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Money Talks, and so Does Huerta

Written by Tom Ngo
August 4th, 2008
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UFC lightweight competitor, Roger Huerta, is on the cusp of a title shot. If he is able to post a win in his fight against Kenny Florian at UFC 87, he will legitimize himself as the top contender to face current champion BJ Penn for his title. However, after his Florian fight, he only has one fight remaining on his current UFC contract, and there is no way that the UFC will allow him to fight in a title bout with no more fights remaining on his deal.

So the solution is simple, right? Just re-sign Huerta to an extension. He has complied a 20-1-1 record, his last six wins in a row coming in the UFC. His exciting style appeals to fans and his good looks attracts to the ladies. In addition to that, Huerta comes from Mexican decent. The UFC has made it their organizational mission to grow their company globally, particularly into Mexico, so having Huerta on board would certainly help in their efforts.

But, Huerta may have made the ultimate mistake heading into his August 9th showdown. He is bad-mouthing the company that writes his checks because those amounts don’t satisfy his needs.

He is the second UFC fighter to speak out publicly about the imbalance between what the fighters earn and what the UFC pockets. The two others are Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture, who are no longer with the organization.

Huerta told FIGHT Magazine that most UFC fighters make more money off of endorsement deals than they do from the fights themselves. There are a few fighters that are well taken care of, however they are in the minority.

Unfortunately, a lot of the endorsement companies have caught wind to the situation that the UFC fighters are in, and have not beenas aggressive financially. In fact, Huerta was insulted by some of the offers that he received, including doing unpaid work as a spokesman.

“Are you serious?” Huerta asked. “I know Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t doing appearances for free.”

In the article, Huerta only mentions one fighter by name, and that is teammate, Keith Jardine.  Jardine headlined a main event for the promotion, and was only paid a $10,000 salary plus a $10,000 win bonus. His opponent made nearly ten times more. He didn’t say specifically which fight, but based on Jardine’s win history, it must have been his win over former UFC light heavyweight champion, Chuck Liddell, at UFC 76.

In addition to that, Huerta mentions a period in which he did a press tour for the UFC, which took him to Miami, Los Angeles, Houston and London. He mentioned that many of the days extended into 12-hours of chaotic promotion in which he was compensated only $50 per diem for his troubles.

“Why do you think I don’t do PR for the UFC any more?” Huerta questioned.

Huerta isn’t the first to speak out about monetary issues with the company, and surely will not be the last. However, he isn’t worried one bit about the possible consequences that might face him.

“The truth is, I don’t really care if I fight in the UFC or somewhere else,” Huerta stated, adding that he wants to work, “for a company that is as loyal to me as I am to them.”

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