Yesterday we took a big stinky dump on BJ Penn for turning down a fight with Kenny Florian at UFC 99. I’m willing to admit that I channeled a decent amount of my anger over the whole greasing situation into that post, which wasn’t exactly fair. When you think about it, there’s actually a pretty valid reason for BJ to sit out UFC’s first show in Germany:
Only one star with a PPV percentage scale built into his contract has ever fought on a European UFC PPV show. His name is BJ Penn, and the show (UFC 80) did 225,000 buys. Given the very small bonus he got, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t have interest in participating in a tape delay PPV show from Germany.
Anderson Silva was originally pencilled in to fight at UFC 95 from London, but turned it down for similar reasons. He publicly said he wasn’t ready, but this is the same guy who wanted to fight 3 weeks after his last one. Now he will ride Liddell’s coattails to some decent money in April.
Looking at UFC 85, 93, and 95 you again notice there are no stars on these shows with PPV bonuses. The difference is hundreds of thousands of dollars and many viewers. It’s hard to blame fighters’ agents for taking this view, it is their job to maximize revenue for their clients while they are on top of the game. It’s up to the UFC to bridge the gap.
As that big fat dead guy said, “mo money, mo problems.” Now all of a sudden you have fighters starting to pick and choose opponents and events based on how popular they’ll be, because they make more money off of big shows. Can we really blame BJ for turning down an iffy Germany card when a gangbusters event like UFC 100 is the month after? He already took a paycheck hit at UFC 80 when he fought Joe Stevenson in the UK. Is he really just being a giant dick because he wants to make more money?
Anyways, it was kinda foolish of me to assume BJ was being a lazy douche rather than a greedy douche. I don’t really like where this trend of fighters getting all picky is going, but I do understand it. If the UFC wants it’s bigger fighters on cards that are financially crippled due to time delays and lack of international PPV, then they’re gonna have to pony up the dough.