Fighter pay continues to be a hot topic between fighters and fans and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Multiple fighters have spoken out against Dana White and the UFC for being short-changed on their post-fight paycheck while the promotion brags about its financial record-breaking since the pandemic began in 2020.
Fighters from the past, present, and future including Anderson Silva, Tony Ferguson, and Paddy Pimblett have joined an argument that gained significant media attention from a very public contract dispute with reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
Very few fighters have come out defending the UFC and fighter pay. Sean O"Malley has more or less aligned himself on the side of the UFC saying that fighters need to utilize self-branding and marketing for greater financial success.
You can now add ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler to that shortlist. During an appearance on the ‘How You Livin’ J Piven’ podcast, Chandler defended Dana White and even implied that White works harder than the UFC’s fighters.
"And that’s why I’ve always been—and I think I take some flack for it from fighters—because I don’t have a problem with the quote/unquote ‘fighter pay’ argument," Chandler said. "I think people think we should make a lot more money because the UFC makes a ton of money on their shows. Well, the UFC’s been at it since 1993. Dana White has had 10,000 sleepless nights when most of us fighters are just showing up to practice and going to bed, laying our head on the pillow and getting after it—and getting paid a decent wage for what we do."
Michael Chandler Believes Fighters Should Spend More Time Marketing Themselves and Less Time Complaining About the UFC
Chandler went on to further explain his stance saying UFC fighters are independent contractors and can use their status to reap financial gains outside of the cage.
"For me, I have been able to monetize things outside of just my fights," Chandler continued. "And you always see guys on the microphone saying UFC should pay more—or that the media should say that the UFC should pay more—and it’s never the guys who are out there having their own YouTube channel, getting roles in movies, building fitness & wellness lifestyle programs, selling merch; doing all the different things that we can do as fighters because we’re independent contractors.
“With our platform and our name and likeness—the UFC owns it, and they can use a picture and a video of me in whatever they want—but I can sell shirts, I can sell hats, I can do whatever I want. I can be in your next movie [clears throat], I don’t know? We can do whatever we want."
Chandler believes that fighters who are not where they want to be financially should expend their energy on moving up to the next level instead of "throwing rocks" at the people above them.
"I always think that there’s people on the lower rungs of society always throwing rocks at the people above them when it takes the same amount of energy to reach up and grab the next rung to pull themselves up to get there. That’s kinda my thought process on it, and I’ve kinda been a self-starter and a self-motivated kind of guy."
Chandler is riding high after a highlight-reel knockout over fan-favorite Tony Ferguson at UFC 274. The win snapped a two-fight losing skid against Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje in his sophomore and junior efforts with the promotion. No timeframe has been set for Chandler’s return to the Octagon but had recently lobbied for a fight with Nate Diaz in July.
Do you agree with Michael Chandler"s stance on fighter pay or do you believe the UFC should pay fighters more as the promotion achieves greater financial success?
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