UFC corruption makes Don King look like Santa Claus, MMA fighters tell ABC

The MMAFA made a presentation to the ABC yesterday dragging the UFC for its low revenue share and treatment of fighters.

By: Tim Bissell | 3 days ago

The Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Association (MMAFA) gave a presentation at a meeting of the Association of Boxing Commissions yesterday to discuss the UFC’s impact on the sport of MMA. Needless to say, the review of the UFC’s actions, both past and present, was scathing.

Bloody Elbow has acquired the full slide-show presentation from that meeting. It is presented below:

What the MMAFA said about the UFC

The MMAFA, an organization founded by lawyer Rob Maysey which counts former UFC fighters among its members, told the ABC that the UFC dominates the sport of MMA, makes more money than anyone else in combat sports and has done so through exploiting fighters and corrupting the sport itself.

Here are some of their specific claims:

The UFC are making more money and paying fighters less

In 2015 the UFC generated $609 million in revenue. The promotion shared around 19% of that revenue with fighters.

In 2022 the UFC made $1.14 billion. Despite that massive jump in revenue, the percentage fighters received that year fell to around 13%.

The MMAFA also shared (citing Bloody Elbow’s John S. Nash) that UFC fighter pay in 2016 was around $148 million and that this actually decreased in 2022, with an estimated $146 million going to fighters.

The MMAFA told the ABC that the UFC made a net profit of $387 million in 2022 and that this is likely more than all other MMA and boxing promotions combined. In that claim they reported that Eddie Hearn’s Macthroom Boxing made $14 million in profits for 2022.

Dana White, Ari Emanuel and the Fertittas always win

The slideshow also made the claim that UFC President Dana White, Endeavour CEO Ari Emanuel and former ZUFFA owners Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta “have made more [money] than all fighters in UFC history combined.”

MMAFA presentation on the UFC

How the UFC ‘corrupted’ MMA

The presentation also detailed the structure of MMA and explained how that has allowed the UFC to became so powerful in the marketplace.

That section of the presentation picked out moments from UFC history to illustrate how the promotion controlled its fighters and, in some cases, used them against each other.

One such incident is Gray Maynard disclosing that former UFC matchmaker Joe Silva told him to break Roger Huerta’s arm. Huerta had a fractious relationship with the UFC, going from Sports Illustrated cover-boy and main eventer to being kept on the sidelines and eventually released from the company.

MMAFA presentation on the UFC

That slide was followed by a famous quote attributed to Silva. “If you don’t like the first opponent I give you, you sure as shit aren’t going to like the second.”

The MMAFA then claimed that the UFC, thanks to their monopolization of the market place, are “masquerading as a sport while being enabled to operate as a reality show”.

“The UFC’s corruption makes Don King look like Santa Claus” read one of the MMAFA’s slides.

The MMAFA’s goals

The presentation concluded with the MMAFA stating their goal to represent all professional MMA fighters and coaches and presumably allow those individuals to collectively bargain for better pay, less restrictive contracts and the prevention of the UFC (and other promotions) from using fighter names and likenesses to generate profit, which the UFC does not share, in perpetuity.

MMAFA presentation on the UFC

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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