Curtis Blaydes challenges UFC over “embarrassing” fighter pay: “The money is there”

Curtis Blaydes

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes has shared his thoughts on fighter pay, which has been a hotly-debated issue over the last few weeks.

Blaydes, who will battle Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC on ESPN 11 this Saturday, shared his thoughts in an interview with CBS Sports, calling the amount some fighters are paid “embarrassing” and challenging the UFC to start sharing the wealth.

“We do deserve more money,” Blaydes said. “I’m not even trying to be greedy. We are on ESPN now. That is supposed to mean something. We should be able to live the lives of other professional athletes in hockey, baseball, NFL and NBA. I’m not saying we need to make $20 million a fight but top guys like Jon Jones, Jorge, McGregor and those other top guys, they should be making a minimum of $5 million per fight. That should cause a trickle down effect.

“I don’t like seeing guys go into a war against one another where both guys are amazing and are fighting for $12,000 [to show] and $12,000 [to win],” Blaydes added. “It’s a little embarrassing. These are top athletes and a lot of them have to have [other] jobs still. If you want this sport to grow, you need to provide more amenities for us as far as training. You can’t have guys who are ranked who have to drive for Uber. That’s embarrassing.”

Blaydes, like many other fighters, recognizes that the UFC makes plenty of money. Unfortunately, the promotion shares very little of that money with the fighters.

While athlete in other major sports organizations typically receive 40-50 percent of league revenue, only about 16 percent of UFC revenue ends up in the fighters’ pockets. Blaydes sees that as unacceptable, and won’t hear any excuses to the contrary.

“I don’t want to hear all those excuses, the money is there,” Blaydes said. “I don’t want to hear the excuses. Even if you just bumped us up to like 29% of revenue, that would be a giant raise for guys. I don’t want to hear that. If you don’t want to pay us, just say you don’t want to give us the money. Just say that and don’t make excuses like, ‘I don’t know where it’s going to come from.’ It’s like, bro, don’t do that. Don’t disrespect our intelligence like that. We are worth more. If you don’t want to pay us, just say that and we can make our own informed decisions.

“It’s like you trying to pee on us and calling it rain like we’re dumb. I know we get hit in the head a lot but we are not dumb.

What do you think of these comments from Curtis Blaydes?