Urijah Faber Talks Fighter Pay and MMA Unions – Need for Leverage

Former WEC World Champion Urie Faber recently discussed ongoing issues with MMA fighters and union compensation. The “The California Kid” sat down with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell to offer the wisdom he has gained through experience. The US-born athlete has been a major draw in the UFC and WEC, plus he has managed fighters such as Josh Emmet, Chad Mendes, and TJ Dillashaw. Recently, he also added the UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo as one of his managed fighters.

Urijah Faber talks fighter pay

“The pay has gone up a lot since then, as you know,” Faber said, “we need leverage. I think with more legit shows coming up, more options. Even the fact that Khabib got his Eagle promotion, he pays the guys decently And we have the PFL partnered with the UFC, it looks like, on ESPN’s side… You’ve got UN FC, you’ve got Bellator. UFC, 43, says with more options available to fighters, they should be able to negotiate for more pay due to greater competition.

“But I think more than that, there has to be intelligence on the side of the fighters,” Faber continues, “Because you might earn some money and not exceed your squeeze on how you spend your money. When you have to fight because you’re broke, that’s where you’re screwed. So when we get fighters to understand how not to get broke, we can really get the leverage on their side. Because then they don’t have to fight as much. “The California Kid” explains that with the fighter he manages, he teaches them how to have businesses outside of MMA and how to turn their MMA paydays into wise investment options. However, a fighter who has no money has absolutely no leverage, he explains.

Deiveson Figueiredo

UFC champion Deiveson Figueiredo recently changed his direction for Faber’s team. In an interview, the reigning UFC champion said his salary was embarrassing. The Brazilian-born champion said: “Guys who fight for the belt get paid around $500,000 and defend [champions] get around $600,000, and my numbers would never go over $200,000. That last fight, I got paid [$100,000 to show and $100,000 to win] Where [$100,000 to show, $50,000 to win], I do not know. Totally embarrassing. I know it’s low. It was desperate to get the title fight. I know this is a good purse for someone fighting for the belt.

“People know their value,” Faber said of handling the UFC champion, “For [Figueiredo] for example, he’s in the jungle in Brazil, the people around him or helping him probably didn’t think big enough. It seems like a lot of money to them, no matter what he was getting. Oh my God, that’s more money than he’s ever seen. But overall, could he live in Los Angeles for six months on that money? The 43-year-old explained that it’s possible Figueiredo and his team never knew his worth as they lacked experience working with MMA organizations and the UFC.

MMA unions and the Muhammad Ali law

“I’ve thought about it a lot… I like it on the entertainment side, unions help a lot,” Faber continued while discussing the possibility of an MMA union being helpful to fighters, “I would think yes that would be good. if done wisely,” but at the end of the day, it always comes down to money and leverage. “You need billionaires behind the strong leader because money wins in these matchups … Who has more money and more passion, that’s who wins right now.”

“On the Muhammad Ali Lawthat would be a huge key, but it only becomes a big key once the UFC has done its job,” Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act has existed in boxing since the year 2000, “If we can get the Muhammad Ali Law that would be the best thing. Those who don’t know, Muhammad Ali Act basically puts every game in competition. Faber explains that the Muhammad Ali Law would put all the fights in competition with all the promoters. For instance, Jon Jones versus Daniel Cormier II would have been the subject of an offer, so Strikeforce, the UFC and others could have sent offers to participating fighters. It also limits the duration of contracts.

“In turn,” Faber continues, “for fighters to come with them, they would have to give more to the fighters and less to them… That would change the dynamic.”

See the full interview below:

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