UFC left off of ESPN salary list for lack of information

May 3, 2012

Earlier this week, ESPN released its list of highest paid athletes in sports.  Notably, the list left off the sport of MMA and specifically the UFC due to the fact that it could not confirm salary data.

MMA Fighting wrote that Dana White is right and wrong with not releasing fighter salary data.  It states that White is right to withhold salary info because it is private.  Presumably, it protects the privacy of its fighters by not telling everyone how much they make per fight.  However, there is a reason to release salaries:

Football, basketball and baseball are mainstream because they’re big business. And part of the reason we know they’re big business is because players salaries are made public.

It then argued a reason to make salaries public is to entice up and coming fighters.

And make no mistake, there are plenty of possible MMA stars who are on football fields. In many parts of the country, football and wrestling work together to create quality athletes. But then what happens? As the athlete progresses, he starts thinking about his future. And where is there a better chance for a future? Of course most, if given the opportunity, will move on to football. Why? Because long-term, there is a chance for a windfall payday. Even if it’s remote, there is a chance.

It uses the Jones brothers as an example.  Two of the Jones brothers are now in the NFL while Jon is probably the most famous as the UFC champ.  This example is flawed considering there is no evidence that Jon Jones was good at football  (or any other sport) and chose MMA instead.

Payout Perspective:

MMA Fighting’s argument that the sport of MMA could lose out on potential athletes because of the lack of salary information is improbable.  Most likely athletes will choose their profession based on the best possible chance of making it in the professional ranks of the sport.  There are examples of athletes choosing a sport and then reversing course.  (NFL First Rounder Brandon Wheedon played baseball a couple years before going back to play college football and getting drafted.)  But that example is beyond the scope of the theory that someone will actually choose a sport based on how much you could make. There are instances of former football players taking up MMA after their pigskin career is done. But, that is after their first career is over.

Moreover, it’s not plausible to think that someone would choose a career in MMA over a career in NFL because money in MMA is not as good as that in professional football. Even without knowing the salary structure in MMA, one need only look to the salaries that NFL rookies will make to assume that if you had a choice to play professionally or fight in MMA, one would choose the NFL.

Transparency of the UFC’s salaries lends credibility to the sport based in part on the fact that the other sports are willing to reveal the way it pays its athletes. For the UFC to say “it’s none of your business” makes it seem that it is hiding something rather than protecting the privacy of its fighters.  The ESPN OTL report builds on the premise that it is hiding something.  Like it or not, that is how it is perceived.

55 Responses to “UFC left off of ESPN salary list for lack of information”

  1. Nick on May 4th, 2012 3:54 AM

    I completely understand them being private. How many leaches show up out of the woodwork and start hanging on as soon as athletes sign a big contract. Plus, I doubt these guys want all of their fellow fighters knowing what they make. I doubt any of the mma journalists that keep harping on public fighter pay wear a sign with their salaries on their backs.

  2. The Fight Nerd | Friday Link Party- May 4, 2012 on May 4th, 2012 5:42 AM

    […] MMA Payout looks at the highs and lows of the UFC’s lack of salary disclosure. […]

  3. Machiel Van on May 4th, 2012 7:17 AM

    I agree with Nick. The athletes probably prefer that the information not be disclosed. If I made over a million dollars for a fight, but only 200k of it was disclosed, I’d feel more comfortable if the whole world didn’t know.

  4. iZZY on May 4th, 2012 10:46 AM

    Disagree with both of you guys.
    The whole point of disclosing fighter pay isnt to ruin the fighters privacy , its to make sure that the distribution of wealth is -if not equal- at least fair.
    When Couture fought Lights out Toney, I think Toney got like $1 Mil while the guy who destroyed him in the octagon walked away with around 100 k , and thats with the fight bonus.
    The point is that the fighters who say they want their privacy are the ones making the big bucks, the fighters who want full disclosure are the fighters currently being bummed by the UFC and other organizations.
    To Machiel Van – Yous ay you’d rather you full salary was kept private if you made a mil? how would you feel if you heard that your opponent who fought valiantly and lost ONLY got 50k for his fight. Can you sleep at night knowing that? If you can than you’re already part of the problem and your opinion is already corrupt.

    Peace Out Bitches

  5. Dan Plunkett on May 4th, 2012 12:15 PM

    LOL at Couture making $100,000 for the Toney fight. He made much more than that.

    People generally don’t like to talk about how much money they make, so it’s probable that fighters wouldn’t want their salaries made public, even those that aren’t big stars and don’t make much. Are there fighters that would like full disclosure? Surely, but it doesn’t make them right and there may be just as many on the other side.

    Your other example isn’t realistic. If someone was fighting someone making a million dollars, it means they’re in a high profile fight and will make much more than $50,000. Perfect example is when Shane Carwin fought Brock Lesnar and his disclosed pay was $40,000. His actual pay was substantially more than that. And if a fighter fights valiantly, loses, and gets $50,000? Those are the terms he agreed to. Actually, in nearly every case UFC pays more to each fighter than they’re contractually obligated, so they’re getting a better deal than they AGREED to.

    If there is a group of fighters unhappy with pay or non-disclosure of pay, there’s nothing stopping them from getting together to do something about it. I’m sure UFC brass wouldn’t like it, but what can you do to punish them? Are they going to release a substantial amount of fighters that believe stand up for an issue they believe in when they need to fill dozens of shows a year? Are they going to risk the negative publicity that would come along with that? The UFC doesn’t need the public believing they treat their fighters poorly and throwing them to the curb when they try to raise the issue, that’s for sure.

    I don’t think disclosure of full purses really matters one way or the other, in terms of how the general public views MMA. They’ll find that top guys make a lot of money and lower level guys don’t make much, which is also the case with boxing and WWE, neither of which discloses full purse amounts. In terms of the fighters, there will be those that are unhappy about their pay compared to others, which is the case in literally every sport and workplace.

  6. Wheezy on May 4th, 2012 12:30 PM

    The fighters are free to divulge their pay if they like. That’s my understanding.

  7. The Beast on May 4th, 2012 12:48 PM

    To iZZY and all of the other whiny bitches crying over fighter pay,

    I have heard all I can take and I can take no more. When did we as a society become a bunch of jealous crybabies? If I find out that someone is making more than me I don’t want to tear them down, I want to find out what they did so I can do likewise.

    The example of Couture and Toney while ridiculous, is great. Toney talked (mumbled) himself into a freaking great payday. Good on him. Do you think Couture went home and cried into his pillow that he didn’t make the same amount? Probably not, he was paid well (gasp! possibly some if it coming by way of the undisclosed pay), and hes not a pussy.

    Talking of fairness is a whole load of BS. Why don’t we just go full communist with the sport and all competitors are paid 50K to show, and nothing win. That way everything is fair and no one looses any sleep cause there is no great disparity in pay. Everything is equal, fairness has won the day! Wait, fighter pay is based on skill, marketability, and general kick assitude. If someone can get higher pay through cunning, savvy, or bravado then congratulations. If you are paid less, in any profession, then you need to get up off your ass and make it happen.

    I am tired of people sitting and bitching about fairness without being willing to put in any effort to rise to the occasion. Notice, rarely do any of the fighters themselves bitch about it. No, they go out kick some ass for our entertainment, then if they are unsatisfied they renegotiate when the time is right.

    Fairness breeds mediocrity. Competition breeds innovation. And thank goodness for that as we get innovative fighters like Silva, Jones, and Dos Santos beating people down.

  8. eroc on May 4th, 2012 12:51 PM

    The whole reason for not disclosing fighter pay is to keep fighter pay low. As soon as figures become public, fighter prices increase based upon the fighter’s perception of their value vs. other comparable fighters, regardless of whether their perception is real or accurate. Competition for higher pay by fighters increases, which increases the costs for the UFC. The UFC has a virtual monopoly on MMA as things currently stand. For them to publicize fighter pay would impose a significant cost without a comparable return.

    Second, Payout’s Perspective refuting MMA Fighting’s rational for publicizing fighter pay is spot on. The highest paid fighter in the UFC is significantly less income, based solely on UFC compensation (ergo show/win and Fight/KO/Sub of the night bonuses), when compared to even middle tier players in the NFL, NBA and MLB. While Dana White touts the sponsorship dollars that individual fighters can make, when evaluating athlete pay, sponsorship/endorsement dollars are generally excluded, which would mean that UFC fighters would be evaluated on base compensation (fight/win, ppv percentages, etc…) as listed in their contracts.

    A second factor not talked about by Payout Perspective is the established infrastructure that other sports have when compared to MMA. Organized leagues for basketball, baseball and football are present all the way up till the professional level. MMA is not a recognized High School or Collegiate sport so for anyone to participate at a young age, it would incur significant entry costs, the exception, of course, being wrestling. Given the higher pay and lower entry costs for baseball, football and basketball, it is highly unlikely that publicizing fighter pay by the UFC will have any demonstrable effect in converting young athletes capable of excelling at either/or to make the switch to MMA.

  9. Gk on May 4th, 2012 1:37 PM

    Who cares how much someone makes? I don’t understand your fascination with earnings. How much do you make?

  10. BrainSmasher on May 4th, 2012 2:23 PM

    Its funny to see how far the media will go to get what they want. There is no reason to release the fighter pay. The Media just wants to know the info so they have shit to talk about. Now they try to trick the public into support them in trying to weasel the info out of the UFC. It doesnt make the sport look more excepted or professional. It has no barring on the sport at all. There is enough numbers eaked to where we get an idea of what they make anyway. We only want to know out of curiosity. There is no real reason why we want to know. With that being the case we dont need to know.

    Look at the money the top boxers make. Most of their salaries are released at the highest level. Even with the top guys making more than any other sport for a single nights work. A person would still have to be retarded to choose boxing over football. The nature of individual sports makes it very hard to make a living unless you are at the very top. It is rough getting to the top and for those who never get there. Team sports provides a high level living with little risk. Once you make it pro in those sports you are set. Being a Pro fighter means your troubled are just starting. That will never change and realsing the fighter pay would not change anything.

  11. BrainSmasher on May 4th, 2012 2:40 PM

    What really piss’ me off is we are seeing first hand with the UFC what has caused such a problem in society. Here for the 100th time in the last year alone. We are seeing the media try to gain control of a corperation and an industry. They want what they want when they want it. When they dont get it they try to use their power to turn the public against the company or industry to get what they want. It is very sad a private company cant even run their own business they wat they choose. If it isnt a tv network or news paper trying to control the UFC it is the Culinary Union trying to control them or sponsors trying to control them or protestors trying to control them. The problem with society isnt big business or the governement or any organization. The problem is people them selves. These special interest groups only send the message. It is the public who buys into it and causes all the problems.

    Protestors call Bud Lite “Blood Lite” and AB goes after the UFC for inappropriate comments. Clearly these people dont like BL being tied in with fighting. The Comments are a red harring. What does “Blood Lite” have to do with comments? It is clear what their beef is about. We as a people need to stand up and boycott any company who gives into these special interest groups. If AB wants to take the side of a small group with a agenda against the UFC just to be PC and save their own ass. Then i dont think AB is a company i will support. I dont like any company they will let themselves be manipulated by these people.

  12. BrainSmasher on May 4th, 2012 2:56 PM


    I guess you are one of THOSE people! Come on here spewing commie bs and have half assed facts to back it up. Couture has always make about a million per fight. The pay you see is only what was reported to the commission. He gets a cut of the PPV which takes months after the fight to figure so it isnt listed.

    Second fighters are not just paid based on how good they are. So how much Fighter B gets while beating fighter A who makes more if meaningless. Brock Lesnar was paid based on what he brought to the table in terms of skill and money he brings to the UFC. It doenst matter who beats him. Anyone who fights him is paid what they agreed with the UFC they are worth. By beating Brock they can increase their worth and get paid when they come up for a new contract. You are supposed to be taught this in 3rd grade. But there are always cry baby types who will always cry something isnt fair.

    No one is being “bummed” by the UFC. Everyone who has ever fight in the UFC has agreed to the way they got. No one has had to fight against their will for pay they didnt want. I have never had to work at a job i didnt agree to for a price i didnt agree to. At the saem time i have done the same job as guys making 3 times what i was. It was because they worked there 20 years. Should their time and experience with the company not be worth anything? They brought more to the table than me. I guess i could have been a cry baby and whined “thats not fair” but this si the real world. You be an adult and earn your way. Not cry about things and hope everything is given to you.

  13. Nick on May 4th, 2012 3:00 PM

    How can anyone think the fighter’s want everyone to know how much they make but aren’t telling the media? These guys are clearly making a LOT of money and I’m happy for them, they’ve earned it.
    In 2007, Couture made over $3million in fight purse for 2 fights. Do you really think he fought James Toney 4 years later for 100k.

  14. BrainSmasher on May 4th, 2012 3:28 PM


    Thats your opinion. You clearly dont have any idea what a monopoly is. So please dont throw aroudn that word when it doesnt belong in this discussion. Maybe they dont release the pay to keep pay low maybe not. No one knows what they believe. There are many reasons to support their decision. lets just say you are right and it is to keep fighter pay low. Who si to say that is right or wrong? There is no right or wrong. It just comes down to where you stand. If you are the UFC owners you are right. If you are a fighter that might be wrong(not even all fighters wan tit released). If you are a fan it really depends on what type of fan you are. Take a look what full disclosure has done to all the other sports. Everyone of them are Locking out or going on strike. The biggest reason is player pay. The new rookies always want more than last years rookies. It blew up to the point that leagues had to put a cap on rookies. Player pay kept going higher and higher and now some leagues have already capped the player pay(NBA) and added team salary caps to limit the pay. Yet with those caps the players still want more and some teams are about to go bankrupt because the players make to much. So where was the fan left in all of this? We they lost half the NBA season with no basketball. Some of the football season was cut short. Baseball is about to do the same. Every 10 years each league either has a hold out or comes very close to one.

    Any fan who doesnt just blindly nutride a fighter sees the impact of spoiled over paid athletes. They realized rooting for the fighter to always get more money will in the end just cause there to be problems that result in that fan not getting to watch fights. Ironic enough during the time when only hard core fans followed the sport. Fighter pay wasnt an issue. When Marilo Bustamante wanted a then UFC record 6 migure contract the fans didnt support him. Now in the age of haro worshiping casual TUF and Brock Lesnar fans rather than fight fans. The sport has been flooded with self intitled drama queens who do their best to hurt the sport thinking they are showing their loyalty to their favorite fighter.

    All those who are complaining the UFC doenst release fighter pay and dont believe the fighters want to keep it private. Think about this. The UFC doesnt tell fighters they cant disclose their pay. Any fighter can tell anyone they want what they pay per fight any time they want. Notice you dont see to many people making their pay public. Thats because very fight fighters what that info out there. Most of the contracts we know about are only because of court battles with Couture and Overeem. Every now and then a small level fighter will talk about what he makes. But almost no one releases that info. You can count on 1 hand how many fighters have told what they make in sponsorships. They dont want you to know. It is their private informaton. Just as it is UFC’s private information.

    A guy come into my business one time and told me since i was a government related company that my information had to be made public and i had to hand him my books anytime he asked for them. I do have some numbers that are public record and the state releases them. But i dont have to tell him anything. I told him to fvck off and there was nothing he could do about it. Lucky for someone of you people the UFC is to nice. It is very disrespectful to stick you nose in other people personal info. I had a jackass ask one of my customers how much money he makes and how much his wife makes. First time he met the guy. I threw his ass out. Begging for the info through the internet or media doesnt make it any more respectful. Worry about your self. If you do everything you can to earn more money you dont have time to worry about everyone elses pay.

  15. Sampson Simpson on May 4th, 2012 5:01 PM

    If the top guys in UFC made any sort of serious money it would be publicized that’s for sure.

    The truth is they don’t and that’s why that fat bald guy hasn’t had a publicity push to publicize fighter pay.

  16. Nick on May 4th, 2012 5:15 PM

    When couture tried to “resign”, dana disclosed with checks that he made nort of $3 million in 2007. When Golden Glory sued Overeem it was disclosed that he would make over $2million for UFC 141. Do you think he’s the highest paid fighter? I doubt he’s in the top 10.

  17. aintitthetruth on May 4th, 2012 7:33 PM

    To the author: what do you mean there jis no evidence that Jones was good at any other sport than mma? He was a junior college wrestling champ.

  18. Jason Cruz on May 4th, 2012 8:29 PM

    To the comment person:

    Thanks for the comment and I will clarify. There is no evidence he was good at any other sport aside from wrestling. The premise is that one would be good at multiple sports such that there could be a choice. Based on what we know (i.e., UFC Countdown shows), Jones was good at wrestling and nothing else. MMA Fighting’s article argues that since salaries in the UFC are not public, athletes that could be MMA stars will not choose the sport.

  19. BrainSmasher on May 4th, 2012 11:46 PM

    Agree with you Jason. It was a stupid conclusion they come to. Exactly what evidence do they have to suggest he could have done anything else? Hell he wasnt even a high level wrestler. Odds are Bones played HS football and never got a scholarship like his brothers to a respectable school.

  20. Rob Maysey on May 5th, 2012 2:43 AM

    This article is absurd.

    Watch any boxing broadcast with American Heavyweights, without fail, it is mentioned that the best American Heavyweights are playing middle linebacker in the NFL.

    Of course, this isn’t 100% the result of pay, but it is in LARGE part because of pay.

  21. Nick on May 5th, 2012 4:28 AM

    I think you are way overestimating amateur boxing compared to youth football Rob. Millions of kids grow up playing football, baseball, and basketball. I would guess that the number doing JIU-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, boxing, and even wrestling is a very small percentage of the amateurs playing ball and stick sports. Different sports require vastly different skills and very few great athletes can just start participating in a sport in their 20’s and be a top pro.

  22. Nick on May 5th, 2012 6:56 AM

    Additionally, it is a huge leap to think that very many football players would be great fighters. I’m sure some of them would but not all football players have great fine motor skills. For pure athleticism, football has the best athletes as far as strength, speed, and endurance, but there are a lot of football players who can’t hit a baseball and can’t shoot a basketball. Just because a guy can run down a RB from across the field doesn’t mean he can defend a takedown or throw a punch. I’m sure there are plenty of guys in the NFL who could be good fighters and there are a lot of power forwards in the NBA that could make good receivers or tight ends.

    Also, for all of you guys talking about the bigger money in football, Arthur Jones stands to make $490k this year which isn’t even guaranteed. Do any of you guys think that Jon is making anywhere close to that? I’m sure he’s knocking down well into the 7 figures per fight and fighting 3-4 times/year.

  23. Jason Cruz on May 5th, 2012 6:59 AM

    Rob Maysey,

    Are you talking the MMA Fighting article or our article? Regardless, thanks for reading.

    I’m curious to know which linebackers out there could have been heavyweight champs or vice versa?

  24. eroc on May 5th, 2012 10:11 AM


    1) i know the definition of a monopoly, which is why i qualified it with the word “virtual”. Do you know how qualifiers work? Obviously there are other organizations that employ mma fighters, Bellator being the other notable organization, but the UFC is the really the only organization of importance, with all due respect to Bellator. There’s a reason why the media targets the UFC. It’s the most influential organization in the industry. Hence the monopoly reference.

    2) How do you know that the UFC doesn’t impose a non-disclosure clause for fighter pay or terms of contract? I’ll admit I am unaware of whether something is in place one way or the other but it’s not an unlikely possibility given the UFC’s stance on fighter pay. That being said, you seem pretty sure that such a thing doesn’t exist. Can you elaborate on how you’re so sure.

    3) i wasn’t commenting one way or the other on whether it was right or wrong for the UFC to do so. it was merely a comment on the effect that the policy has on fighter pay and, at least my opinion, on why the UFC does so.

    4) Save your ranting for your therapist.

  25. Rob Maysey on May 5th, 2012 11:45 AM


    That is true in regards to participation as youth–but there are reasons participation has dropped off steadily.

    As pay in other sports increased greatly, participation in boxing seems to have dropped off greatly.

    Which Middle Linebacker? Pick whoever you want. I guaranty you they have the athletic attributes.

