Conor McGregor's UFC Monetary Influence

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A life of fighting

The combat world of MMA is unlike any other sport on earth. Although those who participate are categorically sporting athletes, we use the term 'fighters' to describe their profession, but at the moment, much of the 'fighting' is taking place outside the cage.

Unlike most sporting industries, like in football, basketball, the NFL etc, figures that compete in fighting organisations such as the UFC are doing so purely as individual contractors. From a monetary perspective, they only make a living wage when they step inside the ring, and any support/training they receive will be paid for out of their own back pocket.

In a nutshell, times can be tough for those climbing the ladder in this industry. Despite the UFC being visualised as the promise land for fighters, the organisation has a distasteful reputation for their underpaying of those at the bottom of cards.

It's always been a publicly discussed issue by both competitors and fans, but now financial concerns are being voiced from even the top names in the sport.

Conor McGregor the game changer

Conor McGregor will forever be the man credited with welcoming the mainstream media into the UFC. The Irishman's following is unprecedented in the history of the organisation, with his lavish lifestyle attracting the eyes of millions around the globe.

Whilst his rise to stardom has massively benefited the sport, it has also provided a misconception too. Whilst 'McGregor' and 'money' are practically synonyms at this point, the former Featherweight and Lightweight Champion's net worth is a big misrepresentation of the UFC.

Yorgan De Castro was paid $12,000 to fight Greg Hardy at UFC 249 in one of the most stacked cards in recent times - after paying his team and tax, this fee would be falling into the four-figure mark.

This comparison isn't to generate any negativity towards 'Mystic Mac', who single handedly built his successful foundation, but it's an example of the money tree being unfairly distributed, with many fighters now taking a stance against President Dana White.

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Mcgregor retires (again)

On the back of UFC 250, the headlines plastered across social media did not centre around Amanda Nunes' eleventh straight win, Cody Garbradnt's revival or even Aljamain Sterling's first round victory, because all eyes were on Conor McGregor.

For the third time in four years, the Irishman took to Twitter to announce his retirement from the game. Not many are buying his statement though, given he has used this publicly stunt twice in the past. McGregor's decision to 'retire' stems from the lack of options at his disposal, with a Welterweight title shot not seemingly in the works and both Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov occupied for September.

Not even a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz is looking plausible, with rumours circulating about a BMF rematch with Jorge Masvidal. McGregor told ESPN that he has become 'bored' of the situation, leading onto his decision to hang up the gloves.

Such hesitancy to step inside the cage may stem from the inability for fans to attend, but Daniel Cormier believes the risk of losing the UFC's star name is one too big to take. Given the added context, Dana White will not want to upset yet another prised fighter. See below for more info.

Fighters take a stance

McGregor's 'retirement' is not likely money motivated, as his personal revenue streams are arguably superior to those when he steps inside the Octagon. For many others though, this is not the case.

Jorge Masvidal has recently asked for his release from the UFC, as he feels 'devalued' by the company. Gamebred looked destined to fight Welterweight champ Kamaru Unman next month, but financial negotiations have proved to be a stumbling block.

Jon Jones is another name who finds himself at the centre of a money dispute. He had teased towards a long-awaited step up to Heavyweight, to fight the hardest hitter in the game, Francis Ngannou. Bones stated that he would so for the right price, before White hit back due to the 'obscene' amount of money that was being asked for.

The Light Heavyweight champion took to Twitter to announce he would be taking a break from fighting, reflecting on 'years' of not being paid his worth. He claimed he hoped it would help fighters in the future be taken care of better.

In a time where sport needs its biggest draws, the UFC appears to be losing theirs. Money talks though, but until it does, all the talk will continue to be money.


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