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UFC Fighters are Fuming Over Low Pay While Investors Rake in Big Bucks

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Late last month The New York Post covered a story about growing tensions between Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters and the organization’s leadership.

UFC fighter anger was catalyzed after the promotion’s wealthy and famous investors received multimillion-dollar payments. The fighters directed their wrath towards UFC president Dana White.

About $300 million, the bulk of UFC’s 350 million cash reserve, went to one-time dividend payments to the company’s high profile team of investors, which is made up of actor Mark Wahlberg, actress Charlize Theron and model Gisele Bündchen.

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White has been in charge of the UFC since 2001. He is expected to receive more than $3 million from the windfall, according to sources close to The New York Post.

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Former UFC fighters are livid about this given White’s reputation for being a profligate spender.  In a 2012 report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, White tipped dealers over $100,000 at Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort.

“I heard about Dana tipping a waitress $10,000 and that was my wage as a fighter,” stated former UFC fighter Kyle Kingsbury. “I lived in my mom’s garage and I had two jobs when I was fighting in the UFC. I was a personal trainer and a bouncer [and] bartender in a strip club.”

Kingsbury is one of three former fighters that is attempting to pursue a class action lawsuit that accuses the mixed martial arts promotion of using anticompetitive practices to drive down their salaries, which includes compelling fighters to take on long-term, exclusive contracts.

The question of fighter pay will ultimately be determined by federal judge Richard Boulware, who is expected to make a decision on whether to grant the fighters class certification. If the judge rules in the fighters’ favor, about 1,200 current and former UFC fighters could hop on the suit, lawyers explained. If the judge rules against the fighters, it will likely capsize the lawsuit.

UFC has contended in court documents that the former fighters’ anti-competitive assertions are bogus. In the case these claims are determined to be valid, the UFC believes it would be an issue for the Federal Trade Commission, not a jury, to take up. UFC also maintained that there are five competing mixed martial arts promotions.

“UFC pays its fighters more than any other MMA promoter,” a UFC spokesperson informed The New York Post. “We are proud of the company we’ve built and we are confident in our legal position.”

Fighters criticize the UFC for restricting their ability to make money in other ways, including by keeping the majority share of the pay-per-view revenues. This is in contrast to boxing, where fighters are often promised the overwhelming majority of pay-TV revenues to the prize money fighters receive after a fight.

On the other hand, the fighters have described UFC’s payments “flat money,” due to the fact that there’s not much earning potential even if they make tons of money for the UFC.

After losing his recent fight to Conor McGregor earlier in January, Donald Cerrone disclosed that he didn’t receive more than the $200,000 he was supposed to be paid per his contract.

“Hahahahah 7-10 million,” Cerrone replied to an Instagram follower. “I didn’t get PPV money. What the world thinks and what really happens is so different. I made flat money.”

A UFC spokesperson denied that Cerrone was only paid $200,000 to fight McGregor, who received at least $3 million in compensation for the fight, but the spokesperson did not provide any more specifics.

Fighters claim payment from corporate sponsorships has fallen significantly since the UFC entered a six-year sponsorship deal with Reebok in 2015 for $70 million.

According to the deal, fighters could no longer have their own sponsors on display in the octagon. Previous sponsorship arrangements helped fighters make ends meet.

By wearing Reebok gear, fighters under the Reebok deal are paid based on a tiered system starting at $2,500, according to a ESPN report. UFC champions are paid $40,000, the report noted.

President Donald Trump has a close relationship with Dana White.

The UFC has a fighter and fan base that is receptive to the America First message.

Numerous fighters and commentators have expressed pro-America First views on issues from gun rights to foreign policy.

Trump should use bully pulpit to pressure UFC brass to consider pay increases for the fighters.

Trump’s persona alone could convince White and company to carry out some reasonable pay raises.

For all the hard work and sacrifice UFC fighters make, a pay raise should absolutely be in order.

Immigration

Mara Elvira Salazar is No Friend of America First Nationalism

Republican leaders would be wise to ignore all of her political advice.

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If there’s one Republican leader that young activists should never listen to, it’s Florida Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar. 

Salazar, who is a Cuban American, has been an outspoken advocate of loosening U.S. immigration laws. In fact, she even confronted known immigration hawk and key Trump adviser Stephen Miller at a Republican Study Committee weekly lunch on February 24, 2021. She specifically criticized Trump’s immigration message and demanded that the GOP be more inclusive in its outreach.

“I told him [Miller] that the GOP needs to attract the browns,” stated Salazar. “We, for the last 30 years since Ronald Reagan, have not sent the right message to the browns,” she continued. “Reagan was the last guy who gave a path to citizenship to 3 million people … 35 years ago. It’s time for us to do the same thing that Reagan did.”

Salazar doubled down on her pro-immigration message when she went on Larry Kudlow’s show on March 2 and declared that former President Donald Trump would have done better with Hispanics by advocating for looser immigration. Journalist Ryan Girdusky noted how some of Trump’s advisers were already pushing for amnesty lite policies:

Girdusky added that Salazar was rather unhinged in her criticism of Miller’s vision for the GOP:

Salazar made a lot of noise about the Hispanic vote, despite ignoring how Trump improved his Hispanic numbers between 2016 and his re-election bid in 2020 from 28% to 32%. And he did so without much Hispandering or campaigning on passing amnesty. 

The unsavory fact that the GOP consultant class and the likes of Salazar refuse to acknowledge is that the Black Lives Matter unrest alone likely pushed significant segments of the Hispanic population into the Democrats’ arms. BLM radicalism alienated Americans of all backgrounds., but Hispanics were not having any of this kind of ruckus. Even Hispanic Democrats, of all groups, largely supported strong military action during the riots.

In reality, Hispanic support for Trump is largely based on his bluster and political bluntness, which many minority groups find comfort in. 

However, Republicans like Salazar gets it all wrong by thinking that expanding immigration both legal and illegal is a key to the Republican Party success. The Republican Party will have to concede that they can make gains with Hispanics at the margins but they cannot expect to win the majority of the Hispanic vote due to Hispanics’ propensity to support many causes ranging from gun control to more government involvement in healthcare. Data from the Pew Research Center demonstrates these beliefs among Hispanics. Nevertheless, there are some avenues for outreach with this demographic  but they must be done right. 

The key for Republican success is the white working class voters, which played a crucial role in putting Trump over the top in the Midwest back in 2016. These voters are not the most reliable in terms of turnout, but they comprise a vast segment of the American electorate. Any candidate who can activate them could potentially build a hegemonic electoral coalition for years to come. The goal for a sane Republican campaign is to maximize turnout and support among the WWC. 

Such inroads with WWC voters are more important than meeting a diversity quota the likes of Salazar and naive Republican strategists would like the party to pursue. Any nationalist campaign worth its salt would be promoting the following: Infrastructure projects targeting the Midwest, the restriction of both illegal and legal immigration, and re-shoring programs to bring jobs back. 

On the other hand, following Salazar’s program is the way that the GOP will become irrelevant and alienate many WWC voters who are already on the fence with regards to the Republican Party. These voters are not going to gravitate towards Republicans just because of the “R” next to their name. They still must be catered to and pushing for amnesty is one way to turn working class voters off.

Under Salazar’s watch, the GOP will simply be going back to the politically correct ways of the Bush administration. To tap into the sleeping giants that is the WWC, Republican leaders should ignore everything Salazar has to say and get fully behind nationalist policies such as immigration restriction, infrastructure development, and re-shoring. 

 

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