The UFC has been holding their annual fighter summit this week to educate to their fighters and Strikeforce fighters on everything from steroids to public relations to concussions. The most valuable piece of advice they had for fighters though was how important it is to stay on top of their personal finances. Dana White explained to Yahoo! Sports’s Kevin Iole how easily athletes get in financial trouble when they don’t know how to manage their money.
“We do [care] and that’s why we go through this and spend all of this [expletive] money. There is so much coming at them. You have heard the stories about the guy making a $20 million payday. Someone comes up to him and said, ‘Damn dude, you made $20 million. That’s great. Let’s go party.’ Well, first of all, he didn’t really make $20 million. The government’s probably going to take half of that [in taxes]. He’s got to pay his manager his share and the guys who worked in his camp and all of his expenses.
“You’d be surprised at how much the fighter actually walks away with at the end of the day. But in a lot of cases, the fighter thinks he has $20 million and he spends like he has $20 million. But then, the next year, he gets a tax bill for $10 million and he says, ‘Now how in the [expletive] do I owe $10 million in taxes?’ We want to educate these guys on a lot of things that maybe they don’t know about or don’t think about. They can always pick up the phone and call us, but by doing a summit like this, we can have the experts here for them and make it easy for them in a day, day and a half, to get a lot of very useful information.”
I couldn’t agree more. You don’t want to end up like these guys.
Various notes from the summit:
— The UFC is pushing fighters to be more active on social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and even recommended that they get separate “fan cell phones” so fans can call them. It’s said there could be additional compensation for fighters who embrace social media, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
— Dr. Jeff Davidson was brought in to speak about concussions. He says 90% of concussions occur in training, so all those wicked knockouts that make us so concerned about our favorite fighters are really only the tip of the iceberg. He also warned fighters about the health risks associated with cutting weight too quickly.
— The DEA made a presentation about steroids which included photos of a steroid bust where the chemicals were being mixed in an unsterilized environment. Somehow, I don’t think that will deter too many fighters from using.
— UFC general counsel Lawrence Epstein brought fighters up to speed on the new accidental insurance policy.
— Scott Coker’s new title under Zuffa ownership is Strikeforce Executive VP & General Manager. What that means, nobody knows, but there hasn’t been any indication that his role in Strikeforce has been diminished.
— Speaking of Strikeforce, Tim Kennedy updated his Facebook page with a promising message for fans hoping Strikeforce will remain a separate entity after attending the summit: “Strikeforce is here for the long haul. They won’t be going anywhere for at least a couple years. Woman’s MMA is safe, and so are the crazy Russians that fight with us.” Following that comment, BE’s Leland Roling argued that it’s in the UFC’s best interests to keep Strikeforce’s deal with Showtime alive through 2014.
— Lorenzo Fertitta said they are still considering “Fight of the Night” bonuses for Strikeforce events.
— Presentations on branding, merchandising, gambling, rules and regulation, production and immigration were also given.
— The summit is apparently where Josh Barnett and Dana White were photographed together. It’s still unclear if they’ve actually settled their differences or merely posed together for a photo op. They did look awful chummy though.
Agenda scan via MixedMartialArts.com
Update: Ariel Helwani has confirmed that the UFC has in fact implemented a bonus system to reward fighters for using Twitter as hinted at above. The details:
Starting June 1, UFC and Strikeforce fighters will be divided into four categories, based on how many Twitter followers they currently have. At the end of each quarter, three fighters from each category will be awarded a $5,000 bonus. The three winners will be based on who has gained the most followers since the start of the quarter, who gained the highest percentage of new followers and who wrote the most creative tweets. White will be the judge of the last category.
At the conclusion of a full calendar year, the UFC will end up paying $240,000 a year to its fighters for their Twitter usage.
As a result, expect the volume of tweets from your favorite fighters to increase substantially.