Conor McGregor is making unprecedented levels of money in the Octagon but he should still be receiving more.
That was the message from welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre as he spoke on the conference call that officially launched the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association on Wednesday night.
St-Pierre was joined by Donald Cerrone, TJ Dillashaw, Cain Velasquez and Tim Kennedy as the five fighters became the first board of the MMAAA, the organisation founded with the express aim of improving UFC fighters’ value and welfare.
The primary argument from the fighters, as well as Bellator founder and former CEO Bjorn Rebney, was that UFC athletes were being grossly underpaid considering the risks they take each and every time they fight.
It's now official https://t.co/OVzLmNjTkl
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) November 30, 2016
Following WME-IMG’s $4 billion summer acquisition of the UFC, fighters felt as though they had been undervalued for some time.
Rebney claimed that UFC fighters were only earning eight per cent of the UFC’s annual revenue of $600 million, significantly less than what former CEO Lorenzo Fertitta had previously suggested was being dished out to their athletes.
And St-Pierre referenced the best-paid fighter on the UFC roster, Conor McGregor, as evidence for his point that even the top-level fighters were being treated unfairly.
“Even though Conor is the most well (paid) athlete, he doesn’t have his fair share of what he should have,” St-Pierre said, as transcribed by MMA Junkie. “And I’m saying this from the top contestant to Conor McGregor, they don’t have their fair share.”
‘The Notorious’ continues to break UFC purse records, having done so on three occasions in 2016.
At UFC 196 in March, he became the first fighter in UFC history to take home a disclosed payday of $1 million which he improved upon five months later when he earned a whopping $3 million.
His most recent outing, at UFC 205 last month, reportedly saw him earn a disclosed purse of $3.5 million.
And while St-Pierre’s backing of the MMAAA is significant, it would pale in comparison to any involvement from McGregor, and the Montreal native suggested that the UFC lightweight champion should stand up for the rights of less well-off fighters and join the cause.
“There’s something I think about Conor McGregor; I’ve met Conor a couple of times,” St-Pierre said. “You have the Conor McGregor that’s a human being and the Conor McGregor of business. The one you see in the UFC is the Conor McGregor that’s business.
“But the Conor McGregor that’s a human being, I know for sure he knows what’s right. Nobody is a perfect human being, but Conor is not a coward. He knows what’s right, and everybody knows what we’re doing is right. So, of course, we would like to have the biggest name in the sport on board, and we need it.”