EK: Are you at all bitter about how things worked out with the UFC?
JV: Very bitter. They always claim that they treat the fighters so well. Yeah, they treat the top five per cent of the fighters well — the ones that are on the main card all the time. They don’t treat the rest of them very well. The healthcare plan is horrible, with a $1,500 deductible per injury — the catastrophic-injury insurance is not even really good insurance. There’s no retirement fund, there’s no signing bonus. You start off at six-and-six, you’re really not making too much money because you’re self-employed, so you’re paying the self-employment tax and you’re paying the regular tax and income tax. So you’re paying twice as much in tax. They claim they’re treating the fighters well, but they’re not, realistically.
EK: Do you feel that’s a misconception among fans?
JV: Of course … People always tell me, “You’re rich — you’re on TV!” Are you kidding me? I made $54,000 two years ago, paid $9,000 in taxes, so that leaves me with $45,000. This last year, I made $50,000 and paid $8,000 in taxes. That leaves me with $42,000 — that’s barely above poverty. I have three kids and a wife I’m supporting.
EK: At the end of the day, what are you hoping to accomplish with the World Series of Fighting?
JV: I’m trying to make the fans realize what the UFC is really like — I’m going to expose them as much as I can. But also my goal is to win in World Series and try to stay undefeated. Obviously it’s to win. The short-term goal is to win. The long-term goal is, as soon as they come out with that belt, I’d like to get that belt.