Flyweight Kingpin Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson made headlines in a very unique manner for the typically soft spoken champion. Johnson hit his breaking point with the UFC and jumped on the runaway topic train conducted by “Raging” Al Iaquinta regarding fighter reimbursement. If there is one constant in this world, it is that people will always bitch about money. Very few people on the planet earth are content with the money they receive. There is always someone in the same trade, with far worse production, being paid much more (insert Bleacher Report staff here, motherfuckers). It seems to be a consensus view in the MMA community that Mighty Mouse was justified in his actions. He went on the MMA Hour with ex-UFC refugee and journalism badass Ariel Helwani leaking private discussions with UFC brass Mick Maynard, Sean Shelby, and Darth Vader himself Dana White. There is nothing the public loves more than a blue collar guy taking a stand against those who are reaping the benefits of his labor. Way to go Demetrious!!!! Right? Wrong.
I hate when people keep their ideas, concerns, and feelings bottled up inside because no good ever comes of it. The only thing I hate more than this is when a person lets these thoughts out to the world when they are in the wrong. At 31 years of age I stand nothing more than a real life version of Willy Loman. Luckily for me, I am am an ultra good looking, chiseled version with impeccable hair. The most valuable thing I have learned in sales is always know your numbers. This lesson is even more so demonstrated if you are going to walk the line and take a stance against company executives. When exploring the matter at hand it is clear Johnson does not know his numbers.
To better illustrate how the UFC and it’s fighters fall into the landscape of big business sports organizations, a comparison is below. For the sake of the argument we will rank Demetrious Johnson as the 8th best fighter in the organization and compare to other professional athletes of similar rank. I used fan voting for the example rather than past performance because the MMA fan community is the mafia I am facing in this argument. Unfortunately there is no perfect way to rank athletes in different sports, but if you argue my methods here you’re probably just a dick.
Organization Yearly Revenue: $600M
Demetrious Johnson Yearly Earnings (based on 2017 run rate at 3 fights): $1.3M
Demetrious Johnson % of UFC Revenue: 0.22%
Organization Yearly Revenue: $14B
Ben Roethlisberger Yearly Earnings: $18M ($12M base)
Ben Roethlisberger % of NFL Revenue: 0.13%
Organization Yearly Revenue: $8B
Anthony Davis Yearly Earnings: $22M
Anthony Davis % of NBA Revenue: 0.27%
Organization Yearly Revenue: $9B
Manny Machado Yearly Earnings: $5M
Manny Machado % of MLB Revenue: 0.05%
Organization Yearly Revenue: $4B
Carey Price Yearly Earnings: $7M
Carey Price % of NHL Revenue: 0.17%
Organization Yearly Revenue: $536M
Giovanni Dos Santos Yearly Earnings: $3.7M
Giovanni Dos Santos % of MLS Revenue: 0.69%
In reviewing the information above, a few things stand out. The first being Jose Aldo might have the right idea with this whole soccer thing. The problem with the MLS is that they are not growing. They likely have neared their ceiling in the United States market, but then again I am wrong daily. They have made a strategic decision to pay stars from overseas slightly more in an effort to attract fans to the European names. Even taking that into consideration the percentage is only slightly higher than the others. The public has seen the UFC grow at an amazing rate over a short period of time but let’s not forget it is an organization still in it’s infancy. Fighter pay will grow as the organization grows. It is safe to say Mighty Mouse earns far more than Royce and Art did at UFC 1 or even Anderson Silva when he was an untouchable superpower from the X-Men. The fighters now and for the near future are pioneers in the sport. Embrace the role, make good money, and use it to open doors in the future by building a legacy.