A challenger fights for the fight, a champion fights for the money


Blue Belt
Aug 14, 2012
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I'm making this thread to discuss why fighters always start off as fighters but when they reach the pinnacle and become champion, they switch to businessmen. It's simple and the reason is because it's the smart thing to do and everyone of us would do the exact same thing.

When you're in combat sports or any individual sport, you dream of being the best in the world. You make all the sacrifices possible to achieve your goal and a very small percentage actually reach the top at some point in their lives. Now once you get there, you then have to establish yourself as the best, because becoming champion and being champion are 2 different things. Established champions are the elite of all combat athletes in that they have reached the pinnacle and fought off hungry lions in the process to reign supreme. Once you achieve that status, I feel a champion's decision to fight is no longer based on being or remaining the best fighter in the world. Rather it's about making the most money possible and ending their career on top. People criticize Anderson, GSP, and Jon Jones for ducking fights but the reality of it is, their decision to not accept fights has nothing to do with ducking the challenger. It's all about the new challenge which is what fight will make them the most money? What is a champions motivation after achieving the pinnacle and becoming and reining the best in the world? Money has no ceiling and it's a challenge that no one will pass up given the opportunity. Does anyone here think if Silva was not champion and he had to fight Weidman for the no. 1 contender spot, that the fight wouldn't happen? Another example is GSP not agreeing to fight Silva. He knows the risk far outweighs the reward. If his motivation was to be the best in the world, he would of challenged Silva the night be beat Condit. But he clearly didn't do it because he knows that even though he stood to have a big payday on fight night, if he lost, he would not only lose his "best P4P" discussion, but also lose a lot more income on future fights. Instead he chose another big money fight with Diaz which he thinks he can win. If GSP and Silva were fighting under a different set of circumstances like a Pride Grand Prix tournament, that fight would of happened as both fighters would welcome the challenge to determine who's the best in the world. In my opinion, the UFC matchmakers need to recognize "Super Fights" early on and put them together. An awesome fight would be JDS vs. Glover and have them bang it out because they both have the potential to be champions someday. I'm sure there's better examples but you get my drift. Point is, GSP, JJ, Silva are only taking big money fights they think they can win so get over it.
What if Nick Diaz is the challenger.
A challenger fights to become champion so he can finally fight for money.
mostly agree with the hypothesis, but i think you're missing a small intangible.

ALL fighters are going for the money. but only the top fighters have the negotiating power to actually do anything about it. most of the times that means champions, but there are plenty of examples of non-champs who demand bigger bucks too.

if Dennis Siver had the negotiating power that GSP and Silva did, he'd demand bigger bucks too. somewhere in between Siver and Silva is Cung Le....and, sadly, James Toney.
The challenger and the champion both fight for the title, the fight, and the money. It's absurd to think all of these aren't important to every fighter. I think that you did make some good points, but I think that both of those things (as well as creating a legacy) as important to challenger and champion in every fight
everybody fights for money.

just read the title.
Oh, the challenger is fighting for free? Like Ryu or Goku? Cool beans.
Welcome to the world of high stakes MMA. It's a different beast than it used to be this sport, priorities have changed and motivations have evolved. To be honest, the people that have the most problem are those that have enough history with this sport to remember it in its more violent chaotic early days. The refinement that MMA has undergone has leeched some of that vicious purity it once seemed to have and what's left at times seems lukewarm and overly processed. Better to be a new fan without those prejudices and the ability to develope new heroes in this incarnation of MMA. The old guard are slowly making their way out the door and taking their legacies with them.
Wow one paragraph put of all that, ts you realize the champ has fight number 1 contenders not chumps if anything they have to train harder than they did in the past
If champs fight for money, then challengers fight to be champs, meaning that challengers are fighting for the chance to make big money.

Bottom line is, fighters take fights that will take their career where they want it to go. If you just want to fight cuz it's fun and challenging, you can just stay in the gym. This is a career, and usually that involves financial considerations and decisions about what projects/matches you want at some point.
I can't read through that OP.

I don't think you can say champs only fight for the money. Obviously, money is a consideration, but I think their egos are also a huge motivator. You aren't gonna risk brain damage and permanent disability just to make your bank account 10% bigger, when you already have more money than you need. Being the biggest badass is something that money can't buy. You only get it by winning title fights.
That maybe more true now than before, but not completely so.
you try not fighting for money when they drop a million dollars in your lap to punch a dude in the face
Anderson Silva: too poor as a kid to train BJJ had to learn things from friends, worked in a fast food chain, got kicked out of Pride after fighting with his influential team and losing a fight that he only got the chance to do because Nog was his bro and also influential, 33+ years old when he actually started making some money after being beaten up day after day in training for the last decade, knows that he is only worthy something to someone if he keeps being a champion.

Average MMA fan: "Fuck that ********* anderson silva ducking fights who cares if he lose a fight he is not a warrior let me sit on my comfy chair and watch all that great pride events and early ufcs where doodz actually when and fought someone durr"