  26. Nick on May 5th, 2012 12:38 PM

    I can hit a golf ball farther than most guys on tour and I’m a 15 handicap. Being athletic doesn’t make a linebacker a great fighter. Granted he has abilities few others do, but so do most fighters. GSP has ridiculous speed but that doesn’t make him a great basketball player or golfer.

  27. Rob Maysey on May 5th, 2012 4:40 PM

    That is true–however it is also true, in the NFL talent pool, you’d have some great heavyweights–had they chosen the sport.

    Certainly not all of them, but some of them.

  28. Nick on May 5th, 2012 5:25 PM

    You make sound way too easy that they just choose a sport. There is no way that a fighter can make it to the top in mma or boxing without years of training. I think you are severely discounting the level of talent in boxing/UFC.

  29. BrainSmasher on May 5th, 2012 10:48 PM


    “2) How do you know that the UFC doesn’t impose a non-disclosure clause for fighter pay or terms of contract? I’ll admit I am unaware of whether something is in place one way or the other but it’s not an unlikely possibility given the UFC’s stance on fighter pay. That being said, you seem pretty sure that such a thing doesn’t exist. Can you elaborate on how you’re so sure. ”

    This sport has been my passion since 1995. I follow everything that goes on in the sport and i have trained with guys who have fought in the UFC. There have never been the slightest hint of a fighter not being allowed to mention their salary. Like i said a few have mentioned it but it is rare. I understand exactly why they dont want anyone one to know. Lots of these guys depend on fighters and training partners who dont make any money at all. You dont want them to start thinking “why should i sapr with him? He gets all the money!” You cant give money to every guy who rolls with you. Everyone wants a cut once they find out you have it. Some guys go to train and workout with a hunch of other guys who come there to train too. Then you hear of other guys who have to pay “X fighter” $30,000 to train with him. Santos claims his fight with Cain cost him 100,000 for training partners.

    Releasing fighter pay just leads to problems. Some fighters will use the numbers to try to get more money in their next contract. But as we have seen many times in the UFC they dont let fighters bully them around very often. There have been many fighters over value themselves and ask for someone else “type money”. Of course they end up out of the UFC and we dont get to see them fight again. Bustamante was champ and they told him to walk because he wanted 100K per fight. Pulver was champ and told to walk because he wanted like 40K per fight. They told Arlovski to hit the road as well as Tim Sylvia. Brandon Vera, Roger Huera and many others have tried to leverage the UFC for more money and it only hurts the fighters and the fans. A fighters ego gets in the way when he finds out another guy gets more than him and he will ruin his career trying to make sure that doesnt happen. There is no benefits to releasing numbers. All there is is excuses to satisfy out curiosity.

  30. BrainSmasher on May 5th, 2012 10:57 PM

    btw. When BJ Penn beat Hughes he then wanted Matt Hughes money. Even though Hughes was a legend who owned the division for half a decade. So us fans lost BJ Penn out of the UFC for 2 1/2 years. With released pay there would be a lot more hold outs and fighters released when that doesnt need to happen. Lets not forget most of the fighter pay is released. The only thing missing is bonus pay and PPV cuts. Even if that stuff was released we still wouldnt know how much fighters make because we are still mostly in the dark on what fighters get in sponsorships. Notice fighters dont release those numbers either and they have nothing to do with the UFC.

  31. Dfdfdfd on May 6th, 2012 9:25 AM

    UFC on FOX DIaz v Miller…. Averages a Dismal 2M viewers!!!!!

  32. eroc on May 6th, 2012 2:13 PM


    Everything you wrote sounds very reasonable and i can understand why those fighters who do make significant bonus or ppv money would want to keep that under wraps. Suffice it to say that we disagree on the issue of publicizing fighter pay. My take is that there is an imperfect market place that suffers from distorted prices. i’ll take your word that it benefits fighters who earn enough that disclosing fighter pay would harm them. i strongly feel that not disclosing fighter pay also significantly benefits the UFC. That being said, my take is that fighters, maybe not the top earners, would benefit from publicizing fighter pay. it would help accurately price the market for fighters, including costs associated with training, sponsorships, etc. it might also cause a shift, or maybe promote a rethinking, of how fighters organize/budget their training camps. While the risks associated with publicizing fighter pay are real and likely, it would be small numbers that do so, in my opinion. When BJ left, he had the option of going to Pride and getting the payday he was seeking. With all due respect to Bellator, those outlets don’t exist anymore. The next fighter looking for a big pay day outside of the UFC is probably not going to get what he wants. Strictly my opinion but having a market place with, taking you at your word, inflated, or what seem like inflated, costs and distorted prices can’t be good for the industry as a whole.

  33. BrainSmasher on May 6th, 2012 9:31 PM

    I see what you are saying. But you have to realize that fighters pay IS released. Commissions release everyone reported pay. The only time it isnt is when there is a fighter who headlines the card has a PPV % in his contract. Everyone elses pay is released unless it is in a country or state that doesnt have a commission that releases it. But in thos cases the fighters are on contracts that are many fights long. If you can find their pay for one fight you can on the fight before or after it and its likely the same. I dont believe Zuffa gives as many bonus as they claim. Im sure they give a lot out. But its not like they are giving every one tons of free money.

    You want salaries released so fighters know their market value. I understadn that. But what good is that without equal options? A fighter cant force the UFC to give him what he feels is the going rate of fighters at his level. He cant go any where else and get it either. So why would knowing what other fighters are getting kep him? Ingorance is bliss and letting him know this could couse the fighter to be unhappy and reflect on his career. That said fighters do know what fighters are making but they dont know exactly to the last cent because Zuffa do gives some guys money so it makes reported salary unreliable as long as it is possible they got extra money.

    But releasing fighter salaries is a red herring. Fighters dont care abotu this because like i said they already know what other fighters get. If they dont their agent who handles other fighters does. This is just a play to pretend there is a problem to get a peak at Zuffa’s books by special interest groups and curious people alike. Critics want an exact number for figther pay so they can attack the UFC and strong arm them into releasing them financial records.

    IMO, fighters are paid plenty. As a life long fan of the sport i want the UFC to be prosperous. Without a organization with an invested interest in the sports future the sport cant survive. As long as they are making money they have a reason to assure the health of the sport and make sure the sport grows. I dont think anyone can honestly claim anyone gets screwed by the UFC. But if fighters keep taking and the UFC keeps losing or the UFC loses its place as leading Promotion of MMA. Then the sport is at risk. It turns to boxing where every fighter is out for himself and if the sport dies after he is done fighting it doesnt effect him 1 bit. In boxing know one is trying to build the sport because there is nothing in it for them. They promote their guy on a fight by fight basis. This is why i feel so strongly against the pro fighter movement and anti UFC movement. Imo these are positions taken by new fans who are not true fight fans so have no real connect to the sport. They follow a fighter and careless about the future of MMA. They dont realize or care how important the UFC brand is to the sport and the fighters.

