Tim Kennedy rips “pathetic” UFC pay; says Garbage Men make more money

Posted: June 27, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion

kennedyUh oh. A very popular fighter has just stepped up to harshly criticize the UFC’s compensation plan before he’s even stepped into the octagon. Tim Kennedy, who will face Roger (that’s ‘Hodger’ to his friends) Gracie at UFC 162 is speaking out against low fighter salaries. The military hero even compared his pay to that of a garbage man.

“It’s pathetic that so many fighters [have to have other jobs],” Kennedy told 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.”

He went on: “It’s a good thing I have another job because the UFC doesn’t pay very well. Anybody who accepts that (low fighter pay) 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 will make around $55,000 to show at UFC 162 next weekend. By all accounts, that’s not on the low end compared to other fighters’ salaries. If he wins, he says that figure will rise to about $70,000. Breaking that number down, Kennedy claims that after he pays various expenses like his camp, his medicals and his fight team, he will clear approximately $20,000 BEFORE taxes.

I’ve had people unfamiliar with the sport make comments to me like, “he just made 25 grand in that fight?!? Hell, I’d do that!” My normal response is something like, “A) No you wouldn’t. B) You’re an idiot. And C) You’re an idiot.”

Kennedy is considered one of the more popular fighters around, which is in a way makes his comments both surprising and warranted. It will be very interesting to see if Dana White reacts to them. The most intriguing thing about Kennedy’s comments is that his salary is actually substantially more than most of the fighters on the rest of the billing. That paints a pretty grim picture for the guys on the preliminary  card doesn’t it?

  1. Kent Murray says:

    I think he may be paying some of his team or training partners a little too much? But if he can win, maybe win a bonus then it may turn out to be a good payday plus if he can raise the level of his game and competition then he should be moved into a higher pay bracket. I think this is a growing sport and these guys put in the work and should start getting paid more. Kennedy is entitled to his opinion and only he knows how much investment he has to put into his training and his camps, management and all that stuff. I really like the guy and hope he does well, although his fighting style is not real exciting not my favorite style anyway!

  2. Joshua Boyd says:

    Is he saying that he will clear $20,000 of $55,000 or $70,000? Either way, he may need to reconsider how he does what he does with his money, fight team, etc.. He should be clearing at least 50% of what he is paid, taxes included, or he needs to change something! Also, there is no (and rarely is) mention of sponsorships. Being in the UFC creates a tremendous opportunity for major sponsorship dollars. In addition to straight money, sponsorships can provide many products and services so that those expences don’t have to come out of a fighter’s purse. What about compensation for appearances, commercials, etc. Plus, there is also no mention of the fact that a healthy MMA fighter fights 3-4 times per year. That quickly multiplies $20,000 into $60,000-$80,000. That’s a whole heck of a lot more than I make and I don’t get to travel the world pursuing my passion and doing the one thing in life I love more than life itself! Listen, I understand the % argument and the fact that the UFC is making a bazillion dollars. Fighters want and deserve a bigger slice of the pie. Don’t we all! I can’t think of anyone who works for any company who isn’t in the same boat! Let me end by saying that I love MMA, I 100% appreciate what fighters do, and I wish they all got paid millions!

  3. Eric Yeager says:

    Soldiers risk more and get less recognition. If we are talking about risk vs reward, talk about them first.

  4. […] Tim Kennedy rips "pathetic" UFC pay; says Garbage Men make more money […]

  5. […] to a lot of debate about fighter pay recently by Tim Kennedy, Jon Fitch and others, Dana White was compelled to discuss what is being perceived as low fighter […]

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