Masters Fitness Collective Responds to Athlete Comments About Low Payouts

November 30, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Masters Fitness Collective
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The premier annual event for masters athletes,the Masters Fitness Collective (MFC), took place October 21-23, where approximately 500 athletes across 16 divisions threw down in Fort Wayne, IN. Shortly following the competition, Morning Chalk Up started receiving messages from athletes in regards to payouts received. 

  • In the elite divisions, first place received $300, second place got $200, and third place, $100
  • For the teams, first place in the elite divisions was awarded $500
  • For RX divisions, they received a prize pack with a variety of items, including something from each of the 30-plus on-site vendors 

One elite athlete who finished on the podium, and wishes to remain anonymous, told Morning Chalk Up they do not plan on returning to the event, “mostly due to feeling misled payment-wise, as well as the competition, flights, (and) hotel being way too expensive for what it was.”

  • “Having to fill out a 1099 on top of it was just insulting as well. The cost of competing was more than the payout, never mind travel expenses and such.”
  • They added: “One of the workouts got cut in half on the final day because of how poorly coordinated the timing of workouts were each day.”

The annual competition has grown exponentially after its third consecutive run, more than tripling in size since 2020. However, this is the first year the event was not profitable. Equipment limitations, issues with shipments for athlete apparel, relatively empty stands and volunteer accommodations are a few of the reasons the organizers cited for losing money. To our knowledge, MFC is the only competition that fronts the cost of hotel rooms for volunteers. 

Morning Chalk Up caught up with the event organizers, Eamon Coyne, Bobby Petra and Jess Ortiz for comment, who largely described the challenges from the 2022 event as “growing pains.”

  • “Our biggest disappointment or takeaway is we didn’t give the athletes the experience as much as we wanted to,” Petras said.
  • In reference to the schedule running behind, Petras noted that “the event ran fairly smoothly. We had enough judges, (but) the problem is we didn’t have enough extra judges to give them breaks.”

The organization that’s long championed masters athletes promises to increase transparency, set clear expectations and improve their processes in competitions to follow. Ortiz noted that “the strategies are in place, and we’re planning for next year to ensure that the things we experienced don’t happen in the future.”

  • “The masters community has always been a side show,” she added. “The reality is this came to life when the Games had individuals only and disregarded the masters athletes.” 

Coyne, who made his CrossFit Games debut in 2021 in the 40-44 division, told us that competing at this level is not for those looking to make a profit. 

  • “I’ve competed at every single level you can imagine, from local throwdowns to the Games — I won the Granite Games last year, I won the Madrid throwdown on a team this year, and not saying anything about those competitions; I walked away with literally nothing. I did it for the experience,” he said. 

The qualifier for the fourth Masters Fitness Collective is June 10-19, 2023 and the competition will run September 29 – October 1. 

  • “Next year we’ll be a lot more transparent to say if there is cash (prizes) or not,” Petras said. “Our goal and our mission is to provide the best masters competition in the world, and that’s what we want to do — we’re not trying to make money.”

He continued: “We want to put on a first class, Games level experience for the athletes, but if you’re coming to make money, you’re coming to the wrong event…you’re going for the experience, and because you love to compete.”

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