Twenty six year old free agent bantamweight Aljamain Sterling is currently a free agent looking to gauge his worth via the route of free agency. Sterling is ranked #5 after his last fight, a second round submission win over Johnny Eduardo in December. The win was his 12 win of his career against zero losses. Sterling has been voicing his opinion on fighter pay since receiving a contract extension offer from the UFC that he felt was not up to par. Sterling spoke with the Off The Ball podcast Wednesday about his situation:
“Twenty and twenty is not good enough for a guy ranked top five. There’s no way in hell anyone should think that’s ok. There has been a couple of fighters out there who’ve been saying ‘Oh, Aljamain Sterling has been whine and complain about money on twitter’ and I’m like dude, do you have any idea what whining and complaining actually is?”
“I’m asking for a legitimate raise with legitimate reasons for a raise, so if you consider that whining I’d hate to see the offers UFC give you, and that you instantly sign because you guys are puppets.”
He’s an up and coming fighter with four UFC fights in which he’s undefeated with three finishes. Sterling was paid $28,000 for his last win($14,000 to fight and another $14,000 to win). Now, that would be a near 43% increase in pay(if Sterling were to win a fight on the new contract offer). However, let’s compare fighters with similaraties regarding number of UFC fights, ranking, and other things to see why Sterling has a legitimate case.
Sage Northcutt: He’s 19 years old and fought on the same event as Sterling in his last fight. It was his second UFC fight and he was paid $40,000 to fight and $40,000 to win, so he made $80,000 and isn’t ranked in the top 15.
Paige Van Zant: She’s 21 years old and fought four times in the UFC (3 wins and 1 loss). She lost her last fight and was paid a flat fee of $40,000 and likely would have made another $40,000 to win for a total of $80,000 had she won. She’s currently ranked #7 in the UFC.
Max Holloway: He’s 24 years old and has 14 fights in the UFC (11 wins and 3 losses). He was paid $12,000 to fight and another $12,000 to win in his fourth UFC fight for a total of $24,000. However, he was not undefeated in the UFC at the time and wasn’t ranked top 5. Holloway was paid $45,000 to fight and another $45,000 to win in his last outing against Jeremy Stephens for a total payout of $90,000. Holloway is currently ranked #4 in the UFC.
So yes, I’d say Sterling is correct in that the contract he was offered was a slap in the face considering what Northcutt and Van Zant are being paid. Actually, Holloway should probably be complaining about his pay too. You can listen to the entire interview below: