Longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan believes dividing fighter payment in MMA into “show” money and “win” money is a dated idea which should be removed from the sport.
For the majority of athletes who compete, the contract structure sees earnings divided into two sections. First is the “show” money, which is guaranteed once the fighter successfully makes weight and steps in the cage for their bout. From there, the rest is largely based upon results.
In most situations, a victory means double the earnings for a fighter. The system was originally thought to have been a motivator to pursue the win by any means necessary, but Rogan said he’s not a fan of that approach – not only because he thinks the reasoning is off base, but also because there’s a variety of circumstances, such as bad refereeing or bad judging, which could cost a fighter a win.
There are a select number of fighters who have been able to negotiate a deal in which they are paid a flat rate, win or lose. That opportunity only seems to exist in the top of the tier, though. Chances are the current payment system is going to be in place well into the future, and Rogan said if that can’t change, it’s important to hold referees and judges accountable if they make a mistake that could hit a fighter in the pocketbook.
“I’ve heard (blowback) from Athletic Commissions, but I say, ‘Go (expletive) yourself,’” Rogan said. “You have guys who train for months and months and months and someone who literally doesn’t understand martial arts is giving these guys a decision, a loss or a win. That’s 50 percent of their money. That’s crazy.”
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