Joe Rogan, a well-known commentator, acknowledges the talent in promotions like the Professional Fighters League and Bellator. However, he feels they’re wasting their time competing outside the UFC. Rogan’s point of view is based on the fact that UFC remains the largest MMA promotion in the world.
Recently, PFL acquired Bellator and claimed industry co-leader status. This was due to their newly-enhanced roster. Despite this, Rogan believes most promotions are still far from catching up with UFC in terms of viewer interest.
Rogan expressed his thoughts on his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience”. He said, “No disrespect to the other organizations, there’s very good fighters in the other organizations, but I often feel like they’re wasting their career.” He compared the situation to football leagues, stating that if you’re not in the NFL, are you really playing football?
Corey Anderson, a former UFC heavyweight, responded to Rogan’s comments. He moved to Bellator in 2020 and detailed the perks fighters enjoy in non-UFC promotions. Anderson did not contest Rogan’s points about the viewership. However, he noted that a bigger purse is more important for some fighters than stardom.
Anderson shared his thoughts on Instagram. He wrote, “Now yall know I LOVE my guy Joe!” He went on to explain that fans seeing him fight wasn’t enough to pay bills or even begin to set his family up for a future. He and his wife both had to have jobs to keep afloat in between fights until his first fight in Bellator.
Anderson further explained that he makes more money in Bellator. His last fight ranked in the Top 5, but his purse didn’t even make close to six figures. He had to scramble to find someone to cover for him at work to go on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
In contrast, his first fight in Bellator made him five times more money. He was able to free his wife of a job and focus fully on his career as a fighter for the first time ever. Anderson questioned the value of having a fan base when he still had to work every day to afford life. He compared this to having fewer fans, financial freedom, and setting your family up for life after fighting.
Anderson acknowledged that he made money because of his start in the UFC. However, he pointed out that there are fighters like A.J. McKee and Patrick Mix who built financial freedom in Bellator. They may have never gotten it in UFC but also have a fan base.
In conclusion, Anderson stated, “So if you want fans and stardom… yes, you have a better chance in the UFC. But if you want to make money… test the field and go where the money is. FAME DOESN’T PAY BILLS……..MONEY DOES!”