pay in general?



17 Comments

  1. Profile photo of enjoylife321

    enjoylife321

    June 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I think its great that fighters are finally having the courage to come forward…..! Its about time they were paid and respected as professional athletes and entertainers.

    The UFC are constantly pointing to the fact that they produce their own shows and it costs money. They do this because they have billionaire casino owners capable of doing this and as a result they control the production and make even more money.

    The UFC always state how many employees they have to make you feel as if they are some not for profit charity….Look at all multinational companies, they make millions and also employ millions of staff. Companies objective is to hire as few people and pay as little as possible….Its a no brainer….

    The problem with the UFC format is that the people they underpay are professional athletes, stars. They are treated like replacable MC Donalds staff.

    UFC fighters get injuries, they train full time for many years to be great. No wonder Dana's mum thinks he is a greedy ***-hole.

  2. Profile photo of kungfurule

    kungfurule

    June 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    then why doesnt't the UFC get some 'large partnership' and pay the fighters more ? we all know the are lying and greedy. the fighters should form and association if that's what it takes to create a more sustainable situation

  3. Profile photo of watermelon fresh

    watermelon fresh

    June 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    The baldfather is not going to be happy when he reads this article.

  4. Profile photo of ahhhhhhhhhhhh

    ahhhhhhhhhhhh

    June 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    be more careful what you spend

    7000$ gym fees for probably a 10 week camp? dial it in a bit until you win a few fights and get a new contract.

    "12% for nutrition", i hope that means for a top-notch professional nutritionist, because you don't get to say food is part of your job, everyone buys food.. and no one made you hire a nutritionist

    "8% on lodging", oh no you have to pay for somewhere to live? what a bum deal.

    • Profile photo of speede

      speede

      June 27, 2013 at 12:01 am

      That is what I was thinking also. How is he going to include "nutrition" when everyone has to buy that. Also why does he need to buy new equipment every training camp. Just use the same one he used last time if he is that money strapped. They probably should be making more money but there is a lot and I mean a lot worse jobs than doing the sport you love and thousands of people cheering you on, that get paid less than what he is getting.

  5. Profile photo of D

    D

    June 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Yeah, but nobody would sponsor you, and you would have no chance to earn a raise. You have an opportunity to train for a living. If you don't like it, by all means, go empty trash cans. I don't want to hear it.

  6. Profile photo of IChokePeople

    IChokePeople

    June 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    That's about 15K a fight take home. If he fights 3 times a year that is 45K. Even if he only fights twice in a year that is 30K after taxes. I used to empty trash cans when I worked for the city and I didn't take that home.

  7. Profile photo of chael4president1

    chael4president1

    June 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Well I'm an EMT on an ambulance in South Carolina. And I'll make about 40K this year before taxes. I know that's just before taxes, and Obama will only let me keep like in the low 20's. But to me that means for pro athletes they are grossly underpaid. In other sports guys ride the bench all season and make way way more money.

    Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar, Anderson Silva, and maybe some investors from pro wrestling, should all get together and have a plan for their own promotion. This way, all UFC fighters can band together and create their union. Or just demand that every UFC fighter is guaranteed a significantly higher minimum salary per year.

    And if Dana tries to act like the dictator and says he'll just fire whoever he wants. Then all the fighters go over to the new promotion, where of course they are paid better. If enough guys were on board, especially at least some of the title holders and top ranked guys. He would have no choice. The problem is once a fighter is there long enough, wins enough, or gets enough public attention. And he starts getting paid more, then he doesn't care about what the bottom guys get paid anymore. I can't say every fighter thinks that way. But that is why most of the top guys probably would not go along with this plan. And the plan would need some top guys, so Dictator Dana would have no choice but to shell out a few more bucks.

  8. Profile photo of chael4president1

    chael4president1

    June 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Just to clarify, if I make 40K this year before taxes. That is also because of a whole lot of overtime. 50 to 70 hours a week is what most of us work on an average week, at the place I work. I used to want to be an MMA fighter so bad. It didn't happen, partly because I'm not athletic enough, and I didn't start practicing any martial arts until I was 25. I didn't stick with it for more than a year. Maybe I should have for personal reasons, but I can't imagine how it would feel to finally make it to the UFC, and then killing yourself in the gym for peanuts.

    Killing yourself in the gym and in the cage for that matter. For absolute peanuts. Dana is a very good talker. And does his best to sound like they are very fair. And some fighters may be frivolous and blow their money when they aren't making enough to really splurge yet. But considering these guys work harder than most athletes, and even low level UFC fighters make lots of money for the company. They deserve more. Fighters are constantly at risk for career ending injuries. And injuries that not only end their careers, but change their quality of life forever. One would think if Dana had any integrity at all, and the Fertitta's, they would pay even the lowest level UFC fighters something more. If you make it to the UFC you should at least be able to afford a new car after your first fight. Win or lose.

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