Originally Posted by County Mike
If you think about it this way: Membership fees for the Shark Tank MMA are normally $120 per month. In the local shows, a fighter is lucky to make $1000. 30% is $300, so that would cover less than 3 months of training. A lot of these guys go more than 3 months between fights so they're getting the better end of the deal. They also get some free stuff from the sponsors that only the pro fighters get. In many cases, an amateur fighter with potential is also trained for free in the hopes that he'll eventually go pro and make some money for the club/managers. More often than not, it doesn't pan out.
If a fighter really makes the big time, I'm guessing some changes would be made to their contract. Essentially, the paid fighters pay less to the gym than if they were just paying their gym fees and the trainers help them make money from it.
Joe Normal pays $120 per month and never gets paid to fight.
Joe Pro pays nothing and keeps 70% of his fight purse.
I understand that there are gym fees coming out of that, but at the same time that also ties into one of the things I hear a lot of aspiring fighters, and even just casual fans who like to train, complain about when it comes to MMA gyms, and that is simply the cost. MMA's popularity has caused a giant influx of gyms that were already established under other disciplines to just slap "MMA" on their sign out front and jack up membership costs. Now, don't be offended, because I am not saying that Shark Tank is like that, or that it's a sub-par gym in any way, but that is happening a lot all over. I've seen and heard of a bunch of gyms around Phoenix that are like that, and back around Chicago too.
Joe Normal doesn't really care about becoming a fighter, so paying the membership fees to the gym is simply a luxury to them. For Joe Pro, who wants to turn fighting into their living, training basically becomes a business expense. If they already have to knock 30% off the top of their payday before they even pay taxes that's a pretty stiff kick in the groin IMO and unfortunately Herb Dean can't do anything about that one. Obviously, on the local level, everybody is trying to get a piece of a much smaller pie, so that magnifies it. If you have $100 dollars and I take $30, you are gonna be upset, but if you ONLY had $1 and I take 30 cents, you are going to be PISSED.
So to say, "Joe Pro has to pay 30% of his purse, BUT he gets to train for free", sort of reminds me an infomercial where a business says... "If you buy this (insert random junk here) for $19.99, we will send you this (other random junk) for FREE (a $120 value)"
I totally get it, it's just business. Also, I'm sure you are right that if a guy were to really make it big there would be some changes to that type of contract with the managers. 30% is just awfully high though IMO. I understand the gym needs money to stay afloat, and people gotta eat, but most gyms aren't making their profits off of fighters, they are making their money off casual students. Not to mention, if they aren't really securing individual sponsorships for their fighters, but rather a sponsorship for the gym itself, then instead of getting actual money to feed their families, those low-level fighters are getting a nice "Tapout" shirt or hat while the gym gets the actual sponsorship money. Obviously, the fighters should have to pay SOMETHING to the places they train at, but it's also the fighters who are going out and representing those gyms, and the gyms sponsors, by fighting in front of large groups of people. Fighters are basically living, breathing, and walking advertisements for their gyms, and if a guy goes out and brutally KO's another dude in the first round and then tells everyone he trains at "Gym X", what better advertising is there than that?
Just my thoughts on the matter. It's obviously not the same everywhere, and some managers/gyms are probably taking a lot more than that from some of these fighters. Nobody ever accused Boxing/MMA of being the most honest industry.