Professional MMA Fighter and current Jake Paul sparring partner Anthony Taylor went on Scrappin’ this week to discuss a variety of topics such as his upcoming fight, training with the Paul brothers, and fighter pay. Taylor recently stated that he made more money in two months of being Jake Paul’s sparring partner than he did in six years of professional MMA, and he just deepened his stance on fighter pay. Check it out.
Wow. The fact that McDonald’s workers potentially outearn professional fighters in some areas is just astonishing to me. It really puts into perspective the absolute grind so many of these guys need to go through before even touching a major promotion like Bellator or the UFC. It’s gotta be brutal waking up and getting punched in the face every morning, knowing you could be making more cash by simply asking, “do you want fries with that?”
Although it’s undeniable that fighter pay could be improved, I still think we need to take this statement with a grain of salt. Notice how when he was making the McDonald’s comparison, Anthony said “professional fighters,” not UFC fighters, not Bellator fighters, simply professional fighters. If the guys in the sports most prestigious promotions are getting outearned by fast-food workers, let’s get on the damn picket lines. But, I don’t think they are, or at least I’m pretty sure, I’m not privy to the financials.
When Taylor made this statement, he was most certainly referencing pay in lower-level professional promotions, you know, up-and-coming guys on the local scenes who haven’t cracked the UFC roster yet. And while the miniscule payments to these guys is still alarming, the notion of low-level professional athletes not receiving lucrative contracts isn’t exactly new. Take a look at independent baseball and basketball leagues. The salary cap for all Frontier Baseball League teams (an independent baseball league based in the northeast) is 85-thousand dollars. 85 thousand for the entire team! I’m pretty sure those guys are being outearned by McDonald’s workers too.
So, before we hear this statement and start throwing pipe bombs at the UFC Apex, let’s realize who Anthony was referring to here. If anything, this statement should increase your respect for the fighters more than it decreases your respect for the promotions. They could be flipping Whoppers in a greasy kitchen, or walking into a cage to get calf-kicked for next to no money, and they chose to persevere through the violence. That’s why I love this sport.