GSP Details “Multi-Million Dollar” “Chess” Negotiations With UFC
Nate Diaz gave Leon Edwards some pretty interesting advice after their five-round game on Saturday at UFC 263. “Don’t let those mothers tell you (you) aren’t shit. Name your price or they will name it for you.
Nate told me after the fight “don’t let those motherfuckers tell you it’s not a shit to name your prize or they will name it for you” and I felt that
– Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) June 14, 2021
Such tactics can work for some fighters. During his time as an active competitor, Georges St-Pierre also used a similar strategy to negotiate his contract.
Now retired, St-Pierre, 40, recently wrote a guest article for Wealthsimple magazine titled The UFC won’t pay you fairly unless you do them. Here he described the negotiations with his former employer as a “game of chess” that you have to play strategically.
In mixed martial arts (MMA), we don’t have an association to protect fighters like basketball, hockey, or baseball players do. There is no union in the fighting game. So for us in MMA, negotiations can become like a game of chess.
It was in 2008, two fights after I became UFC world champion, and my contract with the UFC was about to expire. Other organizations wanted to have me as a poster and the UFC knew that. So like a poker bluff, we said, “We don’t want to re-sign before the fight – we just want to finish the contract.”
We took a big risk. Because it’s like a scholarship. Your stock can go up if you are successful, but it can also go down if you lose. But that’s what we decided to do. I’ve always believed in myself, so we took the big risk.
St-Pierre has revealed that he won just $ 9,000 from his UFC 50 title fight against Matt Hughes. With a $ 9,000 / $ 9,000 contract, he only won half after losing the fight by submission in the first round.
But as he rose through the ranks and slowly built his name, “GSP” had more leverage on his side. And like any star athlete, he used it to his advantage.
So after winning the championship in 2008, I took a big bet on myself and told the UFC that I wasn’t going to sign with them again. And then the day before my fight with Jon Fitch, the UFC came back with a crazy big contract because they didn’t want me to become a free agent.
Did you read that I won $ 400,000 per game? No, I did a lot more than that. A parcel more than that. Millions. When I was at the peak of my career, I was making millions of dollars. Because not only do you get the cash to show and the cash to be made, but you also get a percentage of the door and pay-per-view purchases – the door and pay-per-view is where the money is. real money.
This is how fighters earn their money. But you must have the power to negotiate these terms. I was very successful so I was able to demand that extra money.
After nine straight title defenses as the undisputed UFC welterweight champion, St-Pierre took a break in 2013 out of disgust at the “performance improvement problem” at the time.
After the intervention of USADA a few years later, St-Pierre decided to come back. But this time he wanted a different challenge for a much bigger paycheck.
I didn’t want to come back and fight for the same title. I wanted to write the story and do something different. So I challenged Michael Bisping, the champion in a heavier weight class.
I came back mainly for my own sense of accomplishment, but of course the money was there. There are a lot of people buried in the wilderness for a lot less than I did for this fight, my friend.
For the fight with Michael Bisping, with the pay-per-views, the sponsorship and all that, I made about $ 10 million. Then in 2019, I got out. I am very lucky and very privileged to have finished in the lead.
The reality is that most fighters end up broken and broken. They stay there too long. They suffer brain damage. They go bankrupt. I am very healthy and rich. It’s very rare to find someone who hangs up their gloves and ends up on them like that.
Unfortunately, what may work for both St-Pierre and Diaz may not work for everyone. Not even for longtime former champions.
As for St-Pierre, he still runs into the UFC. The company recently rejected his alleged boxing match with Oscar De La Hoya, which he said was for charity.