It’s rare to see two decades of criticism put to bed so decisively as Dana White settled the fighter pay debate when giving cringy YouTuber Kyle Forgeard $250,000 in cash as a birthday present. While fans have long clamored for improved fighter compensation, White showed once and for all that the current system in which fighters earn peanuts and White and the UFC keep the majority of the revenue is a necessary evil to ensure that YouTube millionaires can receive the very special birthday they deserve.
“Everyone knows I’ve been very outspoken on this issue,” said former UFC fighter Leslie Smith, who the promotion released in retaliation for her unionization efforts. “When you’re seeing the splits in other major sports and what we receive, it’s only natural to be upset, especially when where it’s all going is so opaque. But then you see the smile on the face of a 28-year-old internet ‘prankster’ receiving a quarter-million dollars for doing nothing and all those light paychecks seem worth it.”
Support for the move has been universal throughout the MMA community, with fighters and fans alike rejoicing in the existence of a system that made White so wealthy he could hand over a bag of more cash than most fighters will ever earn in their career without a second thought. And to think, if we’d had our way the money would have been wasted on increasing compensation so that a dozen fighters a year don’t have to use their post-win interview to beg for bonus money because their fight camp left them broke. Foot meet mouth.