ESPN created a minor stir last week with a report that took the UFC to task on the issues of monopolization and fighter pay.
The official video segment aired on Sunday's ‘Outside the Lines,' and while it wasn't nearly as damning as many may have anticipated, it certainly brought several questions to the forefront. Check out the full video and UFC responses after the jump.
Some notable quotes from Lorenzo Fertitta:
On the idea of the UFC being a monopoly: We are giving these guys tremendous opportunity to be able to make more money, have bigger exposure, get bigger sponsors. It is actually a great thing, and when you throw out the term ‘monopoly,' it's the most ridiculous thing that anybody could ever say.
On fighters' fear of speaking out against the UFC: Anybody can talk about anything. We've had plenty of situations where fighters have come out and made statements. If a guy is somebody that the fans want to pay for, I don't care what he does or what he says, I want him on our payroll. I want him fighting for us. I could care less. There's no retribution.
On the notion that the UFC pays fighters back 10% of the revenue it receives:
ESPN: How accurate is that assessment?
Fertitta: It's completely inaccurate.
ESPN: Would you put a percentage on it for us?
Fertitta: I would tell you that, you know, looking at the numbers it's not far off from what the other major sports leagues pay as far as percentage revenue.
ESPN: Are you saying that you pay fighters, as a percentage of revenues, in the neighborhood of 50%?
Fertitta: In that neighborhood, yeah. In that neighborhood.
On the criticism: I'm proud of what we've done. I think what we've done is exactly what America is all about. We go out and risk our money, we use our entrepreneurial spirit, we work 14 hours a day, we created an industry that, these guys wouldn't be making any money if it wasn't for us, and 39 millionaires. I'm pretty proud of that. And we're going to make a lot more, because we're just getting started.
When news of the interview first broke, UFC President Dana White promised to release the unaired portion of the interview, and he did just that on Sunday. In this short clip Fertitta grills the ESPN interviewer on the fighter pay of some of the network's boxing shows.
Where this issue goes from here, who knows. But it'll certainly be an interesting discussion to watch.
Photo via vegasnews.com.
UPDATE: The UFC has continued to pile on against the ESPN story, releasing a pair of videos covering Dana White's response to 'Outside the Lines' and the full, uncut version of ESPN's interview with Lorenzo Fertitta. MMA Nation's Luke Thomas hit the nail on the head with this one.
Dana White's response:
Uncut Lorenzo Fertitta interview: