Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White had a simple response when informed of Tim Kennedy’s claims he could make more money as a trash collector than he does as a UFC fighter.
“Then go be a (expletive) garbage man,” White said Monday. “There’s the answer to that question.”
White had not heard the comments because he had been on vacation in Maine. Kennedy since has apologized for the statement, which was made on an MMA podcast.
Kennedy clarified the comments on his Facebook page.
“The intent of these statements was to highlight that professional fighters incur significant expense associated with their preparations to fight and that fighter compensation is still not on par with other major sports,” he wrote, later apologizing to the organization. “Unfortunately, I made statements that alluded to how the UFC in particular pays its athletes. This was particularly offensive as Zuffa has taken better care of me than any other organization, even giving me a bonus for being amusing on Twitter. My choice of words was poor, not properly informed, and did not match my intent.”
Kennedy followed in the footsteps of former UFC fighters John Cholish and Jon Fitch, among others, in making recent statements about compensation.
“Who you will not hear bitching are the guys that matter. The guys who make a difference,” White said. “Frankie Edgar is going to make a lot of money (at UFC 162 on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden). Anderson Silva is going to make a lot of money this weekend. Chris Weidman is going to make a lot of money.
“No disrespect, but who gives a (expletive) about Tim Kennedy? Is he selling out venues? Are people buying (expletive) tickets for Tim Kennedy? OK, there you go.”
Kennedy will make his UFC debut against Roger Gracie on Saturday, but has fought for parent company Zuffa as part of the Strikeforce organization. Kennedy claimed in the initial interview he would make about $55,000 with the potential for $70,000 with a win.
That total doesn’t include discretionary bonuses and the opportunity for fight-night bonuses. Sponsorship money also is not included. Kennedy’s issue is more with the costs associated with training camp that fighters are responsible for along the way.
White said the organization is considering eliminating the behind-the-scenes bonus money and paying the bottom-tier fighters more in base pay.
“The bonuses are something we’ve done out of the kindness of our hearts,” White said. “We thought it was the right thing to do, but apparently people don’t like it. They want the lower-level guys to get paid more money.”
White cited Cholish’s comments for sparking the recent discussions on compensation.
“What I think is John Cholish came out and said what he said and now the media asks these guys what they think about fighter pay,” White said. “I’d love to talk about reporter pay with you guys. Do you guys think you make enough money? Ask anybody if they make enough money and they’re probably going to say no. It’s probably a loaded question with most of these guys, and Tim Kennedy’s might have been, too, I don’t know.”
■ FIGHT WEEK — The UFC’s annual fight week festivities begin Wednesday with workouts inside XS at Encore, which will be open to the public at 1 p.m.
The organization builds a week of fan events around its traditional Fourth of July weekend card in Las Vegas. The week culminates with UFC 162 at the MGM Grand Garden, headlined by a main event between Weidman and middleweight champion Silva.
The UFC Fan Expo, a collection of exhibitors, autograph sessions and special events, runs all day Friday and Saturday at Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Thursday’s holiday marks a full day of events, starting with a news conference at 11 a.m. in the MGM Grand lobby that is open to the public.
A 1 p.m. pool party will be at Aria before the festivities move downtown for the evening.
Downtown UFC, which features fighters meeting fans at various properties, begins at 6 p.m. A free concert at 9 by Three Days Grace caps the day.
The UFC 162 weigh-ins take place at 4 p.m. Friday at Mandalay Bay, followed by a party at Lagasse’s Stadium at 6.
■ FESTIBRAWL RETURNS — Las Vegas-based amateur organization Tuff-N-Uff will host an event Friday at South Point.
The pre-fight “Festibrawl,” featuring food trucks, drinks, live music and autograph sessions with UFC fighters, begins at 5:30 p.m.
The fight card, which includes six title bouts, begins at 7.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.