UFC’s Grant Waterman: Celebrities are disrespecting combat sports

Waterman relaxed at his Portsmouth home. Photo: Ethan Millar

Former UFC referee and ring announcer, Grant Waterman, has branded celebrities “disrespectful” after the recent trend of their participation in boxing and MMA.

The 53-year-old believes it is “diluting and detrimental” to the sports’ amateur fighters who’s end goal is to compete in world title fights.

“Fighters have trained for years and years, have come up through the amateur ranks, turned pro, and worked their way up the ladder to fight for a world title.”

“And then you get two celebrities out of some reality show and they’re headlining the main event on a pay-per-view and getting paid more than seasoned fighters.”

The comments come off the back of last month’s boxing match between YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul, who debuted in the professional game.

KSI and Logan Paul face off, photo: Wikimedia Commons

Established fighters such as Billy Joe Saunders were left to fight on the undercard.

However, Waterman is under no illusion that money talks when it comes to the fight game:

“Recently promotors have figured out that via social media, we can get someone who is a superstar in another area and put them against another star and that fight is going to generate a lot of interest.”

“it’s the entertainment industry, its bums on seats, paying to watch something that entertains them.”

“the gate for a show in Las Vegas is close to two million dollars, but the pay-per-views can rake in a revenue of anywhere up to 500 million dollars.”

The Portsmouth-based referee has been involved in over 5000 professional fights in international combat sports that include boxing, kick-boxing and muay thai.