Fighter pay is a frequent discussion in MMA circles with much speculation about what percentage of revenues are shared with athletes. Nova Scotia, who just hosted their first UFC event on October 4, 2014 has a law on their books mandating a minimum split to the fighters in the main event of a fight card.
Specifically, Section 58 of Nova Scotia’s Boxing Authority Regulations (which apply to MMA bouts by virtue of the definition of boxing set out in s. 2(3) of the Regulations) require that “The minimum percentage of the receipts to be paid to boxers in the main boxing match shall be not less than 10% for each boxer“.
Following the event the UFC announced that the live gate totaled $926,000. This means that the two headliners, Rory MacDonald and Tarec Saffiedine, were each entitled to a minimum purse of $92,600 to comply with Regulation 58.
Interestingly the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority Act defines “gross gate receipts” to include “all money collected in respect of a boxing match including all television and film royalties” so the amount may be far greater than this. With the UFC Fox deal being reportedly worth $115 million annually and with Fox televising 46 events in 2014 each fighter may be entitled to $250,000 from this event on this metric alone. ($115,000,000 prorated over 46 events = $2,500,000 per event with 10% of that being $250,000).
I contacted the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority who, respecting provincial privacy laws, are not prepared to disclose fighter pay details so it is unclear if this regulation was complied with.
If the speculated pay of Saffiedine ($19,500/$19,500 to show/win) following his last event are accurate and are any indicator of his pay following the Halifax show there may have been a gross underpayment. The same can go for MacDonald as the law appears to cover “television and film royalties”.
Nova Scotia ignored many of their regulations to allow the UFC host a show under the unified rules with which they are familiar. For Saffiedine’s and MacDonald’s sake, hopefully Regulation 58 was not ignored as well.