Monday, October 24, 2011

The 2011 Rugby World Cup and New Zealand's 99%

Over at, I just posted a piece on the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC) and its contextualized place in New Zealand society. The piece examines the RWC accounting for:

  • its own status as an entity driving consumerism

  • the typical notions of gender in sport, and

  • how the RWC has masked the global "Occupy Movement" present in Auckland

Developing conspicuous consumption...

Hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity anyone?

Check it out if you have minute:

Numerous pictures and YouTube videos are included in the entry.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Aljazeera's "Slavery: A 21st Century Evil" Video Series

In assigning mini-documentaries for my courses, I rely on Aljazeera more than any other news site. A pretty high majority of my students appreciate the videos, but it's not uncommon for a student to say something like, "Of course this video is biased, as it was produced by Aljazeera." I suppose that may be true (just as it would be true for virtually any site). Still, the depth that Aljazeera goes to in addressing issues of global inequality and exploitation is truly unparalleled.

Once again, Aljazeera has outdone itself by producing a large series of videos titled, "Slavery: A 21st Century Evil." Augmenting the outstanding piece titled, "The Nigerian Connection," this series has documentaries on:

The largest contemporary trial on slavery in the United States (City & County of Honolulu, Hawaii) - "Food chain slaves"

Coming soon:

And perhaps most impressive, the series offers guidance on our global responsibility as consumers who assist in driving slavery industries through a piece titled, "Your purchase is advocacy":

My consumer purchase therefore may be my most powerful act of advocacy against slavery. When a million consumers start shopping with their conscience, they shift the economics of the market.

After all, supply chains do not follow immutable laws of production. They operate as "value" chains, because economic value is assigned to those factors that the market rewards. At the moment, the human story gets lost in complex international supply chains, and hence gets assigned minimal economic value.

You can also measure your own estimated contributions to contemporary slavery by taking this "Slavery Footprint" test (courtesty of The Global Sociology Blog).

Be sure to check out Aljazeera's site for updates on this very important series.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

For-Profit Education?

In the United States, a recent phenomenon in higher education has gained steam – the increasing number of for-profit colleges/universities. Typically, universities are state-subsidized institutions or private non-profit institutions. As such, the traditional university is not centrally driven on the supposition of making money; instead education remains the centrepiece of the university, where students and staff produce and disseminate knowledge.

Under the growing for-profit, private enterprise model, universities are emerging that are characterized by a number of values that are antithetical to educational excellence:

  • A desire to enrol as many students as possible
  • Targeting of under-prepared young people from low-income communities who will rely on expensive federal student loans
  • An increasing number of courses offered online without in-person instruction, tutoring or assistance
  • A standardization of curriculum, overseen by university management

In essence, this model of education is comparable to fast-food restaurants, with one key caveat. At a fast-food restaurant like McDonalds for example, a Big Mac is relatively cheap and produced the exact same way at virtually any McDonalds across the globe. Its production is standardized, available for anyone to purchase who has a fairly small amount of money.

Likewise at for-profit colleges/universities, education is readily available to anyone who can pay, who has online computer access, and who is willing to receive a standardized education that is exactly the same, irrespective of the instructor or campus location. The caveat is that unlike a Big Mac at McDonalds, tuition at for-profit colleges/universities is quite expensive relative to traditional universities.

These conditions at for-profit educational institutions are established and enforced by institutional management. I have friends and colleagues who have taught at some of these institutions. They have told me that the textbooks and PowerPoint lectures they use are set ahead of time by the management, and that a managerial assessor is present in their classroom to insure that they are not deviating from the set curriculum.

This rigid and policed educational model is one that has three critical ramifications. One, the degrees students attain (if they attain them) are not valued in society. Thus, if a student graduates, s/he exits the university often times with a massive student debt and near worthless degree. Two, innovation is completely stifled. University staff and students are not encouraged to creatively investigate the many dimensions of our local and global communities. A uniform “cookie cutter” curricula devalues innovation and the production of knowledge through research, something no university should desire.

Three, the strict managerial surveillance of university staff discourages dissent, both of the curricula and of anything happening in society at large. Obviously, this is a crucial problem, as historically universities have been vital stimulators of social movements against oppressive conditions in society. The for-profit model of education eradicates all modes of a collective critical consciousness; students and staff are denied academic freedom and freedom of expression.

So what does all this have to do with the University of Auckland? Nobody is suggesting our university be completely transformed into a for-profit institution, are they? Probably not. However, it is absolutely essential that our university does not move in the direction of the for-profit model where management makes unobstructed universal decisions, rendering staff and students completely powerless in the university’s daily operations. As we see student tuition and debt rise, while our university’s international ranking simultaneously goes down, it is imperative that we at least make connections and ask the relevant questions.

There is no reason that university management should be privileged to such a degree that staff and students are excluded from major decision making processes. The for-profit model values students as dollars and staff as static informational cogs. Is the University of Auckland moving towards the for-profit model? If so, we need to turn things around now as this would certainly not be in the students’ best interests.

See also here: For-Profit Colleges: Targeting People Who Can't Pay

Academics Blogs

Monday, August 29, 2011

Labeling and Deviance at the 2011 Track and Field World Championships: Oscar Pistorius

So I'm blogging over at now as well. Track & Field afficionados are well aware of South African 400m sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who made it to the semi-finals in this week's World Championships. While he had an outside shot, he failed to make the finals.

At SIF I argue that as Pistorius has become faster, his ascribed statuses have shifted, and are now labeled deviant by some due to his "blade runner" prosthetic legs.

Check it out here: "
(Dis)Advantaged? The Changing Statuses of Oscar Pistorius"

Watch the video below for Pistorius's qualifying sprint at 45.07 seconds:

And the quarter-finals of this year's champ's, clocking 45.39:

Photo via The Guardian.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Globalization, Poverty, and Slavery - Aljazeera's "The Nigerian Connection"

Drug use and sex work are topics that tend to evoke high emotion in the general public. Viewed as victimless crimes by some, others note that victimization is an integral component of international systems where people are trafficked as contemporary slaves in robust drug and prostitution rings.

Aljazeera’s People & Power recently produced an outstanding two-part series on human trafficking that focuses on global connections between Italy and Nigeria. Titled “The Nigerian Connection,” the first piece examines an Italian community, Territorio di Castel Volturno, where Italian and Nigerian Mafia’s compete for supremacy of the local organized crime scene, as the second piece turns to Nigeria.

