UFC light heavyweight Ryan Jimmo may be known as “The Big Deal,” but he is starting to feel like he may be getting a raw deal from his bosses.
Ryan Jimmo wants fighters to speak up for themselves
Over the past several days, Jimmo has been fairly active on social media regarding the UFC lawsuit, as well as some other issues.
Jimmo was on this week’s episode of Sucka Radio and had the following to say.
On social media posts earlier this week
“I’m sure everyone is aware that the lawsuit is happening with the UFC. I wouldn’t call what I have animosity, I was a little bit upset about the seats the UFC gave me, but that was kind of the straw that broke the camels back.
As far as not getting treated so well, on a financial front, on a personal front, for a some time, so some of these things have to change in the sport before it implodes on itself. It’s already starting to do that with lawsuits. With what’s happening with Nate Quarry, and Cung Le, as well as Jon Fitch, so I’m looking at this as a long term thing not just for myself, but for younger fighters coming up. You don’t want the younger generation to get taken advantage of, like a good portion of my generation get taken advantage of. Or get severely underpaid for years and years and years and of blood, sweat and tears. This is a dangerous job and I just want to see an improved situation for all fighters, all around the world. Sometimes you’ve just got to bang a few pots together, to get some attention, so you can be heard and some of those Tweets were for that.”
On Tweets saying, ‘Ryan Jimmo wants to get fired from the UFC’
“The thing that people are mistaken of, ‘oh you’re not a company man’ or, ‘you don’t want to be there.’ I do want to be in the UFC and the fact that I’m trying to make a little bit of noise about this, proves it more than someone who’s just going to be in agreeance. I want to see the situation for fighters improve. I want the UFC to go on, I don’t want this lawsuit to cripple them. But I do want some of the business practices in regards to the fighters and some of the pay structure to change. I’m a company man, in the fact that I want to see change for the better so everyone will improve. So everyone is in a better situation. It’s hard to do that, I’ll tell you what, I was getting a little bit of flack, ‘why would you come on social media and say this?’ Well, we don’t have a Fighters’ Union, we don’t have a Players’ Association, there’s no one to go and talk to, to talk about these issues. Our only course of recourse, is social media. I don’t have Dana White’s phone number, I don’t have a union head I could go talk to. Is this legit, like what’s going on here. I have Dana White’s Twitter handle, I can contact him there and we don’t really have any other real recourse for communication for how to go about a change if something’s unfair.”
On the Reebok deal
“Until we actually get numbers, it’s absolutely impossible to say. I’m stealing this from another fighter, this another fighter’s idea, so I can’t claim originality in this spot that I’m going to talk about. For so long they’ve kind of starved the fighters for sponsors — they’ve put the tax on it, this guy can’t sponsor that, that guy can’t sponsor that because it competes with ours, so guys aren’t getting that much for sponsorship. It’s really hard to get sponsors in the UFC, unless you’re like a main event guy. So let’s say guys are getting $5,000 a fight with sponsors, all of a sudden the Reebok deal comes by and is like, ‘well here’s $6,000’ so guys are like, ‘hey I got a pay raise.’ But realistically, you should be getting $20,000. They switched out feeding the bread scraps for a Snickers bar, but it’s really just a Snickers bar. So this is something that I think needs to change. Another thing and I’m a little bit questionable about it is, in the past and this is something that I just hope overall as an industry needs to change, anytime that there is any kind of chance to grab a little bit of extra money, promotions tend to do it. So if things start to go a little bit south for the company, lets just say financially they’re in a bit of a bind, I’m not entirely trustworthy of them not taking the money out of that Reebok deal or the fighters pockets in order to keep the company going. Then the fighters are out in the cold again.”
On repercussions from statements
“I was watching a video about fighter pay and stuff. I don’t even know who the individual was that was doing it, he’s a bearded guy, he’s a journalist, I think he works for Sherdog, I’m not entirely sure. But he said, if fighters just want to make a change in their pay, a couple of them have to fall on their swords. A couple of them really do have to fall on their swords. I’ve been getting a little bit of this, ‘why should we listen to you? You’re not a champion.’ I consider myself a middle of the pack guy, I’ve got injured my last couple of fights, but middle of the pack guy, I see myself. The bad things overall with the Reebok deal and how little fighters get paid aren’t affecting the top guys, they’re affecting the middle to the back of the pack guys. More severely anyway. I think it should be encouraged that more guys that aren’t front of the pack, like middle of the pack guys, stand up and voice their opinion a little bit. In any other job, if there was something that was completely, like this is just not kosher, you could go talk to someone. You have some course to take, that could be corrected somehow and the company would be improved overall and there wouldn’t be any damage. You hope not, unless something absolutely crazy went down. We don’t have that, so here’s hoping to improve that situation. Improve the social infrastructure and improve the lives for all the fighters. Realistically, I think, you improve the lives for all the fighters, you improve how happy they are, then all of a sudden the UFC and the brass don’t get lawsuits for millions of dollars.”
On the lawsuit against the UFC being about money or principle
“I think that would be a good portion of it. The money would be like the details, so I think that’s all part of it. Guys have gotten severely raked over the coals with money. While the brass are making money hands over fists. There is more than enough wealth in this sport to go around. So guys who are fighting in the UFC don’t have to work at a coffee shop on the weekends just so they can keep their lights on or put food on the table for their family. You go to any other sport on the highest level — NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball, NBA and that just simply doesn’t happen. If you play in the NBA, if they have a second job, they do that because they like serving coffee. Not because they need the money. That’s an important aspect to really look at and understand. One time, I was talking to a really good friend of mine and he said, ‘I feel sorry for guys that fight in the UFC.’ I said why? He said, ‘Right now, I have a UFC fighter living in my basement, he fights in the UFC just so he can afford a piece of crap car. It’s dangerous work, you guys are really passionate about what you do and you’re so passionate about it, that sometimes you forego potential health problems.’ Like I’ve gotten broken bones before, guys are tearing their knees out, guys are getting broken bones in their face. It’s very dangerous work. If you look at the amount of money that it takes to train for a fight, the amount of money they’re paying to managers, agents, plus pay taxes, most guys are barely making it by. Unless something substantial has happened in their career. I’ve been lucky enough to do a couple of ‘Knockout of the Nights,’ but even still, I calculated my pay as $40-grand a year over the three years off what I did. But imagine if someone didn’t get a couple of knockouts of the night, that’s very bad pay. Especially for exceptionally hard work, dangerous work.”
On the chance of a fighters union
“I don’t know if I see any other recourse other than that. If there is a more plausible solution to our problem here and the problem is fighters have no say, they have no weight to voice their opinion. I’m 100% open to it. I think it’s kind of the only recourse. We need a Players’ Association or a Union in order to validate and fight for our rights that traditionally, historically has not respected the fighters rights. So I’m just hoping all of that improves. I hope this lawsuit doesn’t cripple the UFC and crush it so they have to sell it and so someone doesn’t take it over properly. What I really hope and I might be a little idealistic, that they come out ok from it, they learn their lesson, they treat fighters with a little more respect and give them a little bit of money. Because these guys deserve it and I’m not even talking about myself. Of course everyone wants more money, but really for the next generation, for the guys who are not getting paid any money and kids that have had to work second jobs. That’s what I’m speaking out for and hopefully it gains some ground.”
Listen to the entire interview with Jimmo here.