The revolution may be coming. We're not big on discussing the pay scale of fighters because so much of what the major stars make in the UFC and WEC is off the books, or at least far from the public eye. But you'd have to imagine salaries of $35,000 (includes $10,000 Fight of the Night bonus) for their fight at WEC 41 rub WEC stars Mike Brown and Urijah Faber the wrong way. Do those guys deserve any less than Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva, Brock Lesnar, Quinton Jackson and Georges St. Pierre? That fight helped draw a WEC record crowd of 12,706 in Sacramento, a big audience on Versus and a record gate of $818,415. Hell guys, like Brandon Vera and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira made six figures in their last fights.
Brown, a very reserved guy, won't say anything publicly but Faber and Miguel Torres, the WEC's bantamweight champ have already started dropping hints to the media and fans.
Faber went on Adam Carolla's podcast and called for a Fighter's Union:
“I do think there needs to be some sort of competition, or there needs to be some sort of… you know, coming together of the fighters and making a stand, because as of right now, they’ve got a stranglehold on the fight game, Zuffa, and we need to get some dough… I know there’s a lot of people that would like to see [a fighters union] happen, and there’s a lot of people with more money that would not like to see that happen, so you know… you gotta do the math on that one.”
Torres told the crowd at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium during a Q & A on Friday that he won't move up to fight Faber (pictured on the right going into surgery) unless the folks with WEC, "make it worth his while."
Cagewriter spoke with WEC GM Reed Harris about the issue of fighter pay before WEC 41:
"I'll just say this, we have a great relationship with our fighters. I've known Urijah for a long, long time. When we brought Urijah in 2 1/2 years ago hardly anyone knew who he was. Urijah and I are on the same page."
Listen to Cagewriter with Harris:
Cagewriter then pointed the problems with the WEC stars complaining about money is coming soon:
"On the other hand, I think we've developed a good enough relationship with the fighters and the managers ... where they need to understand our business plan and model. I would like nothing better than to pay these guys millions of dollars."
It's an interesting quandary on both sides. It's tough to tell fighters who at all moments are three fights away from heading out of the promotion back to the minor leagues, to stay patient. The lifespan of a fighter's career is short. Plus with the fact that WEC is under the Zuffa umbrella, one would think fighters assume there's money there, give it to us. We deserve the same as the stars at 170, 185, 205 and heavyweight.
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