In sociology and the broader social sciences, globalization is hot topic that refers to the increasingly efficient connections facilitating economic exchanges across the global landscape. This includes everything from legal modes of communication (e.g., the internet), to money exchange industries (e.g., Western Union, typical banking corporations), to the trafficking of drugs and human beings, provided these transactions cross international borders.

While globalization has existed for centuries, today’s international exchanges occur much faster, and illegal exchanges frequently transpire under the radar of law enforcement, that is unless corrupt law enforcement agencies are directly involved in the trafficking. Conservative figures estimate that approximately 27 million people are trapped as slaves in a given year, more in absolute number than at any time in the 18th or 19th century. Most are forced to work in the agricultural sector, though slaves are also forced into drug trafficking, sex work, and industrial tasks.

Kevin Bales, author of Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, defines slavery as the total control of one person by another for purpose of economic exploitation. Bales argues that overpopulation in low-income countries has created an increasingly large and vulnerable labor class. An extremely exploitable proletariat, this class is treated by greedy and corrupt capitalists as disposable. Bales further notes that contemporary slavery is characterized by seven qualities that distinguish it from slavery in centuries past:

1. Legal ownership of slaves is avoided
2. Slaves can be purchased at very low cost (for as low as US$90, see here)
3. Slavery yields high profits since slaves are inexpensive
4. Due to overpopulation, the world has a surplus of potential slaves
5. Slaves are disposable, replaceable because of the global surplus
6. Being disposable, slaves have a short relationship with slavers
7. Ethnic differences between slavers and slaves are less important (it is not uncommon to see slavers and slaves from the same ethnic group)

Most of today’s slaves are tricked into slavery through debt bondage – the individual pledges him/herself against a loan of money tied to an inflated cost of transportation to a new country, where the individual will presumably work in a conventional, legal job. However, upon arriving in a new and unfamiliar place, the workers are forced into slave-based jobs with conditions that make it virtually impossible to pay off their debts, escape, or seek help from legal authorities (e.g., passports are taken away).

Watching Aljazeera’s two-part documentary, one can clearly see the seven qualities Bales presents that characterize modern-day slavery, as well as how globalization is facilitating slavery tied to prostitution.

Part I (25 minutes):

Part I offers additional insights into important sociological concepts. For instance, cultural norms are corrupted in order to control the Nigerian female prostitutes via a “Juju oath” that women are forced to take prior to leaving Nigeria (@16 minutes; and @ 12:00 minutes in Part II). This oath is used to control the women while enslaved in Italy. Patriarchy is also clearly evident, as systems are established that privilege men over women. With the prostitutes being predominantly female and without official paperwork, laws are established that further criminalize them. Though prostitution is legal in Italy, sex workers can be arrested (by mostly male police officers) if they do not have residency papers, which obviously these women lack since they are forced to work off the books (@ 17:30 minutes). Note also the comments by the nun regarding a male market (@ 22:30 minutes) that keeps the industry flourishing. Part II shifts to Nigeria’s economic deprivation and internal corruption that fuels an exploitable slave class.

Part II (25 minutes):

Returning to one of Bales’s key points, Part II displays how agents in Nigeria are often Nigerians themselves, who trick young Nigerian women into sexual slavery (@ 5:00 minutes). This further demonstrates the decreasing status of race and ethnicity as rigid markers in the slavery system. Mass poverty is also highlighted as a contributor to the human trafficking machine, with one third of the population in this Nigerian state living on less than $1 per day (@ 7:50 minutes). As such, becoming a human trafficker of one’s own people emerges largely out of economic desperation, while globalization and global stratification provide the distant places of hope that seduce poverty stricken Nigerians into deceit. Part II closes by exploring the illegal trafficking of Nigerian babies (@ 18 minutes).

The two videos provide for excellent pieces on discussions surrounding globalization and contemporary slavery.

Friday, August 19, 2011

South Korean K-pop, Perpetuating Patriarchy

In the 1990s, The Spice Girls had an infectious global impact on young people across Europe, North America, and Australia – girls in particular. While some may argue women’s sexuality, fandom, and business prowess mix in ways promote female empowerment, others claim that despite having a central position on stage, these mainstream girl groups reproduce male privilege. In contemporary South Korea, this topic is especially germane.

I recently attended a lecture by Associate Professor Stephen Epstein (2011), Director of the Asian Studies Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, where I learned that all female “girl groups” are having major influences in South Korea and across much of Asia through the phenomenon of K-pop.

The Wonder Girls:

According to Professor Epstein, girl groups’ music and videos in the K-pop genre tend to fall in one of four typologies, which make for useful comparisons with popular female artists in the West.

1. “Desire Expressed but Initiative Given to Males” – In videos falling into this typology, female artists communicate a craving to forge romantic relationships with males, but the artists’ physical movements and lyrics privilege the desired male partners. According to Dr. Epstein, the following video, “Tell Me Your Wish” by Oh!, exemplifies this typology since the female artists ask their male partners how they can fulfill the males’ desires:

Going back a few decades, one cannot help but compare this video’s genie theme to the sit-com, “I Dream of Genie.” It is no coincidence that “I Dream of Genie” emerged in the midst of America’s second women’s movement. With women in the broader society advocating for equal pay, “I Dream of Genie” portrayed a woman considered physically attractive with magical powers confined to a small lamp and controlled by her male proprietor. In South Korea’s contemporary K-pop industry, Oh! present a strikingly similar message.

And while not a “genie in a bottle” or part of a larger group, one can still see similarities in Nicki Minaj’s recent video, “Super Bass.” In her video, Minaj and an entourage of female dancers exude a highly sexualized femininity as they indulge males with whom they hope to forge a romance. Hence, the males are ultimately in control, there to sit back as the women work for their affection:

2. “Power through Narcissistic Sexuality” – The second typology includes videos in which girl groups supposedly garner power by brazenly accentuating their sexuality. Scenarios in these videos repeatedly show the South Korean female artists rejecting male suitors as they soak in compliments and climb the social ladder, their increasing popularity tied solely to their sexual prowess. The irony, of course, is that power garnered through sexuality does not alter the gender order. Rather, it reproduces gender norms with women (and girls) objectified as sex articles. This is seen quite clearly in the somewhat comical video “So Hot” by the Wonder Girls (note how cheerleading and American gridiron football is built into the video's gendered dynamics, a sport hardly popular in South Korea):

