Unfair Fight, MSC Edition
Posted by: Scott Kitun, Class of 2012
ESPN.com recently published an “Inside The Lines” piece that was thereafter picked up by many major news sources about the management practices of the best known MMA fighting organization, UFC. The President, Dana White, who has long been a frequent topic of discussion due to his immense success and his immense ego, did his part to bring this article to the front page by responding to ESPN in a barbaric out lash that could only be described as frantic. Traditionally, the MMA is not of particular interest to me; therefore, I probably wouldn’t have paid the story any attention if it weren’t for the subsequent response by Mr. White. Given our weekly MSC conversations, White’s response immediately stood out to me as a failed effort to reduce the value of the news report. (For those of you applying now to the MSC, this will become a regular occurrence – that things you previously overlooked now become increasingly more interesting under your newly sharpened lens).
To give a short synopsis, the UFC has rapidly built itself a considerable brand and considerable revenue; they have done so in a fashion that most management people would consider monopolizing.UFC controls all rights and likeness of all of its contracted fighters and it is a privately held organization and as such, nobody except Dana White knows the true amount of revenue and thus compensations. This means by default that those who do not go along with his policy must find work elsewhere (which means no access to the high purse bouts) and if you do sign with Mr. White and UFC, then they (he) own you, literally.
As has always been the case with sports built on fighting, the management and overall operations tend to be somewhat brutish, but then again, so are many of the participants. This however, is something like even boxing has never seen. As the report indicates, it was impossible to find one single current UFC fighter who would agree to speak on camera or on record. We are talking about some of the toughest and largest men in the world, scared to go on record. Reason being, their boss, Dana White, owns them. He controls their likeness, their titles, brand and future. He has done so mainly by bullying some of the biggest men on the planet. Mr. White has accomplished this feat by doing what many political dictators have attempted (and always failed, eventually). He controls the media releases, keeps the lawyers at a distance and has thus far avoided the creation of an official union by his fighters.
For me, before the MSC I probably would have thought, “what a jerk. That must be difficult to work for such a bully”, and that would have been the end of it. Now, I hear his curse-ridden response to ESPN.com, calling the reporters “Stupid” and “pathetic” and I realize this is a person trying to demonize a media source and diminish the value of its findings. In short, I can use what I have already learned to see Mr. White’s response more clearly, I see a person under tremendous stress who hears the mob forming.
For the fighters, I suggest you lawyer up and take what is rightfully yours and let Mr. White twist in the wind, as it will eventually become his fate, regardless of his childish condemning of the news media. Because, using physicality or bully tactics will only last so long. Eventually, those involved will realize that the bully lashes out and attempts to cut down the adverse opinion out of a fear of resistance.
In summary, coming July 2012, expect the UFC to be seeking the employment of MSC graduates (speaking facetiously, maybe…)
Categorised as: Scott Kitun