  34. eroc on May 7th, 2012 7:10 AM


    First, similar to you i’m for the aggregation of talent in a single entity. That doesn’t necessarily mean the UFC but currently the UFC is clearly the dominant organization so that makes it the logical candidate for now and at least for the near future. i was very much in favor of the UFC acquisition of Strikeforce and really hoped for a faster absorption of Strikeforce’s talent into the UFC altogether (poor Gil Melendez). Like you i want to see the best of the best compete in their prime, respectively. i’ll admit that i am curious about the UFC’s finances but it’s more or less to see if the figures stated by Dana White/Lorenzo Fertita are hyperbole or fact. And if they are fact, that lends legitimacy in main stream forums, such as the media, that would favor the UFC but because the UFC maintains a policy of non-disclosure, everything is viewed with a grain of salt.

    Setting that aside and taking a longer view for the industry of MMA, as you do in your last paragraph, right now my view is that there is an imbalance in the industry with specific regards to pay that is skewed towards the top earners (GSP, Brock, Anderson Silva, Bones, etc) and the UFC. The obvious caveat, which i’ve reiterated is that i do not have perfect information. Additionally, i do not want to take anything away from the fighters who have earned their current high paying status. Still, the UFC makes money promoting, not developing, the fighters. All the development costs are incurred by the fighters. These cost barriers are especially harsh for low to mid tier fighters trying to fulfill their potential.

    My understanding is that a rookie MMA contract goes 6/8/10K with corresponding win bonuses. So, if a figher wins his first three fights, they have 48K in the bank pre-tax. That’s assuming they are actually able to fulfill their contract and win all their fights and bonuses. Even if you scale the costs of training/sparring partners, management/agent commissions, etc to the name/level/tier of the fighter, it negatively affects the low earning fighter in a disproportionate way when compared to the higher earners. This more than anything else will stunt the growth of the industry. There are plenty of guys willing to strap on some gloves and get into the cage. But the skill development, and the associated costs, are prohibitive in many respects. Increasing fighter pay at the bottom end in order to institutionalize the professional culture of MMA (as opposed to a part time fighter/CPA/fireman or fill in the blank vocation) is the longer view. i think that publicizing pay won’t help the top earners, nor the UFC, but it will help the professionalization and development of the lower/mid tier fighters.

  35. eroc on May 7th, 2012 7:15 AM


    FWIW, i tweeted pat miletich about whether fighters are aware of the pay for their peers:

    @patmiletich How aware are fighters of each others pay, incl. bonuses/ppv/etc?

    Pat Miletich Pat Miletich ‏ @patmiletich
    @ Probably not very aware. I never was

  36. Nick on May 7th, 2012 8:07 AM

    The highest pay will always be at the top because those guys sell PPV’s and those guys put asses in the seats. In that regard, fighting is no different than any other individual sport. The top tennis player and golfers will always have the best coaches.

    While I can admire your share the wealth with the little guys idea, it makes no economic sense. For that to happen, money will have to come off the top, or the middle guys will be forced to fight for a little less. I don’t know what training costs, but I bet a lot of the lower level guys either train free, or get paid to coach at a lot of the bigger gyms. I imagine that supplements are free from sponsors as almost all fighters are sponsored by a supplement company, and same with apparel. I’m not diminishing the costs/sacrifice to become a pro fighter, but I think some of these costs get overestimated.

  37. iZZY on May 7th, 2012 12:06 PM

    To Brainsmasher

    ONE. I am not a commie and in my experience (which is a lot more interesting than yours trust me) people who use that line a dumb ass jocks who have never been outside their own asshole.
    TWO. My “facts” were guesses I’ll give you that much, However, your responses ( and there are many in this forum alone) are similar to somebody who has nothing to do with their time , you see I may have gotten some figures wrong but you’re entire personality is flawed.
    THREE. The only reason you think you can talk to people like that is because you’re doing it through a computer. I guarantee you your balls would shrivle up like bitch the minute someone looks at you wrong.
    Four. “Anyone who fights him is paid what they agreed with the UFC they are worth” , Who decides what they’re worth? its certainly not the fighters or their coaches/managera, and talk shit all you want about going out there and getting your pay day , thats whats wrong with this entire system.
    FIVE. “You are supposed to be taught this in 3rd grade. But there are always cry baby types who will always cry something isnt fair” , what kinda fucking 3rd grade did you attend? there are always cry baby types? Bitch you’re too dumb to even understand their situation.
    SIX MUDAFUCKAH!!!!. ” No one has had to fight against their will for pay they didnt want” , What a load of fucking bull, seriously you speak about people coming in here and talking shit. So what you’re saying is that no fighter in the UFC has ever fought a fight he didnt want for less money than he wanted??
    Seriously are you a retard?
    Seven (finally) . ” At the saem time i have done the same job as guys making 3 times what i was” , to answer your question , YES you should be getting paid the same as them. What you’re talking about here isnt “self-worth” its a capitalistic (is that a word?) method for keeping people employed and flourishing, dont get me wrong the older gentlemen/women have a lot more to offer than the younger kids , but the younger ones can usually do the job better and faster ; so employing an older man just because he has a certain skill that may be of use in the next 20 years is just a waste of resources.


  38. Rob on May 7th, 2012 12:52 PM

    Those other leagues make salaries public because they have to. They’re monopolies and would get nailed for antitrust violations if they weren’t unionized.

    If MLB, NFL, and NBA teams were allowed to keep their players’ salaries private, they would.

  39. BrainSmasher on May 7th, 2012 3:01 PM


    I trained and sparred with some of the best fighter in the world. I can handle myself very well and have many times. I doubt my “balls would shrivle up like bitch the minute someone looks at you wrong”. lol

    Yeah you are right i do have to much time on my hands. Running a business takes not time at all…

    I will skip the rest of your commie ramblings. Anyone who thinks a person or fighters should be held accountable for the deals they accept is a moron. Maybe the car salesman who sold you your 1980 Chevy Nova for $500 can now charge you $10,000 for it. It doesnt matter what you agreed to pay for it or what he agreed to sell it for. Why should he have to work for $500 surely he should be allowed to come back and take what he wants. Doesnt sounds so good that way does it commie?

  40. BrainSmasher on May 7th, 2012 3:15 PM


    Keep in mind Pat spent his career in the old days. He only fought 3 times under Zuffa. Only 1 of those was after the sport was sanctioned by Nevada. The other two were sanctioned by NK. But if i remember correctly those bodies didnt make the puerses public at the time. But that isnt the case anymore and hasnt been for a long time.

    Also Pat is very bias. He is one of the few people who have tried to battle the UFC over many issues. He has a grudge against Dana White and the UFC.

    “During the broadcast, former UFC welterweight champion Pat Miletich was quoted as saying,”Dana has never told me anything that ended up being the truth, besides the fact that his intention was to crush other people’s lives and businesses”, to which White recently had this to say.

