Tensions have been high in the UFC right now, with several fighters asking for money. However Dana White has no interest in hearing out these pleas, as he made clear to Dominique Foxworth on “First Take.”
White has been rather dismissive of the several fighters who have been vocal about their disdain with the promotion. In just last few weeks, Henry Cejudo retired, Jon Jones has threatened to vacate his title, Jorge Masvidal has asked for his UFC release, and Conor McGregor apparently retired. All of this, in some way, relating to the men wishing for a higher paycheck.
Despite these concerns, Dana White has been steadfast that there are no issues. He doubled down on this when speaking on ESPN’s “First Take.” Sports reporter and former NFL player Dominique Foxworth got in a heated debate with the UFC President, pushing him in a way that is not often seen. However, White insisted that the fighters who are complaining have fresh contracts.
“Jon Jones just signed a new deal less than a year ago,” White said (h/t MMAFighting). “He’s got eight fights left on his deal. What do you want me to tell you? The guy’s got a deal.
“Same thing with Masvidal. Masvidal just signed a new deal seven months ago. These guys both got brand new deals that they were more than happy to sign less than a year ago.”
Dominique would counter this point, by saying that just because a fighter signed a contract, does not mean that contract was fair. Regardless White continued to posit the same points he has been using for a while.
“Does anybody feel like they make too much money?” White said. “Nobody does. If we were talking about a thing where these guys had old contracts from three years ago and it’s like ‘that was three years ago that I did this deal, let’s [renegotiate].’ They signed these less than a year ago. This was months ago.
“By the way, I don’t know if you know this but we’re in a pandemic and no other sports are going. Oh, by the way, every other sport out there is arguing about money right now. I haven’t laid off one employee. I haven’t asked any of my fighters to take less money, and you don’t hear me out here crying about, ‘No, I don’t get any gates, I don’t have this, I don’t have [that].’ You don’t hear me crying. I’m running my business. I’m paying everybody. Right now, if you think it’s easy to be a business owner right now here in today, you are right out of your mind. There has never been a harder time to do business than right now. Guess what? I’m pulling it off.”
At this point, Foxworth admitted to not knowing a ton of the specifics of the fight business. However he is familiar with labor negotiations, and feels that UFC fighters do not have leverage, without a union. Even though this is undeniably true, Dana maintained that with times being tough right now, he was doing the best he could. Yet Foxworth insists that usually where there is smoke, there is fire.
“I do know the ins and outs of sports labor,” Foxworth added. “I know that when you have a bunch of angry, upset athletes, there’s normally a reason why they should be angry and upset.”
Despite what Dana White says, the fact is that this is a continual struggle, involving more than just these fighters. Of course, some big things have to happen before anything changes. That being said, it was still interesting to see him get pressed like this by Dominique Foxworth.