Mixed Martial Arts is now a part of popular culture thanks to fighters like Conor McGregor.
One ex-champion, Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley, gave a glimpse into the pitfall of newfound fame and money. In a recent interview with ESPN, T-Wood revealed how his lifestyle changed during his title reign.
“I blew through a lot of money, man,” said Woodley. “Jewelry, VIP and all these experiences that came with the championship life. When you come from where I come from, you never imagine making that type of money. You never imagine being in that type of position. You work hard for it – and I didn’t get there by accident (because I was busting my ass) – but nobody taught me finance.”
Woodley held the UFC welterweight title from 2016-2019 after a unanimous decision loss to current champion Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman.
The win made Usman the UFC’s first African born champion. There are now two with Israel “The Last Style Bender” Adesanya holding the middleweight strap.
“Everybody taught me 1+1 is 2. That’s math. That ain’t finance, wealth, investing, saving, tax. That’s basically: you made money and you spend it. Because when I was growing up, we spent it when it came in. My mom’s check was already cut up, it was done before she even got it. She had to pick which utility bills was not gonna be on that, that month. And it was something that I didn’t recognize, as a kid, that it wasn’t normal. I thought everybody had to do that.”
All About The Benjamins
The UFC notoriously underpays its fighters. With a pay structure consisting of “show” money and a “win bonus”, many fighters have full-time jobs to compensate.
Minus the championship belt, he may not benefit from the additional pay-per-view revenue share typically offered to champions. His next fight is against Leon Edwards March 21st in London.
“So, when you started making money? I bought, like, seven cars and two houses—and all these trips. Nobody ever lifted a hand when we was at a restaurant; 10-15 people went to dinner. I was going to VIP clubs like, every other week. I just imagined making that amount of money for a very long time and it’s just a lesson learned.”