Ronda Rousey continues to make waves over in Australia, leading up to her massive 90,000-person stadium fight on Nov. 14 in Melbourne. During the last press conference, a reporter asked Ronda what she thought of the “pay dispute going on with the women’s soccer team at the moment,” and what she thought of the discrepancy in pay between men and women in sports.
It was a bit of a loaded question for Australians, as you can tell from the crowd booing even as the reporter asks the question. Australia’s national women’s soccer team has been making headlines since the start of the year complaining about poor pay and working conditions, especially in comparison to how the men’s team is treated. Ronda sidestepped the specific soccer team issue (probably because she had no idea it was even a thing), but threw down a pretty pragmatic response to women’s pay in sports:
“I think that how much you get paid should have something to do with how much you bring in. I’m the highest paid fighter not because Dana and Lorenzo wanted to do something nice for the ladies. They do it because I bring in the highest numbers. Because I make them the most money. So I think the money that they make should be proportionate to the money they bring in.”
That seems pretty straightforward: If you pay someone more than they’re making you, you’re gonna go out of business fast. And on the other side of the coin, if you feel you can make more money working for someone else, you should totally do that. That’s the balance between workers and employers that has existed for a long time now.
Of course, there’s all sorts of instances where employers try to weasel out of that system — and responses to that, like what the Australian women’s team is doing: a strike. They currently make $21K a year with small bonuses for international games. To put that into Australian context, a full time minimum-wage worker in their country makes $34K a year. I know … let’s all move to Australia!
As for women making what they bring in, let’s also remember that the FIFA Women’s World Cup just went down this year, bringing in a lot of money for the sport. Not as much as the men’s, obviously, but still a lot and enough to pay the women’s footballers a reasonable wage.
Ronda Rousey has talked about higher pay for athletes before. Earlier in the year, she commented on the sad situation with fighter pay in the UFC, stating…
“I think that they should get paid more than the ring girls. And I don’t know if the ring girls get paid too much or the fighters don’t get paid enough. But yeah. There’s definitely a lot more in what the fighters do than what they do. So, I think that’s one thing that’s unfair.”
UFC fighters — men and women both — make as little as $10,000 per fight with twi fights a year. The new Reebok uniform deal cuts into their pay as well by preventing the fighter from displaying any sponsors in the cage and during fight week. It’s quite possible that many UFC fighters make less than the Australian women’s soccer team.
They’re probably getting paid “proportionate to the money they bring in” too. But they also taking the same kind of bodily harm and brain damage as the fighters in the main event getting paid six figure sums. And without them, there would be no undercard to help pull in the multi-million-dollar gates the UFC enjoys for their live shows.
So it seems like there’s room for improvement in a lot of sports, not just with women’s soccer.
(Via Submission Radio)