    “Pat Miletich is a very bitter guy right now,” fired back White. “Pat is not one of the smartest people you’re ever going to meet. He sees these guys around him, like Tim Sylvia, who made a couple million bucks in his career. Pat Miletich hasn’t made any money because he’s not a smart guy. It’s not my fault Pat Miletich is a (expletive) dummy.””

  41. BrainSmasher on May 7th, 2012 3:46 PM


    On your other post. I know you want to sympathize with the fighters who struggle to make ends meet at the low levels. But they simple are not struggling like some would have you believe. except for the rare exception every fighter makes 10/10 or more starting out. They will make between 30-60 grand that year. They also get lots of money from sponsors. Even the low level guys claim its as much as they make in the UFC. So now they are up to 60-90 grand. In those 3 fights they have a chance to earn Of the Night awards with 12 awards up for grabs in those 3 fights. Winning 1 will put them well over 100k for the year. Not a bad living at all. That is for the very lowest fighters in the UFC.

    Here is another reason i dont lose sleep over the bottom fighters pay. Most of the guys just dont belong in the UFC and that is why they dont get payed well. The UFC has to find talent. Unfortuinately its not as easy as looking at fight tapes of a guy smashing a bum in his home town and see if he is any good. So everyone has inflated records and the UFC has to weed through them to find the real talent. You have fighters like Jason Rienhardt building a fake rsume to fraud people into signing him to big contracts. He fights like 20 bums and goes undefeated and never fights a guy with a winning record. So the UFC brings him in to let him prove himself. He gets destroyed 3 times in a row and is gone. Should he have been allowed to fraud his way into a huge 6 figure UFC contract? Should the UFC send the message that all the up and coming fighters should fight huge mismatches as a easy way to cash in? It sounds like a great idea to pay all UFC fighters a lot of money but everything has consequences. Either you turn the minor leagues into a slaughter house where everyone has fake records making it even harder to find real telent. Orf you leave it the same and make these rookies prove they are for real. Proving themselves over a 3 fight contract isnt to much to ask.

    Another side effect of rasing the min pay is you discourage talent growth. If the pay for these new fighters gots to high it becomes a huge waste of money for the UFC to loom for talent. You dont want to be in a situation where keeping a washed up fighter because he sells a few seats becomes more important the using that spot to find new talent. It is good business to keep a Baroni who is exciting and has some name recognition rather than take a chance on some no name who may be a fruad if both fighters cost you 40K. New fighters dont sell. You dotn want to descourage developement or the product goes stale.

    I would love for fighters to get paid more. But i also realize the huge cost that comes for the UFC to make the sport what it is. Zuffa did have to take a loan and sell part of their company for cash so i dont believe they just sit on mountains of cash. It goes back into the sport which is what we all want. Also keep in mind that when i would discuss UFc financials back in 2003-2006 era people were mad and claimign that they would be happy if the UFC min pay was 5/5 rather than 2/2. Now it is way above that and still growing and people still are not happy. The UFC raises the pay as the sport grows. They do a good job of policing themselves without anyone making them do it. There are guys on the UFC roster who make much more money than i think they are worth. Back in the day the UFC would release guys who made 40 grand if they lost even if they were a big name. Now just a couple weeks ago at UFC 145 a journeyman fighter like Ben Rothwell made 104,000 to win and another $65,000 KO bonus. This guy come into this fight with a losing UFC record and a 2-3 record over the last 4 years. Based on the pay i have seen over the year i dont think the guy is worth more than 20/20. Bu tthe UFC paid him much more than they had to. This guy fights for 2,000-5,000 every where else in the world. He had no leverage at all. The UFC could have lowballed him if that is really what they do to fighters.

  42. iZZY on May 8th, 2012 7:48 AM

    Deat Brainsmasher (aka lack-of-brains-Masher HAHA)

    Is the reason you’re dismissing my “commie ramblings” because you have no answer to them? I think so!!

    “Anyone who thinks a person or fighters should be held accountable for the deals they accept is a moron”

    Did you make a mistake here? Or is this just bad attempt at sarcasm?

    Either way, you’re twat and that’s the end of that :)
    what is your business?

  43. BrainSmasher on May 8th, 2012 3:55 PM

    My business is my business. You want to come and try to tell me how to run my business too? Tell me how much i should have to pay my employees? LOL go out and earn something and quit trying to take something from everyone else.

  44. iZZY on May 9th, 2012 6:57 AM

    How am I trying to take anything from everyone else?
    Your business is your business meaning that you cut grass for a living correct?
    Congratulations mate I wish I could be more like you.
    I dont need to go out and earn buddy, I already am earning , quite a lot actually so you can suck my ballsicles!

  45. BrainSmasher on May 9th, 2012 3:19 PM

    Is that what you commies want? ISnt that what you are wanting done with the UFC? You want their private info made public. Then you will complain the fighters dont get enough, specifically the low end fighters that are not worth much and dont earn their keep. Then if the UFC dont do what you want you types cry and want Unions and complain about Zuffa every chance you get. Yeah i know you your commie minds work.

    Look at this article. The only reason it exists is ESPN claimed the UFC didnt pay its fighters enough. The UFC claimed it did but you just cant see it because its private. ESPN claims the UFC pays a small percentage of it profits to fighters. UFC denies it and says they do you just cant see it. Now ESPN realizing they dont have enough info to argue jack shit is now trying to use the public to force the UFC to release their private info. Only so they can take the info and go back to trying to attack the UFC with the info. Then disguise it with a stupid list of highest paid athletes. If they wanted to put UFC fighters on that list they could have. What Brock Lesnar and GSP would tell espm what they make so they expect the UFC to release it anyway? Thats crazy. Plus there are already reports of what both those guys make. Reported up to 5 million a fight. But ESPN just has an issue with MMA and used it for an excuse not to add them to the list.

  46. BrainSmasher on May 9th, 2012 7:14 PM

    One last thing about this article before i move on. On their list they have astiks and lots of notes for each sport and athlete and pay. They could have put a MMA fighter in there is they wanted to. But typical os ESPN they didnt bother. Every other sport is listed with their reported pay and notes to explain more. It lists Pacmans gaurnteed purse not his actual after the fight purse. Why didnt they excluse him because they dont have the exact number? They wetn with the only number they had. But they couldnt do that with MMA? Jon Jones had 4 fights in 2011. His first is public at 140,000. He won the title in the second fight but i assume that fight is under the same contract of 140,000. Since he wont that fight i believe it put him under a negotiated Champions contract that paid him what we see in his Evans fight which is 400,000 and a cut of the PPV. So those 4 fights for Jones paid him 140K, 140K, 400K, and 400K. He also won 3 Of the night awards for 75K each. So in 2011 Jon Jones likely made 1,305,000 before his cut of 2 PPV’s. Would that have been so hard?

