Dana White and his fighting league seemed to be on top of the world in March of 2007. White, and his bosses the Fertittas, purchased the No. 2 fight organization in the world, Japan’s Pride, for roughly $65 million effectively snuffing out the only viable competition.

Two problems hit UFC before the finish line. Pride’s fighter contracts weren’t ironclad & didn’t automatically transfer over to Zuffa plus guys like Gary Shaw (boxing promoter) and Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban decided to throw their bucks into the cage.

tito3.jpgUFC was forced to lock up most of the Pride stars to new contracts for unheard amounts by UFC standards. Much of it appears to be money poorly spent. Stars like Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua and Cro Cop have combined to go 1-4 in UFC. White was so disatisfied with Cro Cop, he exercised an option in the Croatian’s contract to release the heavyweight star.

It’s not huge news and has little impact with most American MMA fans. Cro Cop showed newer fans little in his lackluster performances.

It’ll be a different case if U.S. stars like Tito Ortiz, Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia jump for what they view as greener pastures. Those guys, all former UFC champions, would give a huge boost to smaller fight organizations.

tito2.jpgOrtiz is going to present a real problem in the coming months. His UFC deal ends after one more fight when he battles Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 in May. That gives the former UFC light heavyweight champ a chance to bash the organization and White for three months.

The early shots fired between the two on NBC’s MMA Fight Weekly were pretty nasty.

Sorry, we didn’t embed the vid. Click here or the Ortiz photo below to watch.


Explore posts in the same categories: MMA, UFC


  1. PaladinPup Says:

    May I ask how this constitutes a “mass exodus”? Cro Cop, who has not performed & Tito who has hit the glass ceiling as far as the LHW ladder goes. Yes they are on their way out. How is this a mass exodus?

    Now, having said that, I think fighters should be taking the UFC to task for painfully poor compensation. No other sport demands more physically and I dare say mentally. They also must dedicate years of intense training to reach an elite level. They should therefore be paid accordingly. Should the UFC refuse to be reasonable…then a “mass exodus” in the form of a tougher contract negotiation, well placed PR/media or what have you is in order.

  2. mrsunshinevegas Says:

    I think my brain did a mass exodus.

    Did I write “max” exodus earlier in the day? I was Cheetahs blinded by T & A when I wrote the post.

    I would qualify possibly losing Tito, Cro Cop, Sylvia and Arlovski over a six month period as damaging.

    I understand for the hardcores these may not be big losses but you gotta admit, they’d give a helluva boost to Elite XC, HDNet or M1, no? Those orgs are all looking for cred.

    I’m not sure why you’re explaining the hard work and training that goes into being an MMA fighter. I never ripped any of them for leaving. Like Sylvia said, whoever makes the best offer gets me. I can’t blame them if they choose to do so.

    I’m simply pointing out, it’s a situation that White has to deal with.

  3. PaladinPup Says:

    I brought up UFC/Fighters contract issues because this might justify real numbers leaving the UFC. If M1 and EliteXC can exploit UFC greed then we may see and “exodus of sorts.

    I agree that White has to deal with it now…before it continues.


  4. The Plague Says:

    I think in some cases, it’s the fighters’ greed and not the UFC’s which is causing a problem. Tito, Arlovski and Silvia all seem to expect their pay to remain the same or go up while they either lose or bore us all to death in the cage. I’ll be worried when they lose someone who is currently performing well and winning fights.

  5. Jeremy Says:

    Each of those three are looking for seven figure paychecks. Who can afford to pay them that kind of money?

    Elite has lost over 25 million in one and a half years. Their recent show did not take in enough to make it profitable, adding a 1.5 million dollar fighter would sink them even further.

    M1 is in the middle of a power struggle, with Cox on one side and Fedor’r manager on the other.

    I think AA and Sylvia will each re-sign.

    Ortiz will almost certainly either
    A) Co-promote a bout with Frank Shamrock
    B) Find somebody to foot the bill for some cards and pay him more than anyone has ever gotten. Tito is still a draw, but without the UFC promotional machine behind him, I think he ability to generate revenue will be limited.

  6. […] from Fox Sports Radio 1460 in Vegas says he thinks it’s headed in that direction, via a recent post on his Mr. Sunshine blog: UFC was forced to lock up most of the Pride stars to new contracts for unheard amounts by UFC’s […]

  7. […] months. The early shots fired between the two on NBCs MMA Fight Weekly were pretty nasty. UFC MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF FIGHTER MASS EXODUS Mr. Sunshine […]

  8. […] UFC MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF FIGHTER MASS EXODUS Dana White and his fighting league seemed to be on top of the world in March of 2007. White, and his bosses the […] […]

  9. These UFC guys would rather pay their own sponsorship than pay the fighters their’s:


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