UFC president, Dana White has given his thoughts on recent comments made by UFC strawweight Cheyanne Buys following her high-kick stoppage win over Gloria de Paula at UFC Vegas 33 last weekend, in which she commented on the issue of fighter pay — claiming that in mixed martial arts, “you’ve got to win, if you win, everything’s good.“.
Following her opening round knockout win over Brazil’s de Paula, footage emerged of the Florida native collapsing in tears after she had been informed that she had been awarded Performance of the Night honours following her stoppage win. The 26-year-old described her bonus check payment as “life-changing” — leading to some noticeable questions surrounding the issue of fighter pay within the mixed martial arts community.
During her post-fight press conference, Buys, who had scored her first victory under the UFC’s banner at the second time of trying, explained how her bank account was negative ahead of the pairing, and how herself and her husband had packed up and traveled from Dallas to Las Vegas in order to pursue her career. Breaking down in tears once more, Buys explained how she had taken out numerous loans in order to compete, and how the post-fight bonus she had received would now allow her to pay back some of those lendings.
“I just found out two seconds ago I got Performance of the Night (bonus), so yeah, it’s pretty surreal,” Buys said to assembled media. “Seven weeks ago I decided to make a big risk and just ditch my house and everything in it in Dallas, Texas, and I came here with my animals and my husband and we have one vehicle. We packed up our car with one suitcase. We came here, we didn’t have a house, we had nothing. I had to get a loan just to get a house and I knew coming in here tonight that my whole paycheck was just gonna go back to that loan.“
“I took a big risk to get a big reward and I can’t thank my team (enough), my husband, my family because they were the ones that said, ‘Listen, you’re gonna have to go broke for a little bit just to get something good out of this.’ I knew I had to do it and just feel so happy.“
“I am negative in my (bank) account right now,” Buys explained. “So it’s gonna make a big difference. My whole paycheck is I have to pay back $15,000 for a loan I got from a few people, so I made 10 and 10 (thousand dollars) for my win and show so that $20,000 was just gone. And I’m okay with this, I was okay it I won and that check was gone because I made that move out here and I knew that this fight was just gonna be for the move. It was the best decision me and my husband made for our career and just to get that bonus…“
“I’ve been so broke my whole life because of this sport but it’s so worth it to me because I love this sport, but to get a $50,000 paycheck, my husband’s gonna tell me to put it away, I’m definitely gonna want to buy some nice stuff, but I’d like to buy a little bit of things for the house and for my animals. I really like to spoil my family, but this week I’m definitely taking my team to go get a nice dinner. It’s life-changing for sure, but I’ve got to put the money away and just go out there and fight again” (H/T MMA Fighting)
When asked for his thoughts on Buys’ financial situation and struggles during a recent interview with MMA Junkie reporter, John Morgan ahead of UFC 265 — White claimed that a lot of fighters “on the way up” are struggling and pointed to the fact that Buys had earned $80,000 in two fights under the promotion’s banner.
“There’s a lot of people on their way up, she’s (Cheyanne Buys) on her way up, — that are broke, struggling, trying to make it,” Dana White replied when asked if her financial situation was a bad look for the UFC. “And I’d say — but the flipside to that is, she’s 1-1 in the UFC and she’s made, what, eighty grand in the last six months?“
“Listen, you gotta go out — this is one of those sports (where) you gotta win, if you win, everything’s good, if you lose, everything’s bad. That’s the nature of this beast.“