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At UFC 232 this past December, the three highest paid fighters were Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, and female Cris Cyborg, who all earned $500,000
Amanda Nunes continued to destroy the competition, as the bantamweight champ wrecked Holly Holm with a stunning head kick knockout in the first round. However, Nunes may have achieved something of greater importance in the history of sports: she may have achieved pay equality with men.
Leer en español: Dana White y Amanda Nunes hicieron del MMA el primer deporte con igualdad salarial de género
Main event winner Jon Jones made a flat $500,000 by defeating challenger Thiago Santos, who was guaranteed a flat $350,000 for Saturday’s title fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, according to salaries released by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Jones took home the same disclosed payday for his previous fight, a dominant title defense over Anthony Smith at UFC 235 in March.
The interesting fact is that co-headliner and two-division champion Amanda Nunes matched Jones in disclosed pay by defending her bantamweight belt, earning $300,000 to show and $200,000 to win. Nunes’ opponent, ex-champ Holly Holm, made a set payment of $300,000.
This is not the first time this happens. For instance at UFC 232 this past December, the three highest paid fighters were Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, and female Cris Cyborg, who all earned $500,000 in disclosed pay for their performances. UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes ended as the second highest paid fighter on the card with $350,000 earned for her win that night.
While he couldn’t speak to specifics, UFC president Dana White acknowledged the disparity in pay for athletes in other sports such as the U.S. women’s soccer team fighting for equal pay to their male counterparts. “It makes sense. I hear that all the time with soccer and basketball and tennis and golf,” White said. “Obviously whatever sport it is, and the women are bringing in the money, yeah they should get paid,” he added.
However, it has not always been this way. White infamously once stated that women would never compete in his organization, but now he is happy to have been proven wrong. However, over the past six years since Ronda Rousey made her debut, the UFC has seen numerous women’s fights as headliners on pay-per-view and television and growing to have four women’s division.
To White’s credit, he admits he was wrong when initially asked the question about women fighting in the UFC and he is now convinced that they belong following a series of great performances by female fighters. He admitted to having been proven wrong “because they’re good. Because they’re really good,” when asked about the success of women in the UFC. “One of the things you have to remember—I completely own up to saying women would never fight in the Octagon—but like I told you guys earlier, you’ve got to remember at that time, I was trying to get people to accept the men fighting in the Octagon. It wasn’t allowed on pay-per-view. It wasn’t allowed on TV”, White added.
“There’s always going to be this, it’s changing rapidly, but there’s always going to be this chauvinist side to men that men don’t want to see women getting pinned up against the cage and hit with elbows and getting cut, things like that. So I thought. It’s prevalent now. The difference is, the reason that the women’s MMA has taken off and it’s so big is because these women are legit. Really good, very technical, and it’s amazing, and I never saw it coming”, White said.
In a way, White’s defiance may have only encouraged fighters like Rousey to prove him wrong, and she ultimately served as the catalyst for women to join the UFC regularly. The UFC now the organization promotes women’s fights on nearly every card.
LatinAmerican Post Staff