On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with John Barr, a reporter in ESPN's Enterprise Unit.
On the ESPN web site, he wrote, along with Josh Gross, the article "UFC fighters say low pay simply brutal"
. He also reported on this issue and interviewed numerous people on the ESPN television show "Outside the Lines".
We spoke with John Barr by phone at length Tuesday afternoon about these controversial reports. He explained why ESPN became interested in this topic after UFC parent company Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, and how they arrived at their estimate of what percentage of UFC's gross revenue UFC fighters receive. We discussed the absence of transparency and disclosure to the fighters of UFC's finances, how and why they interviewed numerous fighters on and off camera, the private reaction of many fighters to their reports, the role of discretionary bonuses as a means of control of fighters, and the lack of protections for mixed martial arts fighters afforded to boxers under the Muhammad Ali Act. He also answered charges that ESPN ran this story because of some vendetta against the UFC, that positive comments from fighters about the UFC pay structure were edited out of the story, that the reports were filled with lies and did not give all the facts, and much more.
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Thanks, Eddie Goldman