UFC 184: Payout Perspective

March 4, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 184 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. In the main event, Ronda Rousey fought Cat Zingano.

Gone in 14 seconds

Zero strikes but a scramble that had Cat Zingano’s arm caught by Ronda Rousey and a straight armbar ended the night very early for the challenger.

It’s too bad considering the Zingano backstory.  Even though she was a huge underdog, you would have like to see more of a fight.

For Rousey, she has received mainstream approval and sports people asking if she’s good for the sport.  Obviously, the fact that people are talking about Rousey is good for the UFC.  The question of who should see fight next is a good question.  With Rousey taking time off to do a movie, it will be interesting to see who will be set up as her next opponent.  Beth Corriea? Jessica Eye?  One fighter not mentioned was Cris Cyborg who fought on the Invicta card the night before.

ufc 184 poster

Holm defeats Rocky

It was not the strongest of debuts for “The Preacher’s Daughter” but she sustained a very good Raquel Pennington for the decision.  Holm was one of the most talked about women’s fighters not in the UFC prior to her debut.  Now, she seems destined to challenge for Rousey’s belt.  Based on Saturday, she’s not ready yet.

Attendance and Gate

According to the post-fight press conference UFC 184 at the Staples Center drew a reported 17,654 fans for a gate of $2.675 million.  Of the UFC events held at the Staples Center, only UFC 60 which featured Matt Hughes taking on Royce Gracie did better (14,802 for $2.9 million).  The Staples Center capacity ranges from 18,000-21,000 depending on the event.


Cat Zingano ($100K) actually had a higher base salary than Ronda Rousey ($65K) although it was reported by Larry Pugmire of the LA Times that Rousey would probably clear $1 million with her cut of PPV revenues.  Also, Rousey was sponsored by Reebok, Monster and Monster Headphones.  All are UFC sponsors (presumably Monster Energy Drink has signed with the UFC).

Rousey did make $65K and $65K plus a Performance of the Night bonus to earn a total of $180,000.

In addition, Jake Ellenberger made $68K and $68K plus a Performance of the Night bonus to earn a total of $186,000.

Tony Ferguson and Tim Means earned the other $50K Performances of the Night.  There was no Fight of the Night.

The rest of the payouts are here.

Promotion of the Fight

The episodes of UFC Embedded were once again entertaining although I would argue that this time around the portion of the UFC Countdown show focusing on Cat Zingano had to be the best

The pre-weigh-in staredowns included the main eventers wearing evening gowns.

Rousey made the usual media rounds including an appearance on Jim Rome.  Something that people picked up on was a dispute between Rousey and Arianny Celeste.


Probably the biggest sponsor for Saturday was the “M” in the middle of the Octagon which replaced the usual Bud Light sponsor.  It appears that Monster Energy Drink has signed on as a sponsor for the UFC.  The former Bellator sponsor was shown prominently in the center of the Octagon as well as ring posts.

In addition, DraftKings announced a new sponsorship deal this week and was also on the Octagon mat.

Rounding out the sponsors on the Octagon mat included, Bud Light, MetroPCS, MusclePharm, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Air Force Reserve and the movie Run All Night.  Harley Davidson had the prep point.

Holly Holm had no sponsors except UFC on her ring gear.  Raquel Pennington had a pretty nice “Colorado Rocky” shirt.

Ronda Rousey had Monster, Reebok and the UFC on her ring gear.  She also donned Monster headphones upon heading to the Octagon.  Rousey also had her jeans sponsor Buffalo on her fighter poster.  Maybe Nissan of Omaha was the best sponsor for Cat Zingano as it was clearly seen as she was being submitted.  Other notable Zingano sponsors included Sepec and Kalapaki Joe’s.

Odds and Ends

The UFC indicated that the social media campaign around Ronda Rousey did well:

Big search numbers for Ronda Rousey:

Darren Rovell took an ad hoc poll on the popularity of the UFC. The fact that Rovell is gaging his followers on its popularity shows that Rousey sparked his interest in the UFC.

Other ends…

Sponsor Mike’s Seafood on Derrick Lewis’ backside was either a good idea or a bad one.

The top three cities on Google Trends that searched for “Ronda Rousey” were Quezon City, Philippines, Los Angeles and New York in that order.

UFC 184 was in theaters once again. There were anecdotal reports of packed sports bars watching the fight.

Mark Munoz did not look good on Saturday. He failed to make weight on his first try at the weigh-ins although he subsequently made it. I would have hoped that he would make it to the Philippines card and then retire. It might be best for him to retire now.

InvictaFC had a card the night before in LA with Cyborg in the main event. Yet no real mention of her after the Rousey fight.

Essentially, the PPV ended at 9:00pm PT due to the quick main event and prelim matches were shown to fill-in time.


