March 17, 2016

Rory MacDonald: The Latest Fighter Looking To Benefit From MMA Free Agency

By Raphael Garcia

On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, top-ranked welterweight Rory MacDonald threw down the gauntlet when he said that he wants to make the most money possible. He indicated that to do so he’s willing to venture outside the largest promotion in MMA, and those words should be heeded by those in charge of the UFC.

MacDonald didn’t let up when talking to Ariel Helwani. His words were clear that he wants the most that he can get financially in his young and promising career:

"I want to make the most money I can. I want to get paid for what I bring to the table. I've sacrificed a lot to get to the top, to the world title. I really sacrificed, and I took a lot of chances. I did a lot of favors, I felt like, for the UFC and I don't think it got returned. So now it's all about making money and whoever wants to pay me the most is where I'll go."

The options are out there for MacDonald. Of course he could move onto the second biggest promotion in the sport, Bellator MMA. The company may still put on “freakshow” fights such as the bouts at Bellator 149 that featured Kimbo Slice, Royce Gracie, and Ken Shamrock, but the organization values competitors that create exciting bouts, such as Will Brooks, Darrion Caldwell, and Michael Chandler. MacDonald fits right into that group.

Compelling fights abound for the former UFC title challenger. Obviously there are potential fights against Benson Henderson or Andrey Koreshkov with the Bellator welterweight title at stake. He would be a very dangerous threat to Ben Askren in ONE FC as well. Yet this story is about much more than who MacDonald could fight in the future.

More and more fighters are looking to free agency to maximize their earning potential in the way that other professional athletes can. With NFL free agency at the focal point of professional sports at this time, fighters are realizing how little they make compared to those who step onto the football field. In fact, former NFL Super Bowl champion and now sports personality Marcellus Wiley took to Twitter in amazement when he found out how little the fighters earned at the massive UFC 196.

Fighters such as Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Aljamain Sterling, and others are working harder to ensure they are getting their value from the UFC. Veteran fighters are taking note that newcomers such as Paige VanZant and Sage Northcutt are earning $40,000 per fight while they earn far less. MacDonald’s statements draw the proverbial line in the sand, and by the end of 2016, more fighters will do the same.

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