  47. BrainSmasher on May 9th, 2012 7:18 PM

    *** For Horse Jockeys they put the money won by the jockey not his actual pay. Most of that money goes to the horse owners. Yet they list the total purses without having any idea what the Jockeys actual pay is. So the UFC “not releasing fighter pay” is just a bullshit excuse not to list MMA at all.

  48. eroc on May 10th, 2012 11:44 AM


    I referenced Pat just to see what he would say. He was a part of the org during its earlier days and is still very much involved with MMA. i don’t think he manages anyone but I believe he still trains guys on some basis. I was curious for his take but I’m not treating it as gospel. And that goes double for anything Dana White says.

    As far as your other points go, let me say that I’m not empathetic or altruistic about fighter pay. This is an economic and developmental argument. The big box office draws aren’t going to last forever. Anderson Silva is closer to 40 than he is 30 if memory serves. They retired Chuck, Couture retired, Tito should retire, Rampage wants to leave. There are some high level guys out there that are building their respective skills and brands but across divisions it seems like once you get outside of the top 10, there are significant gaps from fighters 11-20. My take is that increased transparency for fighter pay will establish accurate market prices that will help the fight industry as a whole. Throughout our exchange of posts I have stated the following caveat: perfect information does not exist. I have also stated that, in my opinion, fighter pay for low to mid-tier fighters is too low in light of development/training costs and that sufficiently hinders growth and development. Keep in mind that my previous statement is different from “pay everyone lots of money all the time.” You’ve countered with anecdotal evidence suggesting otherwise. Suffice it to say that we disagree and leave it at that.

    I do think we want the same thing but we just don’t see eye to eye in how to get there. Developing young talent should be priority one for the UFC. How they go about it is up to them. While I’m not familiar with the Jason Rienhardt affair, the fact that a fighter, like Jason Rienhardt, was able to defraud the UFC tells you all you need to know about the lack of development at the lower levels. It also says a lot about the UFC’s ability or resources in identifying talent. But if the “bottom” is to develop into a forum where talent can be legitimized, it’s probably going to be heavily influenced, if not directly driven, by the UFC. What format that takes is yet to be determined but the Ultimate Fighter is not working well enough. But that’s a larger, and separate, discussion altogether.

  49. BrainSmasher on May 10th, 2012 3:41 PM

    I agree the bottom guys dont make lots of money and it does hurt developement. I just dont see a solution. Trying to make it in the UFC takes sacrifice and its just how it is. Jason Rienhardt went i believe 18-0 in the minors before goign to the UFC. It wasnt the UFC didnt know he was a bum. The UFC knew it. But the average fan doesnt realzie what goes into building stars. They UFC brough him in as fodder for other guys who will later be fodder for someone else. He was a 18-0 fighter in the eyes of everyone who dont know the story behind his record. So they used him to build 3 other fighters. UFC does this all the time. Its one of the things that most are not aware of but you need the bottom guys to get over the top guys. Bringing in all legit talented guys only assures you talented guys will get ruined early. But that was an extreme case. Its not always easy to see skill level. Watching Brandon Vera destroy a few average fighters doesnt tell you have good he will be verses good guys. You have to fight top level guys to really see how good someone is.. You can see lots of things in any fight but lots of things you need a legit match up. This is why the UFC needs the minor league fighters to fight atleast respectabel talent.

    Its like all other sports at the college level. every team has their best player. But scoring 30 points a game in division 2 isn the same as division 1. So pro teams will discredit the D2 guy. But at the same time great players come out of there all the time. In MMA figting bad fighters doesnt mean you have to suck. It just means you are taking building your resume to the extreme. All fighters are looking for fights they can win. I wouldnt want the UFC to avoid a prospect because he couldnt get a fight with a name guy. The best way is to allow the UFC to bring in rookies and test them at a seasonable pay which is what they get.

    One thing i wouldnt be against is a minimum pay for fighters who are UFC mainstays. There are guys at the low level who come and go as they try to earn their position in the UFC. A guy who only lasts in the UFC for 5 fights shouldnt be able to retire and be set for life on thos 5 poor fights. But you have guys like a Chris Lytle who was never a real title contender but was good enough to stay in the UFC a very long time. So maybe after 10 UFC fights you are assured 100K per year. But even this has its draw back and would hurt fighters. The NFL has a veteran minimum that is higher than the minimum rookie salary. Lots of vets are released even if they are better than their replacement because the team can save so much money. So that Vet minimum caused the Vet to lose his job. He would have played for less but wasnt allowed. I also wouldnt want low level fighters taking money out of the sport that is used to grow the sport. With all of that i think it is foine the way it is. It isnt purfect, nothing is. But anyone who makes it to the UFC will make a very good living while there. Even if there for a short time.

    I trained with a guy who got to the UFC almost 300,000. He isnt in the UFC any longer. He had 10 fights over 4 years and had a 5-5 record. 300k before sponsors for a .500 fighter over 4 years is very good. Pay is even better now than it was a few years ago. So pay isnt bad. Over time it will get better. I think we should allow the UFC to grow first before bleeding all the money from the sport. Unlike the NFL and other sports the UFC dont have 1000 other companies and tv networks trying to grow the sport for the UFC. They use their own money to do it. If they dont have it then the sport stagnates.

  50. iZZY on May 11th, 2012 12:58 PM

    If they are paying out that much money to Brock and GSP, then thats fair.
    I will withdraw my complaint but ONLY to an extent. The fact is as long as they keep their pay a secret noone ” have(has) enough info to argue jack shit ” and thats the biggest problem. Until they reveal those figures neither of us will back down on our point.
    Its clear that you do know your shit about MMA/UFC but I’ve never been one to shy away from an argument; especially when your first point was that I dont what im talking about.

  51. BrainSmasher on May 11th, 2012 3:57 PM

    I dont remember where it come out, maybe the SBJ. But it was mentioned that GSP makes around 5 million per fight. We do know what Overeem got paid and what his cut of the PPV was. His fight with Brock made him almost 1 million. Even if the PPV cut was the same for everyone. And those pPV buys were typical for all Brock and GSP PPVs. That means they both make atleast 1 million per fight. I would say their % is actually higher than Overeems for obvious reasons. Also Overeem only gets a cut of PPV buys over 500,000. I dont believe Brock or GSP’s limit is that high. Coutures was a sliding scale but he started getting big money after 250-300k buys. Overeem is also getting 1 million extra paid over his first 3 fights. So Overeem will make 2.5 million in his first 3 fights even if his next 2 PPVs tank and he gets no cut of them.

