Former Strikeforce middleweight fighter Tim Kennedy hasn’t even fought in the UFC for the first time yet, but he’s already rocked the boat by publicly criticizing the company’s fighter salaries
“It’s pathetic that so many fighters [have to have other job],” Kennedy tells the Grapple Talk podcast. “I’m one of the 3% of guys in the whole entire sport and it would be slim pickings to survive off what I make in fighting. It’s a good thing I have another job because the UFC doesn’t pay very well. Anybody who accepts that as a reality of the sport is sad and pathetic. I hope this isn’t the reality of the sport, if it is I should probably go do something else, like empty trash cans. I’d make more money than I do now.”
Kennedy, who’ll fight another former Strikeforce fighter Roger Gracie in his first Octagon outing at UFC 162 revealed that he’ll earn $55,000 as his base salary, and will make $70,000 in total if he emerges with a victory.
However, he indicated that after training costs and taxes he’d only be left with $20,000.
Kennedy has apparently had a change of heart since first voicing his complaints earlier this week though and has now issued an apology on Facebook for being critical of the UFC – presumably after having been reprimanded by the company.
“I recently made comments regarding fighter pay. The intent of these statements was to highlight that professional fighters incur significant expense associated with their preparations to fight and that fighter compensation is still not on par with other major sports. While I am fortunate to have various revenue streams associated with my business interests, most fighters do not have that luxury. When you spend training camps with great guys with amazing talents and you see them barely making ends meet, while simultaneously seeing athletes in other sports with far less character and a far smaller work ethic making exponentially more, you can get frustrated.
Unfortunately, I made statements that alluded to how the UFC in particular pays its athletes. This was particularly offensive as Zuffa has taken better care of me than any other organization, even giving me a bonus for being amusing on Twitter. My choice of words was poor, not properly informed, and did not match my intent. Additionally, my comments were taken out of context. I can tell you that I have been fighting longer than most people and I remember all too well the days when there was no regulation or standard for an MMA promotion. I fought many times in Mexico where the rules were negligible, there were no physicals, and being paid was a luxury we didn’t expect. Our sport was shunned and was considered “human cockfighting”. Today, we are on Fox. We have doctors and insurance. We make more money than the average American. And we get these things by playing a sport we love. The only reason this is possible is because of Zuffa. They have legitimized the sport and taken better care of the athletes than any other organization, and the trend is only improving, with athletes making three times what they made on average five years ago.
My comments were hurtful and inappropriate. I accept full responsibility for the statements and apologize to the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, & Joe Silva as well as anyone I might have offended with my comments. Fighting for the UFC is an honor and a privilege. I look forward to putting this situation behind me and focusing on my upcoming fight with Roger Gracie.”