Israel Adesanya’s ‘trickle-down’ theory won’t work if his wallet is kept secret

Ahead of UFC 271, UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya signed a new deal with promotion. In a press release, his management team at Paradigm Sports promoted the deal – without giving details – as “one of the most lucrative multi-fight deals in the company’s history”. The agency added that the signing would make Adesanya “one of the highest-paid athletes in mixed martial arts history.”

After defeating Whittaker at UFC 271 – his fourth defense of the UFC middleweight crown – said Adesanya He felt like “this is going to trickle down to the rest of the fighters because yeah it’s time.”

There is a way this trickle down effect can occur, and from what we found out from Paradigm’s Tim Simpson in Wednesday’s The MMA lessonAdesanya’s actions will prevent that.

Simpson said he believes all UFC salaries should be disclosed, if not to the public, then at least to all managers and agents working on contracts with the UFC. Simpson said the disclosure would allow knowing where fighters get paid when compared to other fighters. That knowledge, Simpson said, would give fighters leverage when working out compensation with the UFC.

Simpson is on the spot. When other sports (NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB) started disclosing athlete compensation, athletes saw an exponential increase in salary.

When asked why he can’t reveal what Adesanya is doing. Simpson said, “Why we can’t release it (the contract details) publicly is Israel’s choice.”

Simpson added that he didn’t like that, saying salaries “should always be disclosed.”

I totally agree with Simpson.

I see Adesanya’s refusal to disclose his salary as the point at which his statement that his contract will have a trickle-down effect becomes a bunch of empty words.

If Adesanya wants to move the process forward and help increase UFC salaries, he needs to let other fighters and their representatives know what he’s earning. By keeping this number secret, all power is in the hands of the UFC. If a fighter doesn’t have a starting point for negotiation, they will always be at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating a deal.

Adesanya’s reps know this fact, hopefully they can convince him – and other fighters under their umbrella – that releasing fighter salary information would be a huge benefit to all fighters on the UFC roster.

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