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OPINION: MMA Fighters Should Support Paulo Costa’s Claim

Source: MMA Junkie

Paulo Costa has recently been another fighter in the short three decade history of the UFC to dispute fighter compensation. Just a short while ago Floyd Mayweather and YouTube sensation Logan Paul competed in a historic exhibition bout. Whether it’s historic for good or bad reasons is under one’s own discretion.

However, ask Costa and he’ll assure you it was a disgrace to MMA fighting, not because of the event, but for the compensation both men received for their exhibition. Each man claimed to have made around $20 million for their part in the night and lead up to their main event. Sure enough, Costa was not happy.

Nor should he be! He is just one of the more recent examples of fighters disputing their claim for a bigger share of revenue coming their way. Over the years there have been many popular fighters who went to war with UFC President Dana White over the value of their contracts. Names include Jon Jones, Nate Diaz, Randy Couture, Cris Cyborg, and many more prominent names. But now, more than ever, has fighter pay come into the conversation with even Jake Paul calling out White over fighter pay by explicitly saying “F*ck Dana White” when speaking about how White treats his fighters.

White’s argument is simple, if you don’t want to fight then don’t fight, as he said, “these guys are independent contractors.” There is one huge discrepancy in that claim, independent contractors can fight in other promotions, UFC fighters are locked in their contracts. They can’t just leave to go fight in Bellator, PFL, or any other organization. But, of course the argument tends to change a lot. White changes his disputes as much as former President Donald Trump did.

Former title challenger Costa is doing the right thing here by arguing his value. White berating his last performance in response is even more reason to be compensated much higher, especially when your boss goes in front of cameras and dismisses your last performance as “ridiculous.”

Sadly, this isn’t going to go Costa’s way. Very rarely has a UFC fighter won their contract dispute. Usually, there are small victories for some such as Jorge Masvidal and Diaz. Yet, there are more losses with Jones, Couture, Cyborg, and Conor McGregor when he requested his share of the UFC company.

Although, this should not be a complete waste by Costa. Fighters should learn their value and follow the advice of previous victims. Cyborg on several occasions preaches fighters to finish their UFC contract and test free agency to find their worth on the open market. This method has worked for several like Tyron Woodley, Phil Davis, Rory McDonald and others.

There is no doubt the UFC is the pinnacle of the sport but let’s make things clear, fans don’t pay to watch Dana White. They pay for the fighters, and if the main event fighters leave, will the UFC really the pinnacle of the sport?

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