Again, this typology is not unique to girl groups in South Korean K-pop. Keri Hilson’s recent hit, “Pretty Girl Rock,” includes a number of lyrics that encourage women to publicly flaunt their sexual supremacy: “…Mad cause I’m cuter than the girl that’s with ya. I can talk about it cause I know that I’m pretty and if ya know it too then ladies sing it with me…. Don’t question that this girl’s a 10. Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful.” As such, men are supposedly relegated inferior to the beautiful woman(en), but in actuality, women are valued strictly for their physical attractiveness. More to the point, Hilson’s video demonstrates this theme manifesting over generations:

3. “Objectified Female Solidarity” – The third typology includes videos where members of the girl groups completely reject males, holding no desire for male attention. With such an overt rejection, a greater female solidarity is definitely present in these videos, and perhaps even a stronger sense of independence. Still, the girl groups’ body language and attire perpetuate the same visual narrative – that women are sexual objects, as seen in Miss A’s “Bad Girl, Good Girl”:

Overlap may exist in these South Korean K-pop videos with those starring Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga has been heralded as a talent who questions authority and speaks to minority issues, but doing so while simultaneously reproducing a visual imagery in line with traditional gender norms.

4. “Revenge Narratives” – The final typology stated by Dr. Epstein was that of the revenge narrative in which the girl group members plan and carry out vengeful acts against promiscuous ex-boyfriends. In doing so, girls bond to presumably reclaim a collective sense of power. However, the over-arching theme of these videos still places women’s and girls’ value in the framework of a heterosexual relationship. See, below, 4minute’s video, “Heart to Heart”:

Though perhaps not a perfect comparison, Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter,” definitely holds similar tenets. Aguilera purports a strengthened individuality after being harmed, presumably by an ex-boyfriend. The song’s lyrics state, “Makes me that much stronger. Makes me work a little bit harder. Makes me that much wiser. Thanks for making me a fighter.” These empowering lyrics on the one hand continue to exist in the context of a woman’s central focus in romantic affairs, thereby cementing the current gender order.

Marketed as a means of increasing girls’ and young women’s power and independence, girl groups in the South Korean K-pop industry follow the same gender lines seen in music videos produced world-wide that emphasize femininity. The music videos may communicate slightly different points, but their messages have the same basic implications.

Girls’ and women’s worth is connected to (1) frequently unhealthy and unattainable beauty standards, and (2) romantic relationships with men. Despite being promoted as empowering for girls and women, the videos do not challenge patriarchy at all. To the contrary, they reinforce a world where gender inequality is embedded in its social systems.

Epstein, S. J. (2011 August 4). Girls’ Generation?: Gender, (Dis)Empowerment and K-pop. School of Asian Studies Seminar Series 2001. Auckland: The University of Auckland.

For more of Dr. Epstein’s work, conducted in tandem with his colleague, James Turnbull, go Turnbull's blog,

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Feminized Firearms: Marketing Violence Through Gender Norms

NPR has a story up that discusses the ways gun stores are now catering to an increasingly female client-base. The images pictured here illustrate the symbolic gendering of color plastered onto these feminized firearms.

The story also has an interesting quote from a female buyer: "'If you listen to the news at night, all you hear are women in parking lots — someone coming up, or threatening them for their purse or threatening their life, or raping [them],' she says."

If in fact the news in this woman's community reports cases of women being assaulted in parking lots incessantly, her community is highly abnormal (or the news is probably over-reporting street crime, while not realizing violence within households between intimate partners is among the most under-reported type of crime).

Not to dismiss the seriousness of being attacked by a stranger, but research shows overwhelmingly that on average (1) women are at far greater risk of being assaulted in their own homes and/or by a friend than on the street; and (2) having a firearm does not enhance one's own protection (Plaxico Burress anyone?).

This just makes me wonder, is a moral panic being created to identify a new female market who will buy more guns?

Pic vis NPR.

Academics Blogs

The Chi-square Formula

Here are two videos that walk you through the chi-square analysis.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The University Is Me

So I've walked into an interesting situation at The University of Auckland. The main concern for me is that if my research time is limited, I will have less official time to work with communities in preventing violence and building social capital. Research can be community-oriented and driven; it should be valued as an opportunity for universities to connect with the broader community in mutually beneficial ways.

I don't want my research time cut, specifically because doing so further separates me and my colleagues from non-academic community mobilizers.

Please do whatever little bit you can to support out rights as academicians with academic freedom. Protecting our worker rights will benefit the entire university, including students, as well as the broader New Zealand and global community.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mahalo Hawai'i - On to Aotearoa

It's been a hell of a run Hawai'i. Hope the research and work here has been helpful, not another modern form of colonialism and snooty academic hodgepodge. Here's the most recent stuff:

On to another part of the Pacific...

[Note 1: not a big fan of the tourist industry, maybe after being in Aotearoa for a while I'll realize I should take the video above down; Note 2: been absent from blogging recently due to the impending move; will be back in form soon.].

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Most Dangerous Places in the World for Women

Using the following six criteria, 213 international gender experts ranked Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia as the most dangerous countries in the world for women:

  • health threats

  • sexual violence

  • non-sexual violence

  • cultural or religious beliefs

  • lack of access to resources

  • trafficking

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mixed Martial Arts Salaries: A Look at Their Disproportionate Growth in the UFC

Article cross-posted at


Since World War II, the face of American big business has changed dramatically. In the 1950s and ‘60s, chief executive officers of successful companies obviously made substantially more than their employees. At that time, CEOs made roughly 25 to 30 times what their average employee made. In the 1980s, big business practices changed. Factories were being moved overseas to capitalize on cheaper labor sources while government under the Reagan Administration infringed less and less on big business practices.

In 1980, the CEO of a major company made about 40 times that of an average employee. By 1990, the ratio rose to 100 times. In 2007, a typical CEO of a major company made 350 times the average company worker. Wal-Mart exemplifies this shifting trend in business relationships vividly. It was the largest U.S. company in 2005, and at that time, Wal-Mart’s CEO made 900 times that of the average Wal-Mart worker (
Pickett & Wilkinson, 2011).

Forty, fifty years ago, CEOs were more compelled to maintain positive relationships with their employees and adhere to tighter governmental oversights. Employees also had stronger collective bargaining rights and better relationships with management. Today, management and owners maintain distance from employees through protective legal mechanisms and worker disposability that together, limit workers’ efforts to unite in fighting for fair pay, health care, retirement, education, and other potential benefits.

So what does all this have to do with mixed martial arts?

