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.
“I just don’t like the win bonus,” Rogan told on today’s edition of the “JRE MMA Show” podcast. “I don’t think anybody fights harder for it. … That to me is a real issue. I think a guy should be paid what they get paid. I think if you have a contract, that contract should be for ‘X’ amount of money. If you have points on the pay-per-view, that’s on top of that. But (I don’t like) the idea that your win or loss has to be in the hands of what we have deemed completely incompetent judges.”
Rogan’s biggest issue with the situation stems from judging. He believes if a more trustworthy system was in place, then putting a financial reward based on result would be more logical. That’s part of the reason Rogan is so critical of judging in the sport, he said.
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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