Dana White handed over the gift to one of YouTubers the Nelk Boys

UFC president Dana White has been criticized for appearing to give a $250,000 cash gift to one of the Nelk Boys, sparking a debate over fighter pay and the need for stars in the elite MMA championship to unionize. 

A clip of White handing over the stacks of money to YouTuber Kyle Forgeard has gone viral, being seen over 3 million times. 

“Uncle Dana White just gave me $250,000 for my birthday,” Forgeard wrote on Twitter.

Naturally, however, the post provoked plenty of social media reaction with not just fans but also UFC brawlers past and present chiming in to give their thoughts.

“When we starting the union bois?” asked Louis Smolka, who was cut by White in 2018 after losing four out of six of his bouts.

“Retweet if you think Uncle Dana should give all of the UFC’s top 15 ranked fighters $250,000 for their next birthday,” demanded Dan Hardy, who likewise once featured on White’s roster and had a run as a commentator until White reportedly fired in March 2021. 

When we starting the union bois https://t.co/gqZkYAPOCe

— Louis Smolka (@LouisSmolkaMMA) July 12, 2022

“He’s giving away the money he stole from fighters,” quipped former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch, who lost a unanimous decision in a Fight of the Night tear-up against all-time great Georges St-Pierre in 2008.

Of active fighters, however, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling’s remarks were perhaps the most eyebrow-raising.

His “Dope! My birthday is July 31st! Can’t wait to see what Dana gets me!” might seem pretty tame compared to some of the other outbursts, but it comes amid a row with White over improved pay ahead of a potential showdown with the legendary TJ Dillashaw. 

In a video statement, Sterling previously explained why he hadn’t yet signed a contract for the bout.

The Jamaican-American revealed he was training but hoping “that we come to some type of agreement to give some type of pay bump – which naturally happens in all the contracts”.

“For me, I want to make sure we get the deal right before we just jump into another fight,” Sterling specified.

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“Because at the end of the day, I climbed through the ranks, I worked my ass off, and I played my position in terms of helping to promote the fights, which a lot of these guys don’t even do.

“I’m here to be a company man, and at the same time, I want to look out for my best interests.

“There’s a fine line where there’s a balance where getting both of those done can happen, and hopefully we can sit down, figure this out, and I guess figure out where the location’s going to be,” he added.

YouTuber-turned boxer Jake Paul, a regular thorn in White’s side over fighter pay, is also yet to comment on the footage.

Considering the boxing novice recently released a Dana White diss track where the theme of pay was central to his insults launched at the head of the elite MMA championship, however, fresh criticism might not be too far away. 

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