UFC 157 Salaries: Hendo leads payroll at $250K

February 27, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the payouts for UFC 157.  Dan Henderson topped the list of reported salaries released by the California State Athletic Commission.

The payroll for the event was $1,173,050.

Via MMA Junkie:

Ronda Rousey: $90,000 (includes $45,000 win bonus)
def. Liz Carmouche: $12,000

Lyoto Machida: $200,000 (no win bonus)
def. Dan Henderson: $250,000

Urijah Faber: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Ivan Menjivar: $17,000

Court McGee: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Neer: $16,000

Robbie Lawler: $105,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Koscheck: $78,000

Brendan Schaub: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Lavar Johnson: $29,000

Mike Chiesa: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Anton Kuivanen: $8,000

Dennis Bermudez: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Grice: $8,000

Sam Stout: $52,000 (includes $26,000 win bonus)
def. Caros Fodor: $15,000

Kenny Robertson: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Brock Jardine: $8,000

Neil Magny: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Jon Manley: $8,000

Nah-Shon Burrell: $12,500 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Yuri Villefort: $6,550*


Payout Perspective:

Rousey starts out at a $45K/$45K salary although its likely that herself and Liz Carmouche received unreported bonuses for their performances and exceeding expectations.  Henderson and Machida were the most expensive match and one of the worst on the card. Interesting that Robbie Lawler’s base was $95,000 in his return to the UFC.  Machida and Henderson combined for $450,000 of the payroll.  Nah-Shon Burrell missed weight and despite winning he forfeited a portion of his purse to Villefort.

10 Responses to “UFC 157 Salaries: Hendo leads payroll at $250K”

  1. Random Dude on February 27th, 2013 10:53 PM

    Official attendance and gate numbers adjusted downward…

    http://www.mmajunkie.com/news/2013/02/ufc-157-officially-draws-13257-attendance-for-1350191-gate

    Reported payouts are 86.9% of the gate. I bet the UFC misses the good ‘ole days before the Lesnars and the Lombards and the Eddie Alvarez drama when they had huge gates and low total payouts like UFC 57 or UFC 78.

    Seems like it would be in both UFC and Bellator’s best interest to stop fighting amongst themselves and start colluding to drop the salaries in MMA given that MMA has peaked. Even the UFC won’t be able to afford price wars anymore especially since they have a lot of debt to pay interest on.

  2. Weezy02 on February 28th, 2013 3:20 AM

    “I bet the UFC misses the good ‘ole days before the Lesnars and the Lombards and the Eddie Alvarez drama when they had huge gates and low total payouts like UFC 57 or UFC 78.”

    Can’t speak to the rest of those names but, anectdotally, I’ve heard that Lesna got a 7 figure signing bonus and received over $4 per buy. He was the biggest draw in sports history (one of the biggest in combat sports history in terms of buys per show), but he also cost more than any talent the sport has seen.

  3. Diego on February 28th, 2013 6:03 AM

    RD,

    While I don’t know the details of Zuffa’s finances, it’s likely that whatever debt they carry, they do at a low interest rate. They probably generate a lot of cash, and they had that $200M cash infusion from selling 10% of the company a few years ago.

    I think they still have plenty of room to pay fighters. Considering that they get around $25-30 for each PPV, and they are averaging about 350k PPVs per event (I pulled that number out of my ass, I can’t be bothered to verify in the Blue Book), that’s around $9-10M in revenue for each PPV event, plus the gate. For the non-PPV events, figure they are getting $100M from Fox to put those on, so that averages out to several million per event as well.

    I’m not sure what the direct costs (non-fighter related) and overhead are, but I doubt it averages to more than $1-2M per event. That leaves a lot of room for salaries while maintaining a healthy margin. Of course, I have no idea what the real numbers are (and I would love to see a P&L & Cash Flow if anyone has one handy) but I’m guessing they are still doing OK.

  4. Felix on February 28th, 2013 6:04 AM

    Some seriously underpaid fighters here. I remember reading that Laila Ali and Christy Martin each got $2,5 mill when their PPV fight did 110K. That was 10 years ago. Zuffa makes nothing without the fighters, yet keeps almost all the money. No wonder Dana doens’t want any fighter’s unions, it means less money for him.

  5. assassin on February 28th, 2013 12:35 PM

    UFC carries about $450 million in debt. Their revolving line of credit ($50MM) was fully funded at maturity and rolled into the existing term loan ($400MM). I do not recall if the term loan matures in 2014 or 2015, but there is very minimal amortization. This is not a problem as most of these loans refinance at maturity. I do not recall the interest rate on the loan, but you are correct in that it was not considered to be excessive.