Ronda Rousey is one of the big draws of the UFC and based on searches and media coverage she is someone that casual viewers would tune into watch. The fact that ESPN talking head shows and other sports media were talking about her 14 second win on Monday reflects her popularity. But does that mean it equates to people paying $60 to watch her fight? We shall see. The last time Rousey headlined (without another co-main) was UFC 170 which drew 350,000 PPV buys. My guestimate would be somewhere around that mark and perhaps a little more 350,000-375,000 PPV buys.

25 Responses to “UFC 184: Payout Perspective”

  1. mmaguru on March 4th, 2015 12:47 PM


    It’s nice to report the news verbatim, but analysis is sometimes required. Do you believe that Rhonda will get paid $1 million for the fight (as per LA Times) if PPV projections are at the 350K range? That would entail Rhonda getting a cut of PPV revenue in the range of $3 per buy.

    Apparently there is some side deal which has been published on BE:
    “Rumored side deals suggest that Rousey gets between $2-3 per PPV Buy over 100,000. So, if UFC 184 pulls in 350k viewers, she’d be making about $800,000”

    Alvarez, for example has a contract as follows: $1 for each “buy” between 200,000 and 400,000 buys, $2 per buy between 400,000 and 600,000 buys, and $2.50 per buy over 600,000 buys.

    I find the numbers report for Rhonda to be suspect, however, possible. I believe most contracts are tiered based, as per Alverez’s deal. 1 million sounds like a pretty number, but reporting it without analysis for a site like mmapayout may not be the best approach. This site should try to stay above sound bites.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. d on March 4th, 2015 12:56 PM

    mmaguru, Larry Pugmire pointed out in addition to ppv points she was also receiving a side deal that would push her over 1m that was unrelated to buys. You may want to do a little better research than to criticize mmapayout here.

    The Alvarez contract is a bad example to use to compare for Rousey, for starters, Couture’s contract from years ago was disclosed and showed lower goals for a higher payout, not to mention several stars have pointed out the goals are negotiated from fighter to fighter. You do realize that fighters like Tito Ortiz have admitted in the past to making around 3m per fight. This is the same Tito Ortiz who hates the UFC.

    To imply her pay is inflated when we know this event will gross tens of millions of dollars is pretty silly. She should probably be getting paid more than that, but she will certainly make over 1m.

  3. saldathief on March 4th, 2015 1:11 PM

    Al sports and entertainment salaries, net worth, and so on, are always inflated! Only a TMZ retard would believe any of that kind of bullshit. There are hundreds of examples of this, but the HYPE machine keeps spewing out numbers and people believe it without looking at all the factors.

  4. Jason Cruz on March 4th, 2015 2:43 PM


    I am not privy to the veracity of the BE report but as I indicated here it would not be far-fetched to think that she is being guaranteed a certain amount of money. Prior to this payday, she received $120K plus a $50K win bonus at UFC 175. Saturday she made $65K and $65K. Obviously, going down in pay is not what Champs (especially Rousey) does. But, we all noticed that she was sponsored by “official” UFC sponsors: Reebok, Monster Energy and Monster Headphones. Could the reported $1M payday be enveloped into those deals? Perhaps.

    Frankly, it would not be surprising if the UFC ensured her a $1M payday if it is through some combination of PPV payouts, pay and/or a straight lump sum.

  5. mmaguru on March 4th, 2015 5:42 PM

    Thanks for the response Jason. I hope you didn’t take my post as anything more than inquiry.

    d, you take my post out of context. I respect the writers at this site and Jason’s knowledge of the business of MMA. I’m simply wondering if the site should provide some analysis on reported numbers, basically what Jason responded to above. As an MBA graduate and advent follower of the MMA, I feel that research and analysis is important for a site such as this.

  6. d on March 4th, 2015 6:03 PM

    Sal must be watching a lot of TMZ. Hahahaha.

  7. d on March 4th, 2015 6:27 PM

    Sal, here is the actual reason why Burt Watson quit:


    He got into a fight with one of Rousey’s entourage. White sided with Rousey, and Watson quit.

    Your comments were TMZ worthy though.

  8. saldathief on March 4th, 2015 7:56 PM

    D believes anything he reads bahahaha thanks D you just proved my point, you are a moron and you just admitted it and didn’t even know it!! Trouble backstage with people quitting is a bad sign!! Dana has no skills and is a shitty leader!

  9. d on March 4th, 2015 8:06 PM

    So now you are claiming this story isn’t true, right? Okay, so when the story breaks and the people involved confirm it, are you going to acknowledge you are a full blown retard? Not like everyone else really needs to be told this because they already know you are retarded, but you acknowledging it would be your first step to retard recovery.

  10. BrainSmasher on March 4th, 2015 8:19 PM

    I think this event did closer to 450,000-500,000+. This fight was better promoted and much more anticipated than her event that drew 350,000. Remember Cat has a following that has been waiting for this fight a long time. Many felt she would test rousey and when so many hate Rousey that turns into PPV buys.There is a chance having the woman be top 2 fights on the card with male fighting to bring in typical UFC event buys might have turned some people away. But I think RR is getting to the point she is keeping some of those hardcore fans tuned in due to her hype and polarizing personality. So I see a significant improvent on her last headlined event.

