Chael Sonnen came to the defense of Dana White and the UFC as far as fighter pay was concerned.
Although White has been criticized over fighter pay for years, it has become even more prominent recently, especially with Jake Paul leading the crusade.
Most recently, the YouTuber-turned-boxer contributed to UFC women’s flyweight Sarah Alpar’s GoFundMe to help with training costs and living expenses, which only further brought attention to the plight of the fighters.
Sonnen, however, believes White is the one who got fighters to this level of pay in the first place.
Sonnen: I Was Paid $2K In 2005
The former title challenger brought up his own example of how he only earned $2,000 to show and $2,000 to win when he first competed for the promotion in 2005.
The minimum pay as of today, meanwhile, is $12,000 which is a six times as much as from Sonnen’s time.
“The person who believes fighters were exploited and fighters weren’t paid enough is Dana,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel (via Bloody Elbow). “And they’re now trying to use the same argument that he brought forward and act as though he is doing something wrong. When I first fought in the UFC, the year was 2005. I was paid $2,000 to show and $2,000 to win. I could not believe how much money I had in my pocket when I got that check. $2,000 in 2005.”
“The minimum pay right now is $12,000. The minimum now is six times as much. I will give two tickets to anybody who shows me any company in the world that is paying six times (more) right now than what it paid 15 years ago. If you can prove to me that they pay a minimum of six times what they paid a mere 15 years ago, I would get you two spectacular tickets to any UFC you would like to attend.”
While it’s true that pay has increased substantially since the early days, it doesn’t mean it’s at the right level either. Especially when non-champion boxers are able to earn millions.