Chuck Liddell is a hall of famer and was one of the defining champions that helped put this sport on the map. His ability to knock out everyone and his epic rivalries with Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture helped showed that the UFC was here to stay. One of the bigger issues coming out recently is fighter pay. Fighters are complaining that they’re not getting paid as much as they should. Don’t consider Chuck Liddell one to put his shoulder out there to cry on.
He discussed his opinion on Sirius XM Fight Club radio:
“Okay, look. I just had this conversation with a top-10 fighter, and he’s saying the same thing. These guys have got to understand, this is a performance based sport, like all sports. You fight good, you win, you get paid. Alright? You’re starting out, no one knows who you are, no one cares, you don’t get paid. Period. It’s simple. I mean, my first contract I was offered by the UFC, or my second contract, it was 1-and-1, 2-and-2, 3-and-3. That’s $12,000 for the year. Don’t complain to me about fighter pay. It was $12,000 for a year and it was exclusive. What are you guys kidding me what am I going to do with this.”
“Everybody doesn’t want to hurt to lower guys from getting paid, but it comes down to, it’s a performance based business. You get good, you win, then you get paid. Guys are getting paid plenty, trust me. I got paid plenty, trust me.”
“You’re an entertaining, you’re fighting… basically it’s a performance based sport. People have to want to see you fight. So if they want to see you fight you’ll get paid. If you’re a fighter that makes money, you’ll get paid. Everybody points to, ‘Oh, boxing these guys are getting…’ There’s a couple guys that make these big huge paydays. That’s it. The undercards don’t make anything. There’s bottom guys on some of those cards that are making $100 a round. $100 a round. That’s $400 for a four-round fight.
“People got to understand, the fighters at the top are the fighters that are supposed to get paid because they’re the guys that are bringing people in, bringing eyes to the TV, getting pay-per-views buys, and putting people in the seats. I mean, that’s what it comes down to. You want to get that? Beat everybody. Be good enough. If you’re not good enough to get there — sorry. It’s not a welfare state.”
“You picked the wrong profession. I saw a guy in California, he said “I won 8 fights in a row and I can’t make a living,” cause he wasn’t I guess. I looked at your record. you won 8 fights in a row on these small shows. You fought in the UFC twice, you came up twice after winning long streak wins and lost twice. Hey, you made a good run at it. You tried. Eh, try another sport because this one doesn’t work for you. You can’t even beat an entry level guy into the UFC.”
Looks like Chuck has a point. This sport is all about entertainment. You have to win fights and win decisively. Fans don’t want to watch three round of fighters laying on each other. They want exciting bouts and if you pull that off, the UFC will take care of you.
What do you guys think? Is this a fare assessment or should the fighters get more pay right from the get go?