The president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship defended his organization's pay structure Tuesday, saying his fighters were happy with their piece of the mixed martial arts pie.
"Believe me when I tell you, brother, people aren't leaving me," Dana White said in an interview Tuesday. While declining to detail UFC's finances, he said his athletes were happy with their take. "We're a private company and our fighters make a lot of money, a lot of money," he added.
UFC 62: Liddell vs. Sobral card drew 10,419 to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, for a paid gate of $3,040,880 US.
The UFC made millions more off its pay per view, which cost $39.99 Cdn in Canada.
According to information provided Monday by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the UFC paid the 18 fighters on the card a total of $407,000 US - with $250,000 of that going to light-heavyweight champion Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell for stopping Brazil's Renato (Babalu) Sobral in 95 seconds in the main event. Sobral earned $21,000.
White rejected figures from MMAWeekly.com, which follows the sport, that pay-per-view sales for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie generated at least $23.97 million.
He declined to say what UFC's pay-per-view numbers are.
The Las Vegas Review Journal, however, has reported UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta saying that UFC 52: Couture vs. Liddell II in April 2005 did 320,000 pay per views, which would translate into more than $11 million US.
Asked about the UFC's profits from such pay-per-views, White said: "Everybody's happy."
"None of us are arguing, none of us are bitching and none of us are fighting. We get along with all of our fighters very well. They feel like they're part of a very happy family. Let me tell you what, I can sleep at night. I'm not in this for the money and I never was.
"We're a real business. We've got this thing rolling and we're thrilled, thrilled that these guys are able to make what they're making."
White cited middleweight champion Rich Franklin, a native of Cincinnati whose UFC deal calls for a basic fee of $18,000 per fight with another $18,000 for each win.
"Him and his wife just bought 15 acres of land and a big fat house that they just moved into," White said.
White also denied being responsible for having the head of the rival World Fighting Alliance ejected from the Mandalay Bay at UFC 61: Bitter Rivals. Jeremy Lappen was asked to leave by Mandalay Bay officials, White said, because he had people distributing flyers in the casino for a WFA event.
The UFC president said he "embraced" competition from rival organizations.
"These guys create the talent that's going to end up in my show some day. I've got no problem with these guys."
"I've made more millionaires in this business than anybody else has," White added.
But he said his fighters don't like their paydays being revealed.
"Because when people know what you make, it causes a lot of problems in your life."