Opinion: A Plea for Vigilant Coverage of Fighter Pay

There is something deeply dystopian about a profitable company paying hundreds of millions of dollars to celebrity investors while workers it likes to bill as celebrity athletes toil for absurdly low remuneration in a sport known for imparting head trauma and other serious physical ailments. However, that’s ostensibly exactly what the Ultimate Fighting Championship is doing. An article that appeared in the New York Post on Feb. 13 reported the following:

The mixed martial arts giant has approved a massive $300 million dividend to UFC’s investors—a star-studded list that includes Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Gisele Bundchen, Ben Affleck and tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, sources said. Roughly half of the $300 million will go to Endeavor, the entertainment holding company run by Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel, which bought a 50 percent stake in [the] UFC in 2016 for $4 billion. Endeavor also owns Hollywood talent agency WME, fashion and sports media agency IMG and the Miss Universe Pageant. Wahlberg, the Hollywood producer behind “Entourage” and “Boardwalk Empire,” is slated to nab a roughly half-million-dollar dividend, sources said, while Brazilian model Bundchen—wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady—is on track to get $145,000. Other beneficiaries include UFC President Dana White, Endeavor CEO Emanuel—the inspiration for the Ari Gold character in HBO’s “Entourage”—and Endeavor Executive Chairman Patrick Whitesell, ex-husband of Jeff Bezos gal pal Lauren Sanchez.

You can read the rest of this article at Sherdog.com.

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