Dana White is facing harsh criticism from UFC fans following the 48-second knockout of Ronda Rousey by Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. Word broke yesterday that White and the UFC were paying Ronda Rousey a cool $3 million dollars compared to Nunes’ measly $100,000 ($200,000 for the win) in a statement released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, according to CBS Sports. Considering Amanda Nunes’ dominant victory over Rousey, UFC fans immediately took Dana White to task for the wage disparity.
— Dylan (@dylan_b431) December 31, 2016
@danawhite Amanda Nunes deserves equal amount of money (if not more) as Ronda Rousey. It should always b winner gets higher pay.
— richard b. bowman (@mmafanrbb) December 31, 2016
— Danielle Reyes (@daniellebb3) December 31, 2016
The discrepancy in salaries wasn’t the only complaint people had about Dana. In an interview following the beat down, White stated that he didn’t press Rousey to do promotion for UFC 207 because he felt her record and notoriety spoke for itself. Dana was asked whether the lack of media fanfare was fair to current champion Amanda Nunes.
According to MMA Fighting, White didn’t feel he was in the wrong for the lack of promotion. “I could have spent $100 million on advertising and nobody would still have known who Amanda was,” White stated. “After tonight, everyone knows who Amanda Nunes is now, OK? Tomorrow morning, ask somebody who Amanda Nunes is, now they know. That’s why I’m the promoter and everyone else isn’t.”
Dana White’s seeming infatuation with Ronda Rousey has long been a sore spot for others in the UFC who felt Rousey was often afforded preferential treatment. White used to adamantly say that he would never allow women as fighters into the UFC but suddenly, Ronda Rousey peaked Dana’s interest and alas, a new division was built. Ronda Rousey’s dominant tenure raked in money by the billions for Dana White and the UFC and that might have prompted Dana to look the other way when it came to some of Ronda’s behavior. For instance, Rousey has refused to participate in post fight press conferences following her past two defeats and that compiled with the nearly complete media blackout for UFC 207 had some up in arms that White holds Ronda to a different standard than other fighters.
Many recount that Dana White went toe to toe with Conor McGregor this past summer when White pulled McGregor from the fight card completely when he refused to participate in pre-fight media appearances. The move was a shocking one for White to make since Dan come to rely on McGregor and Rousey to be his top PPV moneymakers.
White also appeared to treat Ronda with kid gloves following her loss to Holly Holm. At first Dana was eager to get Rousey back in the octagon as soon as possible, hoping she would return at the beginning of 2016. Many were shocked that White seemed to sit back and let Ronda do her own thing including making movies, rather than pressuring her back into promoting the UFC.
Perhaps Dana White realized he may have pushed Ronda Rousey to bite off more than she could chew in her upcoming bout with Amanda Nunes, however, as just two days prior to the fight, Dana addressed the criticism of the media blackout laying to rest any speculation that White would deal with any future divas.
“There are so many different fighters I have to deal with,” White said. “Different egos, different personalities. No, you can’t miss a press conference. But Ronda asked, from the day this fight was made — she said, ‘I’ll do press. I’ll do press leading up to the event.’ She went and did talk shows and all that stuff. This is the way she wanted it [during fight week], and I said, ‘OK,'” Dana White stated in a press conference according to ESPN, adamantly stating this was a one time thing.
What remains to be seen, however, is if Dana White will ever cave in to the fighters demands of pay equality. Just after the sale of the UFC to the WME-IMG, White defended the pay structure. According to Fox Sports, Dana White noted that there were different levels of fighters and their worth.
“When you fight on pay-per-view and you’re a star — basically in this sport you eat what you kill. So the guys that bring in the majority of the revenue, make the majority of the revenue,” White said, defending the UFC’s payment structure.
Given that Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor have been the biggest PPV draws for the UFC, White may feel that paying them 30 times the amount of their opponents is justified. That being said, however, those who hold the title belts might have a different opinion.
Should Dana White and the UFC be paying their fighters more equally? Tell us what you think!
[Featured image by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images.]