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John Cholish offers up some simple pay demands

John Cholish offers up some simple pay demands

John Cholish has been making more headlines than he ever did fighting now that he’s retired and speaking out regarding the UFC’s starting paygrade. Dana White even shat-talked him, which is a sure sign you’ve made some waves. But let’s get past all the name calling and generalities being thrown around here. Cholish spoke to Steph Daniels recently at length and here’s a couple paragraphs worth of tangible and reasonable demands:

I feel like if a fighter has a 2-3 month fight camp, the base pay should be able to cover all his training and livelihood, so that he can focus solely on that fight, as opposed to worrying about what they have to do to make ends meet.

I think you should be able to go into a fight with your opponent on an even level. If you’re fighting someone that’s going to have three people in his corner, maybe he’s the hometown fighter, or if the UFC allows three corners, which they do, I think you should be able to have all your coaches covered, including hotel rooms for yourself and your three coaches. I think that’s a base level and it’s not outrageous.

The reason that I said that, is if you’re fighting in a foreign country or something that requires traveling far, it’s going to put that fighter at a significant disadvantage. He’ll either have to only take one corner or use a larger amount of his purse just to get to a level where he’ll have the same support in his corner as the fighter that’s standing across the cage from him.

The coaching / corners thing does make a lot of sense – fighters travelling halfway around the world are already at enough of a disadvantage having to adjust to timezone changes. Putting the extra cost of bringing over their proper corner on them seems straight up cheap of the UFC. Up until Cholish mentioned it, I never thought the UFC was the kind of league that only paid for one corner. That’s B league shit right there.

As for UFC base pay being able to cover ‘training and livelihood’, that’s a slightly more nebulous demand. There’s a lot of different livelihoods out there that range all over the financial map, but I think we can agree 8k/8k a fight minus taxes and expenses isn’t going to fly for many other than the ‘fighter sleeping in a trailer behind the gym’ livelihood. I personally won’t feel all that great about the UFC’s payscale til starting fighters are making 20k/20k. That probably won’t be for a while though – keep in mind Jon Fitch was cut for ‘being too expensive’ and he made 60k/60k.

(pic by Jason Da Silva for USA Today)

  • Jroc

    This cholish dude is correct. In fact, i have spoken to many fighter/ trainers about this same topic. Nate Diaz’s striking coach Richard Perez, could not even get a hotel wear Nate was staying for his championship fight with henderson. I asked him does the ufc play for hotels?. I was surprised to find out no…. This is fucked.. Base pay souls b $ 25,000 at least .. Going to war with someone on tv for the whole world to see..

  • matthewpolly

    As long as Dana can afford his blackjack habit, it’s hard to argue that the UFC can’t afford to pay fighters more. But we should remember that the UFC used to put on five, maybe seven fights per event, and events happened 5-6 times a year. Now you’ve got 15 events per night twice a month. If a fighter is on the facebook prelims, they don’t exactly work for the UFC. They are basically interns hoping to get a salaried position. And interns don’t need 3 frickin’ cornermen.

  • Tony G

    On the one hand, it’s difficult to argue with Cholish. Young fighters are underpaid. But on the other hand, I remember eating white rice and bacos (bootleg bacos at that) for dinner quite often when I first started working.

    I’d like to see the starting contracts raised too, but economics is about incentives. Until the UFC’s starting pay scale actually dissuades young hopefuls from getting into the fight game then it’s unlikely to change much. And one Wall St trader who went 1-2 in his UFC tenure hardly proves a disincentive.

    The fact of the matter is that Cholish has a fine career to fall back on whereas most upcoming fighters do not. It’s easy to be a crusader when you have options. Truth is, most fighters are willing to rough it those early years just for the chance, no matter how slim, to make the big dollars.

    I give Cholish a few months in the spotlight before he realizes his crusade is pointless and just goes back to concentrating his attention on the continued ruination of the economy.

  • kvelertak

    I think he’s right on. And Dana is a cunt for talking shit about him.

    All fighters should make more.