In 2001, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta paid $2 million to purchase the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It is common knowledge that the two brothers lost $44 million in their UFC investment from 2001 to 2004. But in April 2008, Forbes magazine reported that the UFC had skyrocketed in value to $1 billion. Assuming these figures are correct, then in seven years the UFC’s value increased nearly 50,000%. No, that is not a typo.

As stated from the 2008 Forbes

The majority of UFC revenues come from the monthly pay-per-view events. Additional cash is made from ticket sales to live fights and licensing fees from its Spike cable shows The Ultimate Fighter and UFC Fight Night. These shows in turn act as promotional tools to drive fans to pay-per-view events. More scratch comes from sales of DVDs and T shirts, as well as downloads from UFC’s library of past bouts.

In 2008, the UFC “generated a over a quarter of a billion dollars in business in gate receipts, UFC merchandise, and licensing fees” (Lim et al., 2010, p. 50).

At present it is difficult to say how much the Fertitta brothers make specifically from the UFC on an annual basis. For what it is worth, “Celebrity Net Worth” currently lists
Lorenzo Fertitta's net value at $1 billion, though this would stem from much more than the UFC. And while the Fertitta brothers each own 45% of the UFC, the remaining 10% is owned by the company’s President and public face, Dana White, who is reportedly worth approximately $150 million.

Again, it is difficult, possibly impossible, to know what the three UFC owners make on an annual basis, or what percentage they each net from the UFC’s various revenue sources. But it is probably safe to say, they are making a substantial amount. Many would argue they deserve it – they had the vision and took the risks to build the UFC. They have persevered and profited under the capitalist system.

And so have some of their workers…

As noted in the
prior piece in this series of essays, Georges St. Pierre made $8,000 in a winning effort at UFC 48; today a GSP win yields the current welterweight champ $400,000 – a 4,900% increase. Back in 2007 when Rashad Evans fought Tito Ortiz to a draw, he made $16,000; more recently after defeating “Rampage” Jackson, Evans was rewarded with $435,000 – a 2,618% increase. Clearly, as a UFC fighter’s star power rises, so can his salary. However, this is not necessarily the optimal way to analyze UFC fighters’ salaries over time.


A more detailed description of the methods for this piece can be found
here. In short, to collect data for this project, the available information was gathered from MMA websites for each fighter's publicly stated earned income from UFC 100 to UFC 127. Only major fight cards were examined for this project, essentially meaning cards that were held on a pay-per-view basis.

For this sample, a total of 15 fight cards were examined, in which 326 payouts (also known as a fighter's "purse") were made to fighters; fighter salaries for 13 UFC fight cards during this timeframe could not be located. These payouts will be referred to as the “Post-UFC Boom Payouts.” Additionally for comparative purposes, 100 payouts were examined from UFC 44, UFC 46, UFC 47, UFC 48, UFC 49, and UFC 51, fight cards that took place from 2003 to 2005, just before the UFC turned the corner and began making major profits. Data for these earlier payouts were gathered from a blog managed by Ivan Trembow (
here, here, and here). These payouts will be referred to as the “Pre-UFC Boom Payouts.”

There are a few important limitations to these methods. First, the public compensation made to fighters within the UFC promotion does not include "backstage/locker room" bonuses that are given to select fighters by management (as noted by commenters in the
first article using this data set). Nor does the data set include possible royalties that elite fighters may secure from pay-per-view buys, DVD sales, etc. (which would expand the stratification among fighters since middle and lower-tier fighters would likely not secure such compensation).

Findings and Discussion

Pre-UFC Boom Payouts (N = 100):
• Mean: $29,180
• Median: $8,000 (best measure)
• Standard deviation: $46,726

Post-UFC Boom Payouts (N = 326):
• Mean: $66,012
• Median: $27,000 (best measure)
• Standard deviation: $92,164

It is worth reiterating that the standard deviation (general dispersion from the mean) in both these cases is extremely large, demonstrating the
massive inequality in payouts among fighters. Furthermore, the standard deviation has expanded substantially over time, nearly doubling from the pre-boom to post-boom years, which is attributed heavily to pay increases among the UFC’s top stars, coupled with very modest increases for prelim fighters.

A comparison of the means is statistically significant at .001, indicating a highly significant boost in fighters’ average pay over the years. However, the best measure when examining average income is the median, and clearly the median pay for UFC fighters has risen substantially, up from $8,000 in the pre-boom years to $27,000 in the post-boom years, a 237% increase.

The pay distribution between the two samples was also made, dividing each sample into rough quartiles:

Pre-UFC Boom:
* Highest paid 25%: $30,000-$225,000 (n=25)
* 2nd highest paid 25%: $10,000-$23,000 (n=19)
* 3rd highest paid 25%: $5,000-$8,000 (n=26)
* Lowest paid 25%: $2,000-$4,000 (n=30)

Post-UFC Boom:
* Highest paid 25%: $83,000-$500,000 (n=82)
* 2nd highest paid 25%: $27,000-$81,000 (n=82)
* 3rd highest paid 25%: $13,000-$26,000 (n=78)
* Lowest paid 25%: $3,000-$12,000 (n=84)

As would be expected, within each quartile fighters make considerably more in the post-UFC boom years. The top earner in the pre-UFC boom sample was Randy Couture, who earned $225,000 ($150,000 to show; $75,000 to win) at UFC 49. Couture’s top earnings at UFC 49 were less than half of what Chuck Liddell and James Toney made ($500,000) in losing efforts at UFC 118 and 115, respectively.

But even in the earlier UFC sample, status was a critical factor that increased fighter pay. Tito Ortiz earned three out of the top ten purses in the “pre-boom” sample, losing twice and both times earning $125,000. Within the lower quartile of the earlier sample, a few fighters were represented who still compete now and have heavily improved their name recognition (e.g., Chris Lytle, Josh Thompson, Jorge Rivera, Nick Diaz). However, most fighters in the lower quartile have not been active in the UFC the past two years.

The decreased activity of many fighters in the lowest quartile of the “pre- boom” sample is significant because it could suggest what will occur among the larger number of lower-tier fighters on the current UFC roster. As the global market of fighters expands, the lower-tier fighters become more expendable. Their work status is
increasingly precarious in an occupation that is already erratic due to the sport’s highly physical nature.

