Chris Eubank Jr. on The MMA Hour
Chris Eubank Jr. believes UFC fighters are getting a raw deal.
A former IBO super-middleweight champion and the son of former boxing champion Chris Eubank, Chris Eubank Jr. has seen a lot in combat sports. And unlike many boxers, Eubank is actually an avowed fan of MMA, saying he watches the UFC more than he does boxing. But there’s one thing Eubank says the he dislikes about the sport: The pay structure.
“It’s just entertaining,” Eubank told The MMA Hour. “I like everything about the UFC except how Dana [White]’s monopolized it and how those guys aren’t getting paid anywhere near as much as we’re making in boxing. But that’s the only downside to the sport, in my opinion.”
Issues of fighter pay are nothing new in MMA, and the topic has only continued to grow as more MMA fighters leave the sport to pursue bigger paydays in the squared circle. In recent years, Francis Ngannou, Nate Diaz, Tyron Woodley, and Anderson Silva have all left the UFC in pursuit of bigger purses, and even recently crowned bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley immediately began making overtures towards the sweet science after winning the title. This sort of things figures to keep happening since, according to Eubanks, the UFC is simply never going to offer up the same kind of money that the boxing world does.
“It’s impossible,” Eubanks said. “In the UFC you have a guy who has monopolized the entire MMA world. If you don’t accept what Dana’s giving you, goodbye. Find somewhere else to go. A perfect example is Ngannou. In boxing, you have promoters all over the world, you have associations … all these different outfits of fighting for the best fighters, the best shows, they’re all like, ‘Come with us and we’ll pay you this.’ The competition is so huge that they’re always going to pay fighters more, whereas Dana doesn’t have to compete with anybody so he can pay you whatever he wants. In terms of business, he’s cracked it.
“You’ve got to give the guy credit from a business perspective. But from a moral perspective, these guys, they’re risking their lives, they’re having to go through hell and back to train and prepare and get in the octagon and fight, and they’re not being compensated like they should be, in my opinion. So it sucks. As a fighter, it sucks. But what can you do? You can’t do anything until there’s more competition.”
The UFC’s possible monopoly (or monopsony, in this case) is currently the target of a class-action lawsuit by numerous former fighters. Should the plaintiffs ultimately win that suit, Eubank may see his wish of a more competitive marketplace introduced into the sport.