LAS VEGAS -- UFC president Dana White had a succinct answer Thursday when asked about the recent groundswell of complaints about the UFC's pay structure.
"The guys who are complaining about this are the guys that don't matter," he said.
But White certainly didn't stop there. Speaking to reporters following the UFC 162 press conference in the lobby of the MGM Grand, White went on an epic five-minute rant in which he defended the company's pay structure.
White believes in his system, which is heavily weighted towards those at the top and offers bonuses as incentives for putting on exciting fights. He painted fighters at the bottom of the card who have voiced concerns about the pay structure -- such as former UFC competitors John Cholish and Jacob Volkmann --- as complainers.
"That might sound f--- mean and harsh and [mocking tone of voice] ‘why should somebody not matter, everybody matters.' We're getting to where we are in a society now where, everyone wins a trophy. No, everyone doesn't win a f--- trophy. The guys who stand out and the guys who make it exciting, the guys who raise to the top are the guys who deserve the money."
The way White sees it, the bonus system, in which considerable Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night and Knockout of the Night bonuses are announced at the end of each card, are a way to ensure the company puts on shows which make fans want to come back for more.
"The UFC, every time we do a fight, whether its on pay-per-view or on TV or whatever, people make the decision to stay home on a Saturday night and not do anything else when there's movies, dinners, spending time with families, "White said. "There's a lot of s-- to do on a Saturday night. These people make a decision to stay home on a Saturday night and watch our show.
"We get a show with a bunch of guys who want to push against the f--- fence and stand there for 15 f--- minutes and try to squeak out a win? How many people do you think are gonna tune in next Saturday? And if this keeps continuing, this becomes f--- boxing, where guys keep running around in circles and nobody fights and you walk away going ‘this fight sucked.'"
White reserved particular venom for Cholish, who announced his retirement at age 29 following his May 18 loss to Gleison Tibau in Brazil. Cholish started the current round of chatter about fighter pay by going public with his issues, which included the fact he actually lost money on the Tibau fight when all his expenses were factored in.
"Be the guy who stands out," White said. "You're the guy people want to see again. You're the guy people want to spend money for. You're the guy people by tickets, PPV, people stay home on Saturday night. John Cholish is not that f--- guy and never will be. So now John Cholish says ‘We don't get paid enough money.' No, you didn't get paid enough. You know why you didn't get paid enough? Cause you didn't f--- deserve it."
White singled out veterans like Sam Stout and Joe Lauzon as fighters he wants to have on his cards. While neither Stout nor Lauzon will ever be on the short list of title contenders, their exciting fight styles have made them popular with fans and earned them a combined 19 fight bonuses (Lauzon 12, Stout seven).
"Look how long Sam Stout is in the UFC," White said. "Sam Stout is a guy who, he hasn't won any world titles, he hasn't been talked about as one of the greatest fighters or the top contenders or any of that s---. Sam Stout is a f--- animal who comes out and loves to fight and every time he comes out to fight he puts on an amazing show.
"Joe Lauzon is not seen as the top guy in his division," White continued. "He's not the champion. Do you know how many people go f--- crazy when I saw Joe Lauzon is on the card? Because people love to watch him fight. Joe Lauzon has won more fighter bonuses than I think anybody. If you are that guy, the system works for you. But if you are not that guy, then boo f--- hoo, you don't matter."