In fact, looking at the lowest quartile of the “pre-boom” era, there were 27 fighters represented (for 30 payouts). Of these 27 fighters, only 8 had competed in the UFC in the last two years (roughly 30%), though a few of these fighters who had not recently competed in the UFC were competing in high profile matches elsewhere (e.g., Nick Diaz). Most fighters in the lower quartile remained active; 21 out of 27 had fought in either the UFC or another organization within the last 2 years, while 9 had not competed at all since April 2009.

This may not be terribly surprising – these are typically the UFC prelim fighters getting a first or second opportunity on a UFC pay-per-view card, or the aging veterans lucky enough to be given an extra chance. As time goes by, the less talented pool fades out. Under the fight game’s structure, they are replaced by younger, more talented prospects. And the callous, business-oriented perspective argues high monetary compensation is not these lower-tier fighters’ reward. Rather, they were given the opportunity, and they washed out of the sport's top organization.

For all the rhetoric among some fans and pundits who suggest fighters should be grateful for simply having an opportunity with the UFC, critics must also consider an average pro-MMA fighter’s “fighting life.” If fighting and training others is a full time job, this leaves minimal time for developing additional occupational skills, despite the fact that virtually all fighters will have a significant amount of years to live after their professional fight skills have diminished.

Although fighter purses have risen substantially, their growth is hardly commensurate with the UFC’s increased value during the same general timeframe. As one BloodyElbow commenter stated in response to lower-tier fighters’ precarious position in the UFC:

Another thing is that over time, although fighter pay has steadily increased, the amount of money the UFC makes has risen enormously. The fighter’s piece of the pie has become much smaller, and therein lies the issue. If you kept the percentage of revenue allocated towards fighter’s pay the same as it was a few years ago, then the stars would be making true star money, and the lower level guys would be making more than 3 grand a fight. That’s where the REAL money is, not in the “_ of the Night” bonuses.

Thus, when Randy Couture discusses a fighters’ union, health insurance, retirement plans, and education, people should listen and do so seriously. For health insurance, fighters are covered for injuries that happen in the Octagon on fight night only. Is it completely implausible to make health insurance available once a fight contract is signed, at which time the fighter is training specifically for a UFC fight card? Additionally, more substantial increases for fighters’ purses – at all levels, but especially the lower levels – are warranted. The UFC has grown immensely, and for that, many people are grateful, including many fans. Why not raise the fighters’ compensation at a more proportionate rate? Ultimately, they are the reason fans keep coming to watch.

Non-internet References:

Lim, C. H., Martin, T. G., & Kwak, D. H. (2010). Examining television consumers of mixed martial arts: the relationship among risk taking, emotion, attitude, and actual sport-media-consumption behavior. International Journal of Sport Communication, 3, 49-63.

Pickett, K., & Wilkinson, R. (2011). Preface to The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality makes Societies Stronger by Robert Reich. New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Academics Blogs
academics blogs

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Mixed Martial Arts Precariat: A Critique of Excitement Incentive Bonuses


This is the third entry in a series examining fighter salaries from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Strikeforce prior to Zuffa’s takeover of the latter promotion. More specifically, this series has illustrated how social stratification – inequality based on wealth, power, and prestige – is rampant among MMA fighters, both men and women. The present article will focus solely on the UFC, looking specifically at how fighter bonuses extend the precarious nature of the athletes’ livelihood.


A more detailed description of the methods for this piece can be found here. In short, to collect data for this project, the available information was gathered from MMA websites for each fighter's publicly stated earned income from UFC 100 to UFC 127. Only major fight cards were examined for this project, essentially meaning cards that were held on a pay-per-view basis.

For this sample, a total of 15 fight cards were examined, in which 326 payouts (also known as a fighter's "purse") were made to fighters; fighter salaries for 13 UFC fight cards during this timeframe could not be located.

There are a few important limitations to these methods. First, the public compensation made to fighters within the UFC promotion does not include "backstage/locker room" bonuses that are given to select fighters by management (as noted by commenters in the first article using this data set). Nor does the data set include possible royalties that elite fighters may secure from pay-per-view buys, DVD sales, etc. (which would expand the stratification among fighters since middle and lower-tier fighters would likely not secure such compensation).


Fighter "excitement incentive bonuses" refer to the "X of the Night" bonuses fighters receive on each UFC fight card. These bonuses are typically awarded to four competitors: for "Fight of the Night" (given to both the winning and losing fighter in the card’s most exciting match), "Submission of the Night" (given to a fighter who wins via the most impressive submission on the card), and "Knockout of the Night" (given to a fighter who wins via the most spectacular knockout on the card).

All of these excitement incentive bonuses come in the form of supplementary income to the fighter’s guaranteed purse (i.e., "show" money), his possible win bonus, and on rare occasion are given to more than one fighter (e.g., sometimes two fighters may be given monetary awards for "Knockout of the Night"). A fighter may also "double up" on these awards; for instance at UFC 106, Josh Koscheck earned a guaranteed $53,000 to show, $53,000 to win, $70,000 for "Submission of the Night," and $70,000 for "Fight of the Night," thereby securing a total purse of $246,000. Among the sample examined in this study, these excitement incentive bonuses ranged in monetary value from $50,000 (given to awardees at UFC 108) to $100,000 (given to awardees at UFC 100).

Again, a total of 326 UFC payouts were examined. Of these 326 payouts, 57 (17.5%) included excitement incentive bonuses, and 269 (82.5%) had none of these bonus types. Contrasts were first made examining the 57 cases, comparing the fighters’ purses including these excitement incentive bonuses versus their purses had they hypothetically not received these bonuses.

Fighter Purses with Excitement Incentive Bonuses (N = 57)

  • Mean: $147,477

  • Median: $112,000

  • Standard deviation: $92,570

Fighter Purses with Excitement Incentive Bonuses Subtracted (N = 57)

  • Mean: $74,175

  • Median: $36,000

  • Standard deviation: $89,028

One can see rather clearly the abundant impact these excitement incentive bonuses have on fighters’ purses, nearly doubling the mean, and increasing the median (the best measure here) more than three times. Obviously for these fighters, the supplementary income is a significant reward. However, these data only present part of the information.

It is also important to compare the 57 fighters’ purses with the excitement incentive bonuses subtracted versus the 269 fighter purses in which none of these bonuses were given, presented, below:

Fighter Purses with Excitement Incentive Bonuses Subtracted (N = 57)

  • Mean: $74,175

  • Median: $36,000

  • Standard deviation: $89,028

Fighter Purses, Never Received Excitement Incentive Bonuses (N = 269)

  • Mean: $48,750

  • Median: $20,000

  • Standard deviation: $82,460

The key comparison here is that the median for fighters who received the excitement incentive bonuses stands at $36,000. Recall, that is the median value before their excitement incentive bonuses were included in analyses. In contrast, the median for those who never received the bonuses is only $20,000.

