Fear The Fighter (Twitter: @Fearthefighter) provided a silver lining in the dark cloud that surrounds UFC 151.
After Dan Henderson withdrew from the UFC 151 main event and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones declined a match against Chael Sonnen, which threw the event into jeopardy, UFC 151 was cancelled. Shutting down the event in light of Jones’ selfish decision caused financial distress to the remaining combatants on the card.
The UFC offered the fighters scheduled to compete at UFC 151 their show money or an immediate match on one of the UFC’s upcoming cards. It was the least they could do to accommodate the athletes who will suffer a loss of revenue, but it doesn’t cover all the losses they will incur.
When a fighter competes they are given the opportunity to earn show money, win bonus money, a possible event bonus based on performance and sponsorship money. With so many competitors taking a loss due to the cancellation of UFC 151, Fear The Fighter stepped up and compensated their fighters on the card.
Fear The Fighter president David Makdessi (Twitter: @Teambullmma), brother of UFC lightweight John Makdessi, knows firsthand what a fighter goes through and how dependable they are on sponsorship income. He said he knew right away that Fear The Fighter must pay the combatants they had competing at UFC 151, therefore, there was zero hesitation in compensating them.
UFC 151 was set to have Eddie Yagin and Takeya Mizugaki sporting FTF t-shirts, so the financial blow suffered is not incredible. For Makdessi, whether its two combatants or a dozen, there’s no question in paying them because Fear The Fighter is team oriented.
“We have a team,” Makdessi told MMADiehards.com. “I don’t like to sponsor a fighter for one fight; I like to have them as a team member. Basically they’re not a billboard for one day, we help each other out. They help build FTF up and I help them build themselves up.”
Dealing with sponsorships in any sport is plagued with horror stories of shady business deals. Makdessi is no stranger to how some sponsors conduct business and he does not want Fear The Fighter to be placed in the same class as some of his dishonest competitors. By paying Yagin and Mizugaki, Makdessi is taking a stand and he hopes other companies will follow suit.
“Unfortunately a lot of sponsors do screw fighters over for their pay,” Makdessi said. “That’s, as they say, some people pay for other’s mistakes. By doing this I don’t want fighters to be afraid of Fear The Fighter. At the end of the day we will come through and everybody will be happy.”
An exuberant evening of fights allows fighters and fans to both win. With UFC 151 extinct, fans and fighters both lose. There is a relationship between mixed martial artists and fans that makes it impossible for one to exist without the other.
Makdessi is aware of this unspoken arrangement and he is pleased with the reaction fans have had from Fear The Fighter’s kind gesture to pay their UFC 151 would-be combatants. He appreciates the fans and athletes equally, but thinks the spectators don’t get commended enough for their loyalty to the fighters.
“It’s really about the fans,” Makdessi said. “It’s amazing to see how fans support the fighters. Without them, fighters wouldn’t be able to do what they love. It’s the fans that do this. If it wasn’t for them there wouldn’t be the fighters, so the fans deserve a big shout out.”
UFC 151’s cancellation is considered a major disappointment, but for two fortunate competitors on the card, things are looking a little brighter thanks to Fear The Fighter.