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GSP Fight With UFC Shows Disparity Among Fighters, Promotion

Absolute power corrupts absolutely goes the saying, and the fight between Georges St-Pierre and the Ultimate Fighting Championship highlights it perfectly.

As GSP joins the ever-growing line of fighters unhappy with the UFC, former light heavyweight champion and heavyweight champion Randy Couture said that “Rush” needs to buckle up for a long, expensive fight.

On the surface the disagreement is just over money, but taking a closer look it is more than just dollar signs. The fight is about control, plain and simple.

When the UFC signed with Reebok to provide a uniformed look for fighters Dana White and Co. forced fighters to take a big hit in their pocketbooks. Not only that, the tier system favors fighters who are in the limelight more often than those still climbing the ranks.

There’s been countless writing done about the deal: the pros and most certainly the cons of it. There have been comparisons about how other athletes earn significantly more than professional fighters. A newly drafted NFL or NBA player is signed to a hefty, yearly contract with certain options depending on their caliber. Fighters don’t have that luxury and the UFC is trying to keep it that way.

St-Pierre left the promotion before the Reebok deal, and since the company was purchased for a meager $4 billion dollars some renegotiating needs to be done. Yet, both sides have failed to come to an agreement.

Instead of letting one of the company’s most decorated fighters out of his current contract or even working with him to build a new one, the promotion has decided to make it a public spectacle.

Why?

Because it can. Because the UFC has control.

There is no doubt the UFC showcases some the best of MMA. But rising Bellator is game for giving the juggernaut a go for who is the top-tier promoter.  With recent signings of Benson Henderson, Rory McDonald, etc, and offering favorable contracts to such, it has become a refugee camp of sorts for fighters that have had enough with the UFC.

Dana White has signed on with his new bosses for at least five more years and he gets a nine percent cut of all future profits the company makes. Translation: he has money, he has power.

The UFC holds all the cards. Even with the likes of Conor McGregor moving around to whichever weight class he chooses when it suits him, the company is the boss. Dana White is the boss and if you don’t fall in line you are buried.

Look at Tito Ortiz or even Randy Couture, both had run-ins with promotion and have never fully gotten back into its good graces.

There will never be equality between what executives earn and what athletes earn. That’s just a fact. But the UFC could do more to bridge the gap between the two parties. In fact it would help to not flaunt its absolute control so publicly but rather work in private for the best deals.

Fighting is business. It’s show business, really. And there’s no business like show business which means we are more than likely to see more of these public fights in the future.

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