This discrepancy reflects two things. First and foremost, those who receive these bonuses are more often winners of matches (a relatively obvious point), who are therefore not only receiving these bonuses, but also in most cases a win bonus (unless they were losers who received a "Fight of the Night" bonus). Additionally, the discrepancy shows that a disproportionate number of fighters receiving these excitement incentive bonuses already have high status and can leverage better contracts should they not secure a supplemental bonus.

In short, the excitement incentive bonuses extend the inequality among fighters. It is far more common to see fighters with high profile names, still in top-tier competitive form who already make substantial incomes earning the excitement incentive bonuses (e.g., Dan Henderson, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Chris Leben, Rich Franklin). Conversely, aging fighters and those who are greener, who typically make less money, are less likely to receive these bonuses (e.g., Frank Trigg, David Loiseau, Goran Reljic, Todd Brown).

Of course since only 17% of the payouts in this sample included these particular bonus types, numerous fighters who compete in main events or co-main events do not receive them. However, these fighters are already making healthy incomes (e.g., Vitor Belfort earned $275,000 in a losing effort with no bonuses at UFC 126).

Fighter Bonuses and the Precariat

Given these trends, it is important to consider the necessity of these excitement incentive bonuses, as well as how these particular bonuses increase fighters’ risks. Bear in mind, incentive bonuses already exist – win bonuses. Many argue that without further bonuses that encourage athletes to finish fights in exciting fashion via either submission or knockout, too many fighters will compete simply to win, opting for the safer routes to victory that lack entertainment value.

Such a perspective leans towards treating MMA as spectacle over sport. Many have argued sports in general continuously move in this direction, away from traditional sporting notions (e.g., winning yields the greatest rewards) towards a form of entertainment for fan pleasure. Hence, NFL owners push for a longer regular season that benefits them and the fans, not the athletes.

Furthermore, these particular incentive bonuses disproportionately encourage the lower-tier and poorer fighters to utilize risky fighting styles that resonate with fans who call for increased violence over winning. As early as 2007, Greg Downey stated:

"Promoters encourage fighters to use striking strategies because they are perceived to be more popular with fans. A public relations executive at Zuffa explained to me that, if a fighter put on a ‘good show’ – he was aggressive and exciting to watch – he would be invited back even if he lost" (p. 216).

While bonuses are given for "Submission of the Night," the general tenet expressed by Downey holds true across today’s MMA landscape. Chris Lytle and Leonard Garcia truly exemplify this perspective, both holding long tenures under the Zuffa banner arguably because of their risky approaches to competition. Jon Fitch and Antonio McKee, on the other hand, not only win extensively over very long periods, but win in ways that safeguard their physical and mental health. Thus despite winning extensively over the years, the latter two fighters have not been rewarded in ways that are commensurate with their records.

Up and coming less known fighters and aging out veterans are both groups of fighters looking to build or re-build their names. And they are more commonly in need of hefty monetary bonuses. These are the groups of fighters Guy Standing would refer to as part of the MMA "precariat."

They are part of the vulnerable, expendable working class, or "proletariat," but in this case, their income and work status is constantly precarious. Should they get a contract with the UFC and make it to the scheduled competition, they secure their "show" money, which is typically quite low. Their win bonus is not guaranteed, and would probably double their purse. But gaining an excitement incentive bonus may literally increase their purse six times and improve their chances of future employment. Hence, their financial vulnerability in a precarious market calls for increased risks – risks to winning and to their health.

The more one company commands control of a global industry, the less power workers have to advocate for their rights. Lower-tier fighters’ precarious employment is further threatened by the UFC’s dominance in the global market, where mixed martial artists from different parts of Asia, South America, North America, Europe, and the Pacific vie for a chance to compete and make the highlight reel on the grandest MMA stage.

A hallmark fighter like the current Georges St. Pierre (GSP) can afford financially to not take risks, and may even view risks in competition as jeopardizing his current income and sporting legacy. It is fiscally prudent for a "name" fighter like St. Pierre to fight safe. The complete opposite is true for mixed martial artists who fall in the lowest tiers of a stratified MMA global market.

This means fighters like the current GSP, Randy Couture, and "Rampage" Jackson must remember where they came from, as well as their peers from the 1990s and early 2000s who never made it the elite levels and reaped lucrative financial rewards. Today, GSP makes $400,000 (half to show; half to win) on a typical fight card. In a winning effort at UFC 48 he made $8,000. Will these fighters who currently have power ever make lasting efforts to advocate for their fellow and future workers?

Much more importantly, will administration and ownership consider how incentive bonuses jeopardize their employees? It is hardly outlandish to argue lower-tier fighters are rendered disposable and replaceable across the global market. These particular fighters know they have very limited life chances to impress the brass, and the brass knows the fighters are aware of their own uncertain circumstances.

Rewarding lower-tier fighters would not take much organizational change. On a typical UFC pay-per-view fight card, there are 11 matches with 22 fighters. If excitement incentive bonuses are set at $75,000 a piece, that is $300,000 usually distributed to four fighters. If these excitement incentive bonuses were decreased to $20,000 a piece (still a significant amount of money for lower- and mid-tier fighters), that would leave $220,000 to distribute across the fight night roster. If distributed evenly to just ten of the lowest paid fighters, each would receive an extra $22,000 in guaranteed income.

When I interviewed Guy Mezger years ago, he told me, "…to be honest man, most of the guys, a lot of the guys, they think there’s a huge amount of money in this sport, and there is, for a very small amount of people." Mezger was and still is right – the wealth is there, but not for everyone. If they truly care about all their employees, White, Fertitta and company can and should do a better job of spreading it around.

Up next: how the UFC as a company has skyrocketed in value while fighter salaries lag behind in proportionate growth.

Non-internet Source:

Downey, G. (2007). Producing pain: techniques and technologies in no-holds-barred fighting. Social Studies of Science, 37 (2), 201-226.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Comparing Means Within a Sample

Watch these two videos in order to see how we can compare means from two segments within a sample. We will see how to test for statistical significance.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mixed Martial Arts and Masculinity: Tito Ortiz: "GSP Is Going To Make Shields Look Like A Girl" has a story up in which the headline quotes former UFC Light Heavyweight Champ, Tito Ortiz (pictured above): "GSP Is Going To Make Shields Look Like A Girl."