    In regards to the $200MM for the 10% stake, as I recall it was $120MM (creating a value of $1.2B for the company at that time) but the funds were paid directly to the Ferittas and Dana and did not go into the company.

  6. Minyoung Sohn on February 28th, 2013 3:12 PM

    Loan is LIBOR + 3.50% for approximately $23 million in interest expense and easily covered by the cash flow generated by the business.

    The UFC PPV model is fantastic . . . the gate covers the fighter purse while they sell ~400,000 PPV buys at $55. And the PPV itself generates a consistent gross margin. This is a cash business (with no working capital or capital investment requirements) and the business itself is becoming much more valuable as the surging growth of TV rights fees diversifies the revenue base.

    Brock Lesnar . . . or the next guy like him, you can’t pay enough. Brock’s PPV events averaged 1+ million buys. This is about 1/2 million above anything the UFC can do now that does not involve Anderson Silva. That extra volume is also worth $25+ million in gross sales. On a variable basis, it makes a ton of sense to offer one-off deals to the biggest superstars.

  7. Brain Smasher on February 28th, 2013 7:37 PM

    Either way wanting higher fighter pay is silly. The ones who deserve to be paid are being paid plenty. You shouldnt be set for life because you beat a couple bums in the minor leagues and the UFC wants to give you a chance. MMA isnt at the level yet to where it means anything to fight in the UFC. Lots of cans get in in the process of finding legit fighters. The legit fighters, those who make an impact in the UFC and last past the rookie contract, get paid plenty. They make a good living. Any more it starts to greatly effect the quality of the sport for the fans.

    The only thing i would want the UFC to do is create a pension type fund for the legends of the sport that didnt enjoy the pay todays fighters get. The Dan Severns, Tank Abbotts, Don Fryes, etc of the early UFC is why there is a UFC and MMA today. It sucks to see them out fighting until they are 50. So instead of complaining the 20th ranked guy in the 8th weight class doesnt make enough. Or someone else doesnt make enough millions. Lets take care of those who made it all possible. Stop paying current fighters so much it kills their fighting career(money always does). Create a retirement fund that pays them after they are done fighting. When they retire at 40 thye can live it up. Turning them into rock stars kills their career. This is when fighters really need that money. Outsdie of that i could careless what fighters get paid. Most willbe broke anyways because their lifestyle. Boxing proved this. The way i see it. Why kill the sport to give them the money to waste. I think fans attention to fighter salaries could be focused in a better direction. If you fight 10 fights in the UFC you should be conisdered full time employeee and open to all the benefits that should include. Anyone with less than 10 fights i see as experimental fighters or temps and shouldnt be considered even UFC fighters. Like walk ons in the preseason for the NFL who never make the team.

    If the UFC was floating in money like fans claims. They would have never sold 10% of the company. Anyone who has followed the UFC since Zuffa took over know they would never give up any part of the company or any control. For them to sell 10% to Flash and release private information to secure the 400M loan shows they needed the money. The UFC is trying to grow the UFC. They dont just stock pile money. When fighter make more money it slows down the growth of the sport. Because thats where that money is going.

  8. Diego on March 1st, 2013 7:41 AM

    BS,

    I think at the time of the sale the Fertittas needed money for their casino business. I would guess that was a big motivation for selling a stake in Zuffa. If the Zuffa organization needed the money then the cash would have gone to the company, but I believe assassin is right that the Fertittas took the cash out of the business.

  9. assassin on March 1st, 2013 11:11 AM

    Diego,

    That is my recollection. When they did the OpCo/PropCo loans in 2007 it was bad timing with a weak (new and unique) loan structure. The thinking was they could increase leverage (debt/EBITDA) under this structure, but it never really panned out. And then the recession hit and it turned out gaming was not recession proof. I don’t recall the exact terms of the 2009 restructure, but Fertittas needed to come up with just shy of $250MM to get the creditors on board and the partial sale to Flash certainly assisted them. Also, FLASH was supposed to be a driver for entry into new markets although I have know idea how helpful they actually were/are.

  10. Henry on March 1st, 2013 11:16 PM

    @assasin

    From what DW has said, the Flash relationship has been very beneficial. The company is owned by the Emirates government, so you can bet it opens doors globally.

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