Former UFC legend Frank Shamrock explains what’s going wrong with the UFC under WME-IMG ownership.
If there’s one thing Frank Shamrock knows about, it’s dissatisfaction with UFC brass. The MMA legend has been pointing out anti-fighter behavior from the promotion and president Dana White for decades. Now his feelings are being mirrored by more and more UFC fighters in the new era of WME-IMG ownership, and he thinks things are only going to get worse for the company before they get better.
“You gotta change the way they treat these athletes,” Shamrock said on the latest episode of Submission Radio. “We gotta change the value that is given. Make it more fair. I think the way the old regime was set up, most of that money flowed to the top and all the executives got paid big, but these guys that really sacrificed, they didn’t get much and now they’re starting to speak about it.”
Asked if the Fertittas got out of the sport just before all these issues came to a head, Frank agreed.
“Hundred percent. You know, the discord is coming, the regulation is coming, the government oversight is coming,” he said. “So yeah, that’s the time to get out. The brand’s had a great run, it’s built up. The girl’s beautiful globally, no one knows what it’s really like. Perfect time to get out. I mean, I applaud their business. They’re great business men. I knew they would be super successful with it, but at the same time, I want to be respected at work, I want to be cared for, I want my values to be acknowledged.”
“I mean, from a business perspective if I was looking at the lifecycle of a brand, we’re winding this brand down unless drastic changes happen,” Shamrock continued. “And only because they had a very oppressive, very results-oriented culture that wasn’t concerned about fighters and their rights and the chi and everything else, and now that community has pushed back. So they’re not performing, they’re not sacrificing, you know, they want to be paid first. And that’s great, but you need a very active and vibrant and risk-taking culture to keep this type of growth going, and I think that part is stagnant.
“We need to find a way to reactivate how that martial spirit and that Rocky-esque dream, and it seems like it’s convoluted or smoke and mirrors now. There’s no real path, you know, to go from my martial arts school to my UFC championship, and I think that’s where they’ve lost the way.”
Who knows if the UFC will manage to shake off this post-sale funk they’ve found themselves in, but one thing is for sure: their old strategies for dealing with fighter dissatisfaction aren’t working like they used to. Whether this leads us to a better MMA ecosystem for everyone where fighters earn a bigger share of the pie or a boxing situation where politics take the lead and big fights grind to a halt remains to be seen.
Source:: mma mania