As those who follow mixed martial arts (MMA) know, GSP (or UFC Welterweight Champ, Georges St. Pierre) is heavily favored to beat challenger, Jake Shields (April 30 fight date). Ortiz's prediction that GSP will win isn't saying much. It's how he makes his prediction that resonates with MMA fans that matters.

By saying GSP will make Shields look like a girl, he is associating a loss with femininity. This kind of hyper-masculine language takes place extremely frequently in the male-dominated realm of MMA. If one fighter wants to put down another, he emasculates him (that is, among male fighters). It is not enough to call an opponent an androgynous derogatory term (e.g., a jerk).

Instead, so many fighters feel compelled to associate their oppoents with femininity through sexist and/or homophobic language.

And so the cycle continues: fighters and the Pavlovian fans who follow them uncritically perpetuate and normalize a culture that demeans women and girls. And the promoters/owners either encourage such cultural norms or look the other way (heck, sometimes they blatantly participate). They know what sells; increased income is more important than rectifying social inequality through sport.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Where Young Men and Boys Learn Homophobia: Wrestlemania Hype

A little over a week ago on NPR's "Fresh Air," Terry Gross hosted Dan Savage and his husband (in Canada)/boyfriend (in the U.S.) to discuss the "It Gets Better" movement, in which gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender adults and heterosexual allies may post videos for young people of stigmatized sexualities who are struggling with bullying.

Click here to listen to the podcast:

Even President Obama made a video for the project:

It is a fantastic interview, covering everything from homophobia to family dynamics, and coping with being a minoriy on multiple levels (i.e., sexuality, gender, race, class).

At about 19:00 into the interview, Gross asks a question that she says "might be incredibly naieve": "Why do you think so many teenagers are still so homophobic considering how many people are out now, how many celebrities are out now. People in popular culture are out now. I mean, it's just so much more commonplace than it was when you were growing up."

Savage offers an illuminating response, discussing how in some ways celebrities' openness regarding their sexuality has made it worse for LGBT teens, as it is more difficult for them to "fly under the radar" in the case that it is unsafe to come out. However, the conversation went on a tangent, and Gross's question was not actually addressed.

So where is homophobia still cultivated in our society? Hegemonic masculinity is about males stepping on women and other males in order to move up the system's social order. Stepping on others in a hegemonic masculine system means putting down all that is considered feminine, which currently includes males who do not fit into the rigid heterosexual standard.

So where do boys grow up learning to be homophobic?
Well, tomorrow is the World Wrestling Entertainment's annual hallmark show, "Wrestlemania." Here's part of what was used to build the hype - classic hegemonic masculinity. In other words, here we have blatant discrimination used to hype an extremely popular cultural product with a very male-heavy audience. The use of humor, role modeling, and the extensive power the WWE has in the entertainment business normalizes these discriminatory values. As a society, we are less apt to think more carefully (or even at all) about homophobia and question its existence. Of course Jackson Katz has done tons of excellent work critquing WWE's sexist and homophobic history.

For a more contemporary example, just listen to the crowd cheer wildly after each homophobic joke made by the WWE's current star, John Cena. Male socialization at its finest (sarcasm):

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Standard Error and Confidence Intervals

Here are three videos that should help you understand how to calculate:

  • The standard error for a sample proportion.

  • The standard error for a sample mean.

  • A 95% confidence interval for both a sample proportion and a sample mean.

  • A 99% confidence interval for both a sample proportion and a sample mean.

  • Go ahead and watch all 3 videos in order (each video is approximately 5 minutes):

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    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Gender Stratification in Mixed Martial Arts: What is the Future?


    On August 15, 2009 Cristiane Santos and Gina Carano competed in a mixed martial arts match that had as much crowd anticipation and energy as virtually any men's match (see video, below).

    While critics may suggest certain aspects of the match were sloppy or that the match did not yield pay-per-view buys on par with top UFC fight cards, one should also recall that generally speaking the women's MMA game has not been in play for nearly as long as the men's, and more importantly, as in most other sports, female athletes are not supported in the MMA industry as much as male athletes.

    Since Zuffa (the UFC's parent company) announced earlier this month that it had subsumed the Strikeforce promotion, a number of analysts have discussed the precarious position in which fighters now see themselves (see for example, here). Narrowing the focus, a few pieces have noted the especially uncertain position of female fighters currently under the Strikeforce brand. Fowlkes' piece at offers particularly useful perspectives from three of Strikeforce's female fighters -- Sarah Kaufman, Marloes Coenen, and Miesha Tate:

    "I think one of two things can happen," said former Strikeforce champ Sarah Kaufman. "The first is that they embrace the females and still try to push them using the Strikeforce venue and then maybe pulling them over [into the UFC]. That would be great, if that were to happen. The second option would be, they run the contracts out and then that's it. I'm definitely hoping for the former, but I'm preparing for the latter."

    "I believe that with the knowledge of the UFC, Strikeforce will grow even larger," said Coenen. "If Dana and the others see that women can bring him money, it will be good for us. What we need are the role models like Gina Carano and Miesha and hopefully me, as well, that women can relate to. ...I truly believe that if they can get the women's audience, and if they can identify with a girl next door like me or Miesha, then the female fanbase, which is way more loyal than the men are, will only grow from there. That's the way I think Dana and Zuffa should look at it."

    "I know Dana White isn't a huge women's fighting advocate at all, and I know he's saying he'll honor the contracts, so immediately I don't think anything is going to change," said Tate. "But I'm a little concerned about when renegotiations come around for the women. I don't know how he's going to weigh our value and how we're going to get paid. I'm also more concerned about the big picture when the Showtime contract ends for Strikeforce. That's when I think there's going to be some big changes."

    Tate's point regarding how female fighters are valued in the MMA indsutry can be further analyzed by examining female fighters' recent compensation in major MMA fight cards relative to their male counterparts.


    A more detailed description of the methods for this piece can be found here. In short, to collect data for this project, the available information was gathered from MMA websites for each fighter's publicly stated earned income from UFC 100 to UFC 127, as well as a sample of Strikeforce fighters' salaries who competed within the timeframe. Only major fight cards were examined for this project, essentially meaning cards that were held on a pay-per-view basis. As noted previously, following UFC 127, Zuffa L.L.C. purchased the Strikeforce promotion, thereby putting the UFC and Strikeforce under the same ownership banner.

