Leaving the UFC: It’s the money

John Cholish is leaving MMA, saying he lost money on his last fight.

It’s not really a function of the recently exposed fighter contract, which¬†only accounts for a small part of the problem — Cholish had to pay out of pocket for some of his corner crew. It’s very simple: He’s not making money.

As Brent Brookhouse puts it at Bloody Elbow:

This is why some people get very hung up on the revenue distribution inequality between the UFC and the fighters. That’s not to say that the UFC should be paying out the close to 50% of revenue to fighters that we see from the NFL and NBA, but it doesn’t seem like a stretch to think that fighters that make it to the biggest stage in the sport be able to fight full time and take home an amount of money that their elite skills would seem to demand.

The Major League Soccer historian in me warns that any labor action should be taken with a degree of caution. When MLS players sued the league, the league nearly collapsed.

Then we have two other factors to consider:

1. Other organizations that have come into the MMA marketplace with big-money offers have quickly died. We can’t forget that the UFC bled money for many years before turning the corner less than 10 years ago, and now we’re seeing some troubling indicators on ratings and other measures of interest in the sport.

2. The UFC’s owners have a few negative associations with unions, with good reason.