    Also ESPN usually don’t cover the UFC unless they know it was big among the mainstream. Basically they don’t care what happens but will only cover it if it I what everyone is talking about. Then covering suggest a lot of people saw this fight. Way more than her previous fights on PPV. So ESPN made all their shows jump on it and piggyback the popularity.

    On a related note. I though all these shows would jump all over Ben Henderson fighting with a tooth pick. But because it wasn’t a popular event. I saw nothing about it on ESPN. That is the type of stories they always jump on in other sports.

  11. JamesG on March 4th, 2015 8:35 PM

    Dave Meltzer reports that early buy data is tracking very close to UFC 183.

  12. saldathief on March 4th, 2015 9:03 PM

    hey D what are you going to do now? Your research is flawed, you’re an idiot with a keyboard. Like they are really going to say to outsiders what actually happened. Its a spin game you fool!! They have non disclosure contracts with all its employee’s and vendors, look who’s the retard! Shows once again you are an amateur idiot! The UFC wont let anyone know what happened, believe what you want
    suck on this

  13. d on March 4th, 2015 9:24 PM

    My research is flawed? According to who Bob Arum, you little fag? Your research was proven flawed. You are just a retarded geriatric with a keyboard.

    Hahaha!! Idiot! You can’t sign a non disclosure contract with people with trainers, managers, media, etc. you fucking idiot. You act like this happened in an office room. This happened in front of a number of people who are not Zuffa employees you dumb fuck! Kind of hard to deny this even for Zuffa considering it was in front of this many people.

  14. bully4me on March 5th, 2015 1:59 AM

    Re the Burt Watson article from BE. Funny it’s the only and still only site to report this rumored report about Dana siding with a Ronda entourage persons disagreement with Burt. Burt has been with the UFC for over 14 yrs and is very well respected by all, including Dana and the Fertita brothers. It’s highly doubtful that IF it wasn’t Ronda in this and just part of her entourage that Dana would not side with BW. Plus it was reported by a few different sites that ther was some stuff that happened between Mark Munoz and his people that Burt took heat for. Even in the BE article they touch on that but say it wasn’t relevant. Mr Munoz even went to twitter and made some comment regarding Burt Watson. To me it seams that multiple reports on one story and a reaction form the other party involved on social media has a lot more weight than a single story based on the old “insider” says story. Just my opinion but I’m sure something happened at UFC 184 that got BW pissed enough to quit. The UFC gave the appropriate thanks for the great years goodbye via Twitter but I’d put money on the UFC is just giving Burt time to settle and will then try and get him back.

  15. mmaguru on March 5th, 2015 9:11 AM

    I would agree with Brian Smasher, 500,000+ buys is likely, especially if we take into account the possible “1 million” payout using the tiered $/buyrate formula.

  16. Jason Cruz on March 5th, 2015 9:21 AM


    No worries. I didn’t take it personally.

    For those that haven’t seen the Newsday article taking a look at Rampage’s contract, you will notice Bellator gave him certain pay guarantees. I wouldn’t be surprised if the UFC had the same guarantee in place that Ronda would clear a certain amount.


  17. saldathief on March 5th, 2015 11:47 AM
  18. saldathief on March 5th, 2015 11:50 AM

    Hey asshole D, anyone that enters the UFC backstage and is privy to any private information signs a non disclose even locals crew! fool

  19. d on March 5th, 2015 2:11 PM

    You are calling me an idiot?? Bloody Elbow made that report. You just completely fabricated a story you fucking idiot like you always do. HAHAHA!!! Fucking delusional nutjob fag for Arum.

    You keep making shit up idiot.

  20. d on March 5th, 2015 4:42 PM
  21. saldathief on March 5th, 2015 6:55 PM

    Oh Boy D, how long did you look on the internet for that? Its the same story written every year for the last 50 years about Boxing, but its on the internet it must be true, bahahahaha

  22. d on March 5th, 2015 7:08 PM

    Hahahahahaha!! Sal can’t handle the truth!

  23. saldathief on March 6th, 2015 11:03 AM

    Ha everything about UFC 184 is a fraud! Rousey’s opponent FRAUD , fraudulent figures, backstage lies. haha Its so funny how desperate the UFC is. Its actually pathetic that most people cant see it. D and his google yahoo searching is sad and pathetic! What a looser and everyone knows it. bahahah

  24. saldathief on March 6th, 2015 11:05 AM

    And how can a writers prediction of something that hasn’t happened yet one way or another be truth.. It can’t be you moron hahhah another D idiotic statement. haha fool

  25. d on March 6th, 2015 9:59 PM

    In other words, when something happens that you don’t like that is proven with evidence, you call it a fraud or lies. But when you straight up fabricate a story out of thin air, that is a fact in your mind. You fucking, smelly old dirty piece of shit.

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