    For the UFC promotion, a sample of 15 fight cards were examined, in which 326 payouts (also known as a fighter's "purse") were made to fighters; fighter salaries for 13 UFC fight cards during this timeframe could not be located. For the Strikeforce promotion, a sample of 8 fight cards were examined, with 156 payouts. For Strikeforce, two payouts were discarded from the analysis (one in which the majority of the payout was reportedly given to charity and second of which was paid in advance of the competition), rendering this portion of the sample to 154 (Total N = 480).

    Analyses for this article will compare 18 cases specific to female fighters, all in the Strikeforce promotion, in comparison to their male counterparts in Strikeforce (N = 136) and in comparison to the combined cases of males from the Strikeforce and UFC promotions (N = 462). There are a few important limitations to these methods. First, the public compensation made to fighters within the UFC promotion (as noted by commenters in the first article using this data set noted) does not include "backstage/locker room" bonuses that are given to select fighters by management. Nor does the data set include possible royalties that elite fighters may secure from pay-per-view buys, DVD sales, etc. (which would expand the stratification among fighters since lower-tier fighters would likely not secure such compensation). Finally, reflecting gender stratification, the sample size for female fighters is very small.


    As noted previously, among male athletes in the total sample (UFC and Strikeforce fighters) payouts ranged from $940 to $500,000. For female athletes (only Strikeforce fighters), payouts ranged from $1,000 to $125,000. Among the male sample, however, there were 34 cases in which males made at least $200,000 for one competition (30 cases specific to the UFC and 4 specific to Strikeforce). When only examining the male cases specific to the Strikeforce promotion, payouts ranged from $400,000 at the top (paid to Fedor Emelianenko in his loss to Fabricio Werdum) to $940. The following figures display the measures of central tendency and variance for the total sample of males (UFC and Strikeforce males combined), Strikeforce males, and Strikeforce females.

    All males (N = 462)

    • Mean: $54,109

    • Median: $20,000

    • Standard deviation: $85,443

    Strikeforce males (N = 136)

    • Mean: $25,576

    • Median: $4,500

    • Standard deviation: $57,608

    All/Strikeforce females (N = 18)

    • Mean: $16,608

    • Median: $4,500

    • Standard deviation: $29,379

    The mean in all analyses is skewed heavily by outliers where fighters secured especially large purses relative to their co-workers. The median is a better measure of central tendency, and it is clear that the addition of UFC males to Strikeforce males alters the male sample, with the median standing substantially higher at $20,000. When comparing Strikeforce females with their male counterparts, the median is exactly the same, illustrating a degree of parity in compensation between the men and women.

    However, it is also important to examine the standard deviation, which indicates the average dispersion from the mean. For Strikeforce males, the standard deviation is $57,608; for females it is much less, at $29,379. This means even though the standard deviation is quite large for the female sample, on average, female fighters tend to make more similar purses than men in the Strikeforce promotion.

    Because the female sample is so small, it is useful to present all 18 cases:

    • Gina Carano: $125,000

    • Cris Santos: $35,000

    • Cris Santos: $35,000

    • Cris Santos: $25,000

    • Sarah Kaufman: $20,000

    • Cris Santos: $18,000

    • Marloes Coenen: $10,000

    • Jan Finney: $6,000

    • Liz Carmouche: $5,000

    • Elaina Maxwell: $4,000

    • Marloes Coenen: $3,000

    • Jenna Castillo: $3,000

    • Germaine De Randamie: $3,000

    • Marloes Coenen: $2,000

    • Miesha Tate: $1,500

    • Hitomi Akano: $1,450

    • Charlene Gellner: $1,000

    • Stephanie Webber: $1,000

    Clearly this sample (both the mean and standard deviation) is skewed by Carano's purse of $125,000, which she earned in losing to Cris Santos. In fact, Carano's purse is more than 3.5 times higher than the next highest purse of $35,000 given to Cris Santos twice, and notably in both of those cases, Santos earned $15,000 to show, $15,000 to win, and a $5,000 championship bonus, so her income level was not guaranteed. If Carano's purse is omitted from the sample the mean drops to $10,232 and the standard deviation drops to $11,815 (the median only drops to $4,000).

    Keeping Carano's salary of $125,000 in the female sample, a comparison of means was made between male and female Strikeforce fighters, and the differences were not statistically significant. Furthermore, even when omitting Carano's salary, a comparison of means between Strikeforce male and female fighters did not yield statistically significant results.

    Thus, at least within the Strikeforce promotion, the data show that women were not paid less than men to a level that reached statistical significance prior to the promotion being subsumed by Zuffa. Still, a simple glance at the salaries illustrates the extensive range in salaries (high stratification) among female fighters, and the same is true for males.


    Carano's status as both an accomplished fighter and a sex symbol in the MMA game and broader popular culture at the time, clearly leveraged her more power to garner the disproportionate purse. One might argue that Carano made a "patriarchal bargain" to secure her lucrative contract. As Wade notes, "A patriarchal bargain is a decision to accept gender rules that disadvantage women in exchange for whatever power one can wrest from the system. It is an individual strategy designed to manipulate the system to one’s best advantage, but one that leaves the system itself intact."

    Without question, Carano's emphasized femininity outside of sport increased her value within a sport that is particularly male-heavy (from ownership, through management, referees, athletes, and fans). This does not detract from Carano's general success as a competitor who was undefeated prior to squaring off with Santos. However, if sporting value is contingent predominantly (or at least largely) upon athletic success, one might rightfully ask why Santos continues to make so much less in comparison since defeating Carano. Additionally, Carano's participation in MMA (significant as it is) has not altered the sport's gender order.

    Additionally, the data supports a question asked previously – how will Zuffa value female fighters in the future, in particular after female fighters' contracts expire. At least from a statistical standpoint, Srikeforce compensated the female fighters on their cards as a whole on par with their male fighters. This does not necessarily mean every individual fighter (male or female) was compensated fairly (fair pay encompasses a number of subjective factors). However, looking at the Strikeforce female and male groups, there was a degree of parity in compensation.

    Will female fighters under Zuffa continue to be compensated with a degree of parity in the near future while contracts are still being honored? If not, why not? And in the long-term future, the bigger question is what will happen to women's MMA in general? Within the United States will women's MMA be limited to Bellator and regional promotions? Or will we see some of the more exciting competitions that women's MMA has provided for MMA fans in Strikeforce and the UFC? I'm hoping for the latter. And if the latter does come to fruition, that female fighters aren't making "$0.70 for every males' dollar."

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