    Like i said before. Fighter pay is released. Some states dont release the numbers. For some reason NJSAC doesnt release their numbers. But every event the UFC holds in Las Vegas which is many. Those numbers are released. You can find those numbers as easily as going to Wikipedia. The only numbers that are not released is the few bonus’ the UFC gives privately and PPV %. But as i have shown above its not hard to guess who gets a PPV cut and who dont. We also have good guidelines on what that cut is. He get PPV buys estimates on each event. So Salaraies are know. We just dont know down to the last dime. But we know enough so fighters can figure out their market value.

    My arguement with your original post was you want to know the information and used many false information to back up your claims. Toney didnt make 1 million he made 500K. Couture didnt walk away with 100K he made over 1 million. A lot of Coutures money was dependant on PPV buys. Those buys largely depended on the name and hype of having a big name boxer like James Toney as an opponent. So its hard to argue Toney wasnt worth the money. He halped drive up the PPV rate so Couture got paid very well too.

    You also said this:

    “The whole point of disclosing fighter pay isnt to ruin the fighters privacy , its to make sure that the distribution of wealth is -if not equal- at least fair.”

    OK , you know how to get all the fighters salaries. Say you find someone who dones get what you think they should or someone gets to much. What can you do about it? Nothing! You cant do nothing about it. So “knowing” this info was pointless. You cant force a private company to do anything they dont want to do. There have been many champs in the UFC not get what they felt they deserved. They had a lot of hype and the UFC belt. The UFC still told them to take a hike. Jens Pulver, BJ Penn, Marilo Bustamante, Couture, and big name contenders like Tito and Brandon Vera all tried to force the UFC to give them more and couldnt do it.

    There are many state athletic commissions who refuse to release fighter pay. They dont buy that bs of “insuring a fair market” either. That stuff doesnt exist in other sports leagues either. Your market value in the NFL and NBA, etc is only your market value within the limits they have set for everyone to go by. Lebron James didnt get what someone was willing to pay for him or what he was worth. He got what a team was allowed to pay because the league has limits on its contracts. NFL players dont get what they are worth. They get what a team can afford within the rules of the team salary cap. This is how sports works. Knowing how it works doesnt give you the power to change it.

  52. RiddleofSteel on May 11th, 2012 5:16 PM

    In regards to american sports leagues releasing their salaries, from article: “Football, basketball and baseball are mainstream because they’re big business. And part of the reason we know they’re big business is because players salaries are made public.”

    People don’t need to know players’ salaries to know the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL are big business; people know it because of the huge crowds, ticket prices, network coverage & contracts, absurd cost of Super Bowl commercial time, release of salary caps if applicable. One doesn’t need to know the salaries of every worker at Ford, McDonalds, Canon, Apple, etc. to know they are “big” business, same goes for sports leagues.

    All the leagues really need to do is acknowledge the salary cap & how close they are. The league doesn’t need to make the salaries public to facilitate their business (ex: trades, contract negotiates), that could be kept private to just the teams & players. Public salaries also helps beat back fans wanting player X, public knowledge makes it easier to say we can’t afford player X.

  53. Light23 on May 11th, 2012 5:25 PM

    It is interesting that Jon Jones probably made more in his last fight than his brother Arthur does in a year. He apparently renegotiated his contract after the Machida fight, and if UFC 145 did 700k buys he’d have made $2mil+, whereas Arthur gets like $500k (approx, can’t remember the actual number).

    Of course, Jon Jones is the new star in MMA (probably for years to come) whereas Arthur Jones position in the NFL is nowhere near comparable.

  54. RiddleofSteel on May 11th, 2012 6:27 PM

    In regards to the comments about the next great american heavyweight boxer is on the football field comes from many people in boxing expressing that opinion (especially Teddy Atlas, Emmanuel Steward). They aren’t saying that football players could easily transition to boxing after college or pro career, they’re stating that kids aren’t even going into youth boxing: With the growth of youth sport leagues & more accessible colleges over the past few decades fewer kids are pursuing boxing.

    Boxing isn’t the only sport feeling the drain from football, because of college scholarships, it hits most sports. For example college wrestling loses a lot of potential 174lbs to heavyweight wrestlers to football. Wrestling has about 76 teams & max 9.9 scholarships per team (many don’t offer the max, many don’t even offer half). Even with higher participation in high school football, #1 at about 1.1 million to #6 wrestling about 274k (#s from national federation of high school website), football offers more opportunities to high school kids that would be competing in the upper weight divisions: the vast majority of “smaller” football players aren’t even recruited while in wrestling that heavier guy is competing for a scholarship against the lightweights.

    So, not many 190lb+ kids are going to bypass a football full ride for a 1/4 scholarship to wrestle, play baseball, etc. let alone pursue boxing which has no college path and amateur wise lends little support to anyone outside of national team level (aka the top few guys at each weight).

    Below is football scholarship info, to see the reason why football helps to thin out upper weights.
    There are 120 FBS football teams each offers 85 full scholarships (except service academies, there are 122 FCS football teams & each can offer up to 63 scholarships (FCS schools can give out partial scholarships, FBS can only give out full) and the majority of the schools give out 63; a few conferences don’t allow scholarships for football or limit the #. 156 Division II teams & up to 36 scholarships allowed.

  55. Ed Stock on June 3rd, 2012 9:28 PM

    MMA fighter pay is often disclosed, and the disclosure is dependent on the state athletic commission rules. In states that require disclosure, it becomes part of the public record. I don’t know how many states have the requirement, but I believe Nevada is one that does. The only thing not disclosed is the private “locker room bonuses” that Dana hands out to guys who got a finish, guys who impressed him, or for whatever reason. The only thing the AC cares about is that the fighter is paid the contractual amount. There is a ton of this information out there, sufficient to extrapolate in evaluating the range of the pay scale.

    One reason UFC would prefer to keep the fighter pay quiet is that it helps them to keep the owners’ share of the revenue hidden. When ESPN did that show last year about UFC’s fighter pay Fertitta claimed they paid a percentage of the gross similar to that of other sports, which was clearly nonsense. On Brock Lesnar’s last PPV, which sold about 800,000 PPVs, the gross just from PPV was in the range of $40-48 million. Add in another several million in live gate. They probably didn’t pay out 15% of the gross to the fighters. (Compare that to the big percentages paid to NFL and NBA players.)

    UFC also wouldn’t want the pay numbers known because it becomes ammunition if the fighters ever decide to organize and seek a CBA. This is, of course, not likely to happen, although if the fighters had any sort of long range view they’d probably want to bargain collectively.

    And one other reason UFC wouldn’t want the pay figures public is out of concern for fighter resentment directed both at UFC and at other fighters. It’s common to see the fighter pay numbers include at least one that makes you scratch your head: a main card fighter who gets an amount far less than a guy with either an inferior record or who fought in the prelims. While this is a result of the contract that was signed perhaps a year or two earlier, a fighter who has moved into the top 10 in the rankings might not like making less than a guy who is 1-2 in his last 3 fights.

    Sorry, I didn’t read all the comments, so pardon me if any of these points were already made. Just my two cents.

Got something to say?