Former IBO super-middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr, has voiced his concern over the perceived unequal pay structure within the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Despite being a fervent MMA enthusiast who admits to watching the UFC more than traditional boxing, Eubank Jr. highlighted a significant drawback: the financial disparities faced by UFC fighters.
Speaking to The MMA Hour, Eubank Jr. commended the UFC for its entertainment value but expressed his discontent with how Dana White's monopoly has impacted fighter compensation. The boxer-turned-observer emphasized that UFC athletes earn substantially less than their counterparts in the world of boxing, pinpointing this as the sole downside of the sport from his perspective.
The issue of fighter pay has been a longstanding concern in the realm of mixed martial arts (MMA), with increasing numbers of fighters opting to switch to boxing in pursuit of more lucrative contracts. Eubank Jr. referenced notable departures from the UFC, including Francis Ngannou, Nate Diaz, Tyron Woodley, and Anderson Silva, who sought bigger purses outside the octagon. Even recently crowned bantamweight champion Sean O'Malley has hinted at a potential move to boxing after securing his UFC title.
Eubank Jr. foresees a continued exodus of fighters from the UFC in pursuit of higher paydays, attributing this trend to the UFC's inability to match the financial incentives offered by the boxing world. According to Eubank Jr., the UFC's structure, dominated by Dana White, limits fighters' negotiating power. He cited the example of Ngannou, emphasizing that dissenting voices within the UFC often face limited options, compelling them to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Drawing a stark contrast with boxing, Eubank Jr. pointed out the global presence of promoters and associations, creating fierce competition for top talent. This competitive landscape ensures that fighters in boxing receive more lucrative offers, a scenario he believes is absent in the UFC. Eubank Jr. acknowledged White's business acumen but underscored the inherent limitations it imposes on UFC fighters' earning potential, sparking further discussions about equitable compensation in the MMA industry.