UFC 121 Payout: Salaries show Lesnar at the top

October 28, 2010

MMA Junkie reports the salaries from UFC 121. Despite his loss, Brock Lesnar topped the payroll with $400,000 earning more than the new champion, Cain Velasquez. The new UFC Heavyweight champion made $200,000 for his fight in addition to a $70,000 bonus for KO of the night.

The rest of the payouts are as follows:

Cain Velasquez: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Brock Lesnar: $400,000

Jake Shields: $150,000 ($75,000 win bonus)
def. Martin Kampmann: $27,000

Diego Sanchez: $100,000 ($50,000 win bonus)
def. Paulo Thiago: $18,000

Matt Hamill: $58,000 ($29,000 win bonus)
def. Tito Ortiz: $250,000

Brendan Schaub: $20,000 ($10,000 win bonus)
def. Gabriel Gonzaga: $67,000

Court McGee: $30,000 ($15,000 win bonus)
def. Ryan Jensen: $10,000

Tom Lawlor: $20,000 ($10,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Cote: $21,000

Daniel Roberts: $16,000 ($8,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Guymon: $8,000

Sam Stout: $32,000 ($16,000 win bonus)
def. Paul Taylor: $16,000

Chris Camozzi: $16,000 ($8,000 win bonus)
def. Dongi Yang: $8,000

Jon Madsen: $16,000 ($8,000 win bonus)
def. Gilbert Yvel: $30,000

Fight of the Night bonuses went to Sanchez and Thiago. Daniel Roberts had the submission of the night and Velasquez earned KO of the night. All earned $70,000.

The total payroll was $1.5 million.

As is the usual disclaimer, the dollar amounts disclosed are base salaries reported to the California State Athletic Commission and do not reflect entire compensation packages for the event.

Payout Perspective:

It is interesting to see that Ortiz ($250k) was the second highest paid fighter on the card. His salary, losing streak and the merger may mean that Ortiz retire, gets cut or takes another role (perhaps a commentator) in the UFC.

Gonzaga’s pay ($67K) also stood out. His loss spelled his doom with the company as he made more than three times than Brendan Schaub.

8 Responses to “UFC 121 Payout: Salaries show Lesnar at the top”

  1. jj on October 28th, 2010 11:36 PM

    Cain has a good contract to build on. 100k/100k is great. He didn’t even have a belt and he has a better contract that Shields. hahaha.

  2. Jose Mendoza on October 28th, 2010 11:45 PM


    On top of his 250K base pay, Tito is also getting points off the PPV, which most likely did 1 million, so he got PAID for this event.


    I believe Shields guaranteed pay was higher in Strikeforce as the champion. He had no leverage when he was negotiating with the UFC.

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  4. Brain Smasher on October 29th, 2010 3:10 AM


    Are you sure Tito got a PPV cut? I know his contract had it in there but i always believed there was a stipulation that you had to be the main event. Because there have been to many guys who had got PPV cuts being used lower on cards as they declined. Like Hughes for example. I know the contracts are not public so there is no way to know for sure. Even a lot of who we believe gets PPV cuts is speculation. But i assume there is a catch. Couture was getting close to 1 million for his PPVs which did much less buys than Brocks events. So i dont see them paying Tito 1 million with his status going into this fight. Dana has already all but confirmed he is releasing Tito. So keeping him for this fight makes no sense. Also why give Hughes showcase fights vs Renzo and Ricardo if he gets a cut?

  5. Machiel Van on October 29th, 2010 8:51 AM

    I’m glad that Brain mentioned Couture’s PPV cut back in 2007 that was revealed for his participation in UFC 68 and UFC 74. I don’t know why people don’t mention it more often when discussing fighters’ PPV cuts, as it was the only real window we’ve had into the way they distribute the bonuses. For those unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, during the UFC/Randy Couture contract snafu of ’07, the UFC posted copies of cashed checks, as well as invoices detailing Couture’s salary and PPV bonus for both UFC 68 and 74. He received payments over a few months for each of varying amounts, totaling around $1.5 million just for the PPV bonus. That was back in 2007, and those only had buyrates of 534,000 and 520,000 respectively. This is the single and only set of information that we can intelligently extrapolate any sort of theories as to the kind of PPV cuts the top athletes make.

    Fun facts aside, Ortiz will either have to take a pay cut or be cut, because their is no way to justify even his base salary at this point, let alone any sort of PPV bonus.

  6. Machiel Van on October 29th, 2010 8:55 AM

    A world where Jose Aldo is making 20k to show and 20k to win, while Tito is making a guaranteed $250,000 is a sad, sad world. I mean, that doesn’t even make business sense anymore, at all. I say let him go to Strikeforce. I know Tito has a bigger name than Dan Henderson, but if Henderson can’t make a ratings splash on CBS coming off of a 3 fight win streak and the knockout of the year, I don’t see how Tito can pull big ratings on Showtime coming off 4 losses and a draw. Cut him loose I say.

  7. Jose Mendoza on October 29th, 2010 3:26 PM

    Brain, Machiel:

    Remember Tito negotiation with Strikeforce to debut on their first CBS show and then Dana flying out on a plane to meet with Tito and agreeing on what Tito said was a great deal. Well, there you go. If the UFC was trying to prevent SF from ever hitting CBS with Tito last year, do you really think that he couldn’t get a PPV cut added into his contract as long as he was on the televised portion of the event?

    It’s no coincidence that Tito has been campaigning to be on shows where Lesnar is the headliner. What was Tito’s attire for the UFC 121 weigh-ins? “Dana is my hero”. =)

    Ironically enough, Strikeforce not signing Tito allowed them to use that purse they were going to pay him to sign Fedor shortly after and debut on CBS with him against Rogers. Tito’s name on the other hand, was hurt badly by all the negative pub Dana White and the UFC was giving him while he was in talks with Affliction and Strikeforce. In the end, the UFC signed Tito at his highest value but only getting an injured and tarnished image Tito.

  8. Doug on October 29th, 2010 6:40 PM

    How does Shields get a base of $150K. The guy has no drawing power and his performances are terriably boring. C’mon guys the guy is too one dimensional. Everyone knows you cannot make it in the UFC as a one dimensional fighter. His stand up looks like a guy taking his first boxing lesson. I really dont see this guy making it in the UFC and definately not making that kind of money. His fan base is zero because he is boring and this is coming from a guy who enjoys the technical side of grappling. Shields does grapple well but it is sooo boring…. I just hate to watch the guy fight and see him getting cut soon. He just doesnt have it!

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