Perpetual malcontent Nick Diaz has captured the hearts and minds of many MMA fans for his rebellious attitude and proclivity for keeping it real, no matter this situation or the stakes. Stockton’s favorite son was in vintage form following his domination of BJ Penn last month at UFC 137, sounding off at the post-fight press conference on everything from his difficulty finding sparring partners to his regret over not taking a boxing match when he had the opportunity.
The comments Diaz made, specifically in reference to how much money he makes as opposed to what he should make, or could make in boxing, clearly got under the skin of UFC president Dana White at the time and were brought up again at last weekend’s UFC 138: Leben vs. Muñoz post-fight press conference; White addressed them, balking at the idea that MMA athletes are underpaid.
“Believe me, no one wants to be paying (MMA) guys boxing kinda money more than I do,” White asserted. “Realize this: the UFC first started making money in 2006. From 2001-2006, we were almost $50 million in the hole. Over that time, not one fighter ever got paid late, no check bounced, no employees at Zuffa, ever. The Fertitta brothers funded this thing for that long. In 2006 we started turning a profit. From 2006 to 2011, I can’t remember what the number is, but it’s like 40-something millionaires. 40-something millionaires, 20-something multi-multi-millionaires and the list goes on and on. That’s from 2006-2011. Boxing’s been around for 100 years. It’s been a mainstream sport before television. … What we’ve been able to do, in that much time, and the money that’s been made by guys who would’ve ended up being wrestling coaches or would have had martial arts studios – it’s pretty phenomenal.”
White freely admits that the top-paid boxers surpass the top-paid MMA fighters in terms of what they make per fight, but believes that, as the sport continues its astronomical growth, the amount of money that MMA fighters make across the board will increase significantly.