Vitor Belfort is feeling the plight of the middle class. He recently stated that, with the UFC's new deal with Reebok, he has "lost millions" and the deal is akin to "slavery."
In order to make up some of his financial loss, the former UFC champion has imagined an online campaign where fight fans can "donate" money to help pay for his training camps. Which makes sense, after all for losing his fight at UFC 187 he was paid a slave wage of $300,000. When he squared off against Dan Henderson in his last fight, Belfort was paid $300,000 for just showing up, $200,000 for wining, $10,000 from Reebok and $50,000 for the "Performance of the Night" bonus.
Clearly he's hurting.
"If Donald Trump, a guy who has $10 billion, needs to raise money for his campaign, I'll show how much I spend on a training camp," Belfort stated. "I'll put that up on the internet and I'll give people the chance to contribute. Families, children, whoever wants to help."
As we all know, families and children have the most disposable income.
"Any Vitor Belfort fan will be able to help, like soccer fans do with their teams," Belfort continued. "It's a way of saying ‘I was part of this'. I believe in investing a lot. That's very important. I think it's fair."
It seems as if Belfort may be confused on the definition of "fair" and "investment." Most of the time, when someone "invests" in a thing, they get something in return. It's unclear, other than "being a part of something," what the return will be in the beginning. If Belfort's campaign comes to fruition, he plans on making it possibly beneficial to his investors, nay, "supporters."
"You could have dinners, meet ups, etc. The fan, like an owner of the club, has access to a ticket," Belfort explained. "I have to buy tickets for my friends when they want to see me. Many people say ‘Vitor only gave me a ticket,' but I paid a fortune for that ticket. I wish I could give discounts or let people in for free. But only to put on a show for people who contributed. These are your fans, you must do your best for these people. There are plenty of ways to give back to them."
Besides possible meet-ups and saving him money on buying you a ticket, Belfort feels that honesty is the way to gaining the support of his fans.
"When you go to church, you must contribute. I think the most honest thing a man can do is show the numbers. The most important thing is to be honest," rationalized Belfort. "If you're straightforward, people will want to contribute."
At the end of the day, Belfort uses social media as a barometer to the draw to his campaign, saying "I have one million and 400 thousand Twitter followers. If everyone one of them paid one dollar, how much would I have? It costs nothing. Who doesn't have a dollar to give?"
Clearly, Belfort is unaware of the current financial status of most people.
If this type of campaign is successful, Belfort sees turning it into something that could benefit more than just him.
"You could make a business out of this and help more athletes," he said. "If you give money to a guy who knows how to do it, it will work. I think I have the right mind to make it happen."
Besides a lot of the obvious issues with Belfort's plan, there's other reasons as to why this wouldn't work that Belfort may have not considered. First, people contribute to a presidential candidate because, if elected, the lives of said contributors will greatly be affected. No one's life will change depending on if Belfort win or loses in the cage.
Second, celebrities have turned to crowd funding before to very negative reactions from the general public. Celebrities such as Zach Braff, Spike Lee, Don Cheadle and others, have all received criticism for asking the public to help support their projects. Although, in fairness, those projects have all gone on to being considered successes, regardless of taking heat from critics. It should also be noted that those crowdfunding plans all have had extremely lucrative incentive plans lined up BEFORE being announced.
It's unknown if Belfort is just hypothesizing at this point. Maybe his idea will never come to fruition, but if it does, he better make it worth the while of anyone who sends him money, even if it's "just a dollar."