Several fighters have criticized the UFC's pay scale for being too low in the past, although few have ever done so while still under Zuffa employment. But that's exactly what Tim Kennedy did earlier this week while speaking to the GrappleTalk podcast.
"It's pathetic that so many fighters [have to have other jobs]," Kennedy remarked.
"I'm one of the three percent of guys (signed by the UFC) in the whole entire sport and it would be slim pickings to survive off what I make in fighting.
"It's a good thing I have another job because the UFC doesn't pay very well."
With his UFC debut less than two weeks away, Kennedy went on to state that his take-home income for the bout, counting a potential win bonus, will only amount to around $20,000 of his reported $70,000 purse, before taxes. He then labeled anyone who accepts underpaid fighters as a reality of the sport to be "sad and pathetic," and remarked that he would make more money working as a trash collector.
On Thursday, Kennedy, who is slated to fight Roger Gracie at UFC 162, apologized for his comments, claiming they were "not properly informed" in a lengthy statement acquired by MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani.
"I recently made comments regarding fighter pay," Kennedy wrote. "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. While I am fortunate to have various revenue streams associated with my business interests, most fighters do not have that luxury. When you spend training camps with great guys with amazing talents and you see them barely making ends meet, while simultaneously seeing athletes in other sports with far less character and a far smaller work ethic making exponentially more, you can get frustrated.
"Unfortunately, I made statements that alluded to how the UFC in particular pays its athletes," Kennedy continued. "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. Additionally, my comments were taken out of context. I can tell you that I have been fighting longer than most people and I remember all too well the days when there was no regulation or standard for an MMA promotion. I fought many times in Mexico where the rules were negligible, there were no physicals, and being paid was a luxury we didn't expect. Our sport was shunned and was considered ‘human cockfighting.' Today, we are on Fox. We have doctors and insurance. We make more money than the average American. And we get these things by playing a sport we love. The only reason this is possible is because of Zuffa. They have legitimized the sport and taken better care of the athletes than any other organization, and the trend is only improving, with athletes making three times what they made on average five years ago.
"My comments were foolish, hurtful, and inappropriate," Kennedy finished. "I accept full responsibility for the statements and apologize to the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Joe Silva as well as anyone I might have offended with my comments. Fighting for the UFC is an honor and a privilege. I look forward to putting this situation behind me and focusing on my upcoming fight with Roger Gracie."