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Morning Report: Matt Schnell passionately defends UFC fighter pay: ‘Buy the pay-per-view, motherf*cker’

UFC 262: Weigh-in Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

UFC flyweight Matt Schnell has planted his flag on which side of the fighter pay debate he stands.

The Amory, Miss., native began his professional MMA career in 2012 and, as many do, worked his way through the regional scene. Mostly competing for Legacy FC, Schnell captured an interim title in 2016. From there, he joined the season of champions edition of The Ultimate Fighter 24 for a shot against the then-flyweight king Demetrious Johnson.

“I was a Legacy champion getting matched with guys like Damacio Page, 25/25 [$25,000 to show, $25,000 to win],” Schnell told MMA Island. “You want to talk about unfair fighter pay? Let’s talk about what’s happening outside the UFC. Even these guys in Bellator, I know they have some prospects that they pay well, but 90 percent of the guys who fight on that night are making [$1000 to show, $1000 to win]. Don’t talk to me about that, it’s preposterous.”

One of the bigger stories in MMA surrounds UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s future with the promotion. Following Ngannou’s recent title defense against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 this past month, “The Predator” revealed he was paid a disclosed $600,000 for his efforts. Since Ngannou became champion in March of this past year, he’s sought to earn more of what he believes he deserves, whether that’s a potential Jon Jones mega-fight or a boxing showdown with Tyson Fury.

Now, Ngannou is set to undergo knee surgery after tearing his MCL and damaging his ACL in preparation for Gane. He believes his contract will expire in December.

Schnell doesn’t quite buy any of the story being sold by the baddest man on the planet.

“I also think it’s woefully dishonest that Francis Ngannou’s running around acting like he only made $600,000,” Schnell said. “I know for a fact he got pay-per-view points, he paid from Reebok, he got paid for this, got paid for that... He probably made — I’m not gonna say it, but way more than $600,000. So I mean, of course, I want to make more money, everybody wants to make more money. I’ll go out there and fight for it.”

The fighter pay debate often leads to comparisons to other sports, which is where things get tricky with MMA not a team sport. In the NFL, MLB, and NBA, players are considered employees of their teams and all have players unions. MMA fighters, meanwhile, are considered independent contractors, and several attempts to band together to challenge their employment status, form an association, or create a collective bargaining agreement have come and gone over the years.

“To compare the UFC to the NFL is also preposterous,” Schnell said. “On a slow Sunday, the NFL grosses $1 billion. They got 60 million people tuning into Joe Burrow [and the Cincinnati Bengals] vs. Patrick Mahomes [and the Kansas City Chiefs]. $60 million. What’s a good UFC pay-per-view? [500,000]. A million? Ooh, we’re killin’ it.

“I’m not one of these guys who is like, ‘Oh, we need to do this, we need to do [unionize].’ I don’t want a fighters union. I appreciate the opportunity to negotiate for myself. I’ll sit down at the table and negotiate for myself. I don’t want somebody negotiating for everybody else’s bullsh*t. I don’t care. I want people to make more money, absolutely. But people debuting? 12/12, that’s an awfully nice payday compared to what they’ve been making.”

Though he’s been vocal in more ways than one, Jake Paul has brought the topic of fighter pay to the forefront of discussions along with Ngannou. Paul aided former UFC flyweight Sarah Alpar in funding her training camp ahead of her previous fight. This week, he opined that Israel Adesanya deserves “at least $7 million a fight.”

Despite all this, Schnell doesn’t believe Paul to be genuine until he does something largely significant, like starting up his own MMA promotion.

As for the fans who have their complaints, all you have to do is shut up and buy, says “Danger.”

“How about start a promotion and you pay them better? I think that’s a great idea,” Schnell said. “Start a promotion and you pay them better. And I’ll be the first guy if something doesn’t work out with the UFC, I’ll come make more money for ya too, Jake Paul. Cause I’ll go out there and I’ll fight and hold up my end of the bargain. But I don’t understand where these people are coming from.

“All these people b*tching about fighter pay — and they’re stealing every single fight. Shut your f*cking mouth. Buy the pay-per-view, motherf*cker. You want to see us get paid more? Buy the pay-per-views, ya goofs. And I feel ‘em, it’s expensive! We’re living in an expensive time. Gas ain’t cheap, nothing’s cheap. We gotta keep on pressing forward. You want to complain about fighter pay? Go for it, but make sure you’re the one paying for the pay-per-views as well.”


Support. Israel Adesanya defends Joe Rogan at UFC 271 pre-fight press conference after recent controversies.

Patience. Kamaru Usman lets Khamzat Chimaev know he’ll be waiting for him.

Story. Odie Delaney shares details of his harrowing journey from near suicide to becoming a champion for mental health.

$$$$. Jake Paul believes Israel Adesanya should be making at least $7 million a fight.

Trouble. Bobby Green reveals that he received a talking to after wearing his joker face paint ahead of his last fight.


UFC 271 Pre-fight press conference highlights.

Presser staredowns.

UFC 271 Embedded.

DC comes out of retirement.

Rise of Casey O’Neill.


Morning, partner.

Jiri + CCC.

That’s a lot of 185ers.

Zombie has arrived.

Neiman is nasty.

Sign ‘em, Dana.



Curtis Blaydes (15-3) vs. Chris Daukaus (12-4); UFC Columbus, Mar. 26

Brian Kelleher (24-12) vs. Umar Nurmagomedov (13-0); UFC 272, Mar. 5

Virna Jandiroba (17-3) vs. Angela Hill (13-11); UFC Fight Night, May 14

Yoel Romero (13-6) vs. Melvin Manhoef (32-15-1); Bellator Paris, May 6

Ray Borg (15-5) vs. Ricky Bandejas (15-6); Eagle FC 46, Mar. 11


I wonder how much those cats would get paid if they were signed by the UFC. Thanks for reading!



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