ESPN’s controversial ‘Outside The Lines’ expose on UFC fighter pay was aired earlier today and you can watch the video below.

The feature suggests that fighter’s under contract with the promotion are being underpaid and some are afraid to speak out on the matter for fear of reprisals. It also discusses the FTC’s investigation’s into the accusation that Zuffa (the owners of both the UFC and Strikeforce) are running a monopoly and talks about the potential of a fighters union.

Earlier in the week UFC president Dana White vowed to post a full video response after the program aired, and will also offer up their own recording of the full interview ESPN conducted with UFC CEO lorenzo Fertitta for the piece in an attempt to show that they edited his comments in a way that casts the company in a poor light.

Check out ESPN’s take on it below and stay tuned for further developments on this story in the coming days.

>>Update: Watch Dana White’s full video response to this ESPN feature here.


  1. Holy crap espn. Really? Bashing UFC NOW? You guys are pathetic..You got drunk Ken Shamrock bashing UFC and WHAT ARE YOU SAYING ABOUT THE FIGHT BONUSES? Dana White says how much bonuses were to fighters after EVERY SINGLE fight card.

    I have a feeling ESPN will be regretting this down the road..

  2. From what I’ve seen the UFC takes care of their fighters, from exposure to wages to medical care. It makes sense that the new comers don’t make as much as GSP, Anderson Silva or even the top 10 guys in each weight class. They have proven themselves time and time again, fighting the best in the world.

    Feeling that you are underpaid is completely subjective. You can’t compare your pay to the top 10 guys in the world if you haven’t proven yourself first. It must be frustrating to have your wages plastered all over the internet, especially when you’re at the lower end of the pay spectrum. But if you’re good enough to rack up 5-10 wins in a row, believe me you won’t be complaining about pay from the UFC much less from your sponsors. It also helps to be a character like Sonnen or even Lesnar, the kind of guys the majority of fans like to see talk and fight. One thing I love about the UFC is their willingness to do what the fans want. If we want it, they will bring it!

    One last point is that the UFC is still in the early stages of development. Maybe in the future when they’re as huge and popular as the NFL, NHL, NBA or MLB will they be able to pay every fighter at least 6 figures (without going out of business within a year).

    UFC = WIN

  3. The fighters get paid pretty damn good. The UFC doesn’t get over 500,000 PPV too often, it is not like they’re rolling in the dough. Everyone that is on television makes more money than the average American/Canadian for one fight. If you’re on the undercards, of course you’re only going to make a couple thousand until you make it to prime time. Aside from that, every fighter is tagged with logos on their t-shirts, hats and banners. They’re able to generate revenue from sponsorship. The UFC treat their fighters pretty good, is a monopoly good for the sport? Well the NFL/MLB/NHL/NBA have had one for decades. There are other shows for fighters to goto, just they wont make nearly the same amount of money. The same reality for every other major sport.

  4. Hey Robert are you on the Zuffa payroll or just a sucker, ESPN will so regret this when they are more significant sports like the NFL,NBA, MLBA, etc that are covered by ESPN

  5. Well this really didn’t tell us anything. The only thing I got out of this was that the UFC really should have something like the Mohammed Ali Boxing Act so fighters know exactly how much money the company is making. Honestly, I can say I feel that guys at the bottom level don’t make enough. But then again, there are a lot of fighters on the UFC roster, which just that company pays. (vs NHL for example with multiple teams that pay their players – no one has to pay every NHL player) $50,000 per year sounds like not a ton of money to get your ass beat over, especially since this is a career with a time limit on it.

    Honestly though, this report said nothing other than that we should be told more because the UFC doesn’t release much of their numbers.

  6. I don’t even have the words for this. ESPN should be embarassed. Complete garbage. Ken Shamrock = laughing stock.

  7. Hey Rob the fighters should be getting payed damn good from top to bottom since the UFC is the premier league but obviously that is not happening, also the sponsors have to pay a fee to the UFC

  8. Eric if youre signed by the UFC youve proven your worth with the exception of fighters like Lesnar, contrary to propaganda the UFC doesnt always deliver what the fans want, Fedor never stepped into the octagon and we will probably never see the GSP/Anderson superfight. As for expansion the UFC has peaked consider the low PPV buys that cant be blamed solely on the economy when people are still buying expensive boxing PPVs and the retirement of the cashcow Brock Lesnar

  9. Riggs the UFC does not disclose actual number Fertita couldnt even give a straight answer regarding percentages so there goes your point

  10. The UFC should pay the fighters from top to bottom 25,000$ just to show, 15,000 justin to fight, and 25,000$ win bonus… Everyone, the fighters who just started, and the vets, pay should increase with wins, get paid to work, and do a good job working (fighting )
    The longer you work for the company, the more ya get paid, like a raise…
    They are a little, just a little underpaid, no one realizes that the fighters get paid a pretty chunk from sponsors, usually more than what they are making from fighting.
    We will eventually see increase in fighter pay, as the sport grows bigger and bigger…
    Like boxing, NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA…… But some years away from that

  11. Very Dissappointed in ESPN’s “SPIN” of fighters salaries in the UFC….they cut it, and chopped it, to there liking… And what they wanted people to think of it. Cant wait till Dana’s airing of the entire interview… Dont care much for Dana.. hes a Schyster!!! And a prick!

  12. Just because you are a fan of the UFC doesn’t mean you have to bad mouth ESPN for this story. The more prominent you become, the more scrutiny you get. The same thing is happening with the Presidential nominees. If you’re going to support an organization or an individual you don’t really know, wouldn’t you like to dig a little deeper to know them? You don’t want to be a blind follower. Judging by some of the answers coming from the owners mouth, there is stuff going on within this organization. Before you lash out think about the transparency between you and your 9-5 employer. Think about the rights you have as an employee. Its the same with these fighters. I laugh at those of you who foolishly jump to the UFC’s defense as if you know the inner workings of this organization.

  13. The 1 thing that ESPN & everyone seems to forget about the UFC is that MMA as a sport hasn’t been around 20 years yet. Comparing the UFC to the NFL, NBA, or NHL is ridiculous considering those sports had decades to put together unions & negotiate agreements. Hell, MMA isn’t even legal in all 50 states yet!

    The UFC’s closest comparison is boxing, of which the ESPN admits that the UFC pays its beginning fighters much more. Of course the guys at the top in the UFC get less than the Klistchkos or Mayweather, but they still become millionaires. Overall, I would say this is a poorly-thought out piece by a network that should know better.

  14. Great piece by ESPN for having the courage to stand up against the UFC. I hope the UFC gets a union that represents its fighters and publicly shares how much the UFC really makes.