Last week during the build-up to UFC 274, UFC president Dana White said boxers are all overpaid in an interview on The Pivot podcast, causing a stir in the combat sports world. Given the widespread allegations UFC fighters aren’t paid enough, this statement was pretty controversial.
“Everybody wants more money. And one of the big problems with boxing too is that all those fu*king guys are overpaid, and every time they put on a fight, it’s a going-out-of-business sale. We’re just trying to get as much fu*king money as we can from you guys, and then we’re out of here. We’ll see you in three years,” White said. You can’t build a league like that. You can’t build a sport. You can’t have 750 fighters under contract, making money, feeding their families every year, with that kind of mentality. It doesn’t work. You have to run a business.”
“All those F*cking guys are overpaid” – @danawhite
The @ufc pay scale as been a large topic. We went straight to the man that built the structure & as usual he had no problem letting @thepivot know the real deal! @OfficialCrowder @FredTaylorMade @alicialauren
Live @ noon pic.twitter.com/CYMjcLmCUm
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) May 3, 2022
Everyone and their cousin had an opinion on White’s comments, and rightfully so. However, in an exclusive interview with MiddleEasy, No. 4 ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes disagreed with his boss. He doesn’t think that boxers are overpaid.
“I don’t think they’re overpaid. I think the market is what sets your pay, so obviously, boxers have been earning this type of income since the 90s or maybe even beyond that,” Blaydes said. “I believe people want to see these guys fight. That’s why they earn so much. If the boxing promotions weren’t earning the profits of these guys, they wouldn’t be making the money they are. I don’t believe they are overpaid. If boxers are overpaid then that means Lebron James is overpaid, Odell Beckham is overpaid, and Aaron Rodgers is overpaid. The market gets the pay, if the audience wants to see these athletes perform, you pay them. I think it is great for the sport.”
Francis Ngannou, one of two men to beat Blaydes in the UFC, wants to box heavyweight world champion, Tyson Fury. However, the UFC is not onboard as they once were with Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has said he wants to box Canelo Alvarez, but like Ngannou, the UFC is cold on the idea.
Blaydes thinks the UFC should be more lenient on their fighters wanting to-go box.
“I didn’t think it was an issue because they allowed McGregor to do it, so I thought Dana would be happy about this. It makes Ngannou a bigger name which makes the UFC a bigger name. Everyone wins, and everyone eats. I thought this would become a thing,” Blaydes said. “I’m here for it, I like seeing guys pushing the boundaries.”
There is no doubt that Ngannou and Usman are trying to push the boundaries; now, it is just on the UFC to get on board, but at the moment, it seems murky.
Blaydes returns to action at UFC London 2 in his second consecutive main event. He faces Tom Aspinall in what could be a No. 1 contender fight for the heavyweight title.
Watch the rest of our exclusive interview with Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes