Report: Law Prof Blasts UFC Labor Relations in Bloomberg Businessweek
By FCF Staff
The UFC has been accused on several fronts recently that it isn’t paying many of its fighters enough money, and now Bloomberg Businessweek has run a story echoing those sentiments.
The report notes UFC President Dana White recently responded to the criticisms, by angrily telling MMA Junkie.com that the company is considering eliminating it’s discretionary bonuses, so that it can pay lower level fighters more.
After the Bloomberg story notes that the UFC “keeps a tight lid on its finances” and that fighters do not have any collecting bargaining rights, the report quotes Norwich University law professor Zev Eigen stating:
“The truth about UFC fighters is they’re treated like independent contractors when they should be treated as employees,” said Eigen, who also noted several months ago that fighters have one of the “worst” arrangements in the entertainment industry. “As employees, there’s a whole set of obligations under the law that come to bear. So they’re treated as ICs to avoid those laws, which makes life easier for management.”
Eigen also added that fighters and agents are “terrified” of the UFC, and that White’s plans to redistribute money that would have gone towards discretionary bonuses “would make things better—but only to the extent that it relieves the pressure and the shining of the spotlight. But that’s just standard social-exchange theory and labor economics 101.”
In recent weeks, ex-UFC fighters like John Cholish, Jacob Volkmann, Jason Miller and Jon Fitch have been critical of the promotion’s labor relations and compensation structure. More recently, current UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy also opened fire on what fighters earn, but then apologized for the comments and said he had been taken out of context.
White has also argued in the past that every fighter that signs with the UFC is given the opportunity to work their way up the promotion’s ranks, and make more money.
The UFC reportedly did not respond to requests from Bloomberg Businessweek to be quoted in the story.