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Swanson: Biggest UFC stars should fight for our future ‘instead of crying over who the GOAT is’

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A bunch of UFC stars have individually voiced their concerns as of late or stated concerns about fighter pay. Most notably, the last couple of weeks have seen light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and BMF titlist Jorge Masvidal both publicly clash with Dana White and ask to be released, while two-division champ Henry Cejudo retired from the sport.

Long time MMA vet Cub Swanson wants changes as well, but he believes change will only happen if the top UFC stars banded together to organize. He pointed out that the one of the rare times UFC stars actually grouped together to discuss something, was for pointless GOAT debates.

Other fighters have recently chimed in asking for change. Former title challenger Gray Maynard joined in with Masvidal and rebutted White’s claims “anybody that doesn’t want to fight doesn’t have to fight,” pointing out how their exclusive contracts and extensions prevent them from competing anywhere else.

Other MMA fighters and UFC vets have joined in the discussion:

Dana White has been adamant about not giving fighters increases as of late. He has cited the pandemic and lack of gate revenue to suppress that fighter pay, but large ticket sales and big sponsorships never really increased fighter pay before either.

The antitrust lawsuit against the UFC, along with important reporting on the matter, has revealed a lot of financial information about the promotion. The UFC themselves estimate to pay fighters just around 17% of the revenue, and revealed plans to maintain that percentage in the future. That means that even doubling the purse of every single UFC fighter would still be a far cry from other major sports that give roughly 50% of the revenue to the athletes.

A survey from The Athletic showed that an overwhelming majority of fighters support the idea of organizing and getting the ability to collectively bargain for better purses, but they’ve yet to make actual inroads on that goal.

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