Chan Sung Jung’s upcoming title fight and winner-take-“all”

Photo credit: Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Photo credit: Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Chan Sung Jung will be fighting Jose Aldo in two days for the UFC Featherweight Championship. I’m happy he’s got the opportunity to fight, and while I think ring rust could be a problem, I think he has a chance. But I’m not excited about it, and most likely I won’t watch it.

The problem is the money. Chan Sung Jung will make $20,000 to show up, plus another $20,000 if he wins. In many big cities, your average real estate agent makes $20k just to sell one home, and he/she doesn’t have to pay a jiu-jitsu trainer, a boxing coach, a strength trainer, etc. Your average real estate agent doesn’t get beaten up, risk permanent injuries, or have an effective competitive career of 6-10 years, after which he has to find an entirely different line of work. Your average real estate agent doesn’t risk being turned into the star of an opponent’s highlight reel. Your average real estate agent doesn’t have to compete with people around the world who are looking to do him or her harm.

Check out 5 WTF Facts about UFC Fighter Pay. The saddest fact is #5:

Floyd Mayweather, in the 12 months between summer 2011 and summer 2012, made approximately four times more in guaranteed salary than the entire UFC roster combined. He fought twice.

How is it possible for one boxer to make FOUR TIMES more money than…ALL the fighters in an entire promotion COMBINED? It’s not as if the UFC itself isn’t making enough money and have the ability to pay its fighters. It’s still doing well in PPV buys.

These UFC fighters are seriously underpaid. I can support the UFC because I think the sport is exciting (even if it’s not a serious sport). I can support it because I think it’s a great venue for athletes to perfect their fighting skills. I can support it because I think it’s good for American health in general for more Americans to practice jiu-jitsu and boxing. But I can’t support their pay structure. These fighters are among the best in the world, and their pay should reflect the sacrifices that they make to compete against one another. Right now, the UFC brass is simply taking advantage of them.

18 thoughts on “Chan Sung Jung’s upcoming title fight and winner-take-“all”

  1. Though not trying to deny the point that the UFC could and should pay more to their fighters, I think that comparing “Money’s” paycheck with them will mislead one’s expectations as his earnings are downright obscene. Part of it is that, at the moment, MMA is virtually a monopoly at least in north america, with UFC. Mayweather was able to leave Top Rank for Golden Boy and later leave HBO for Showtime, and the fact that he has that option gives him considerable power to negotiate what he thinks he’s worth.

    The global market share for boxing is larger , as far as I’m aware. For example, you have Mexico and the Philippines as consistent markets for boxing but not MMA (not yet anyway), and that’s just two countries.

  2. eric,
    u make a good point. they’re way too underpaid. though jung actually makes $40k if he wins.

    odds are +600 for chan sung jung.

    that means that if you bet on jung and u want to win $40k, you only need to bet roughly $6700. u risk $6700 to 40k. he spends months training, paying gym fees, travel costs, living expenses and trainers to win 40k. crazy…

  3. yeah right. Geez. The odds are so crazy, simply because Aldo has great endurance, and they’ll be fighting in Brazil. Hoping for a Weidermann. Cmon KZ!!!

  4. Well, that sucked.

    Can’t say that I was surprised about the first 2 rounds — but it sucks how KZ had to suffer that kind of injury just while he was getting his groove on with some decent attacks. Down a few dollars, but really don’t give a fuck — just hope KZ pulls through the dislocation alright. Will definitely need serious surgery after this…

  5. According to the reports I read, Chan Sung Jung got beaten for four rounds, had his shoulder dislocated, and now he’s only $20,000 richer for his effort. He hadn’t fought for over a year, so this $20,000 was basically his pay for the whole year, excluding any endorsements (which I don’t know if he has, given that MMA isn’t as big in Korea).

    He would’ve made more money working at McDonald’s. Not only would he have made more money, he wouldn’t have to pay his trainers and medical bills. He’d be unlikely to dislocate his shoulder taking fries out of the oil. It’s a much better way to make a living.

    In other news, it sounds like Machida got robbed by a poor decision, but those guys have always been biased against Machida and karate-style fighters. Given the history of bias, if Machida gets taken down once, he should expect to lose the round, even if he lands three flying knees followed by a crane kick.

  6. I watched the fight. Yes, KZ was initially hesitant because of Aldo’s incredible counter power, but he was later finding momentum and I think he was turning it up in terms of damage. KZ attempted some nice flying knees but Aldo was just so fast that he dodged them midway. I’m pretty sure we would have seen KZ put up a decent battle in the last 2 rounds, although it would have been unlikely for him to win. But watching him get pummeled like that with an obviously dislocated appendage… that was a sick sight, especially seeing someone you respect get hurt like that. Ref was garbage, or was he maybe instructed to let fighting continue despite an injury — for crowd pleasing purposes???

  7. The thing is that KZ is still a great fighter, but Aldo is truly a class of his own. He’s just so lightning fast.

  8. What Machida did excellently was escape takedowns, while issuing pot shots. However, if judges are scoring purely on aggression, then I can see how Davis won, even though Machida definitely held control over the ring.

  9. Asianguy,

    “overall i call it a draw or a split decision either way. it was scored as unanimous decision for davis which is bullshit. judges should be fired”

    “Split” vs. “unanimous” refers to the judges’ breakdown, not the degree to which the judges thought the fighters won or lost. A unanimous decision for Davis means that all three judges were in his favor; a split decision would mean that one had it for Machida. If the outcome were obvious (I haven’t seen the fight so can’t judge that), then to say that it should have been “split” is to say that one judge should’ve been different from the other two.

    That said, I think they need to formalize the criteria. Judges these days often count takedowns and nothing else.

  10. Personally, I think counting a takedown without any damage or controlling the action is BS.

  11. I tend to think of the fighters’ situation similar to that of aspiring actors – there are many fighters, like actors, trying for a limited amount of jobs. A few make a lot of money, but most do not – a supply and demand situation. It’s not like the situation for data scientists (http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130729121335-206751421-data-scientists-are-the-new-rock-stars-as-big-data-demands-big-talent).

    Other factors to consider are sponsorships. Some say that sponsor income can be half or more of a fighter’s salary (http://www.mmafighting.com/2011/09/13/the-truth-about-fighters-and-sponsors). Also, UFC “locker room” bonuses (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1025574-dana-white-is-right-and-espn-is-wrong-about-ufc-fighter-pay) are not reported.

    Of these considerations, I think the first is the most important. A lot of fighters are willing to risk more for less pay for a shot at the big time.

  12. Hey Jeff!

    I think the movie analogy is a good analogy, but the total amount is also relevant. Think about how much money Brad Pitt’s co-star makes, and now think about how much Jose Aldo’s “co-star” made. The UFC is the world’s biggest stage, yet the 2nd best guy in the weight division made probably less than half of what most viewers make!

    It’s definitely hard to know what fighters make with the locker room bonuses, but I have to agree with this writer that it probably still isn’t enough and that it’s less than what fighters often claim or think they make:
    http://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/entertainment-articles/georges-stpierre-5-million-ufc-fight/

    Again, I have no problem with a winner-take-most industry. But I do think that most fighters in the UFC ought to make six figures before (and probably after) their expenses, and I think the top ten fighters in each division ought to be making millions. There needs to be a respectable reward for the risk these guys undertake!

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