June 11, 2015
Forbes announced its annual list of highest paid athletes. As expected, boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. topped the list earning $300 million including endorsement deals. His opponent, May 2nd, Manny Pacquiao landed second on the list.
Mayweather tallied $285 million in pay from June 2014 to June 2015. He earned $100 million on fight night against Pacquiao but the revenue does not include PPV (which were an astronomical 4.4 million buys), gate ($73 million) and fight sponsorships ($13 million). According to Forbes, the fight is expected to gross $600 million once the dust settles. For his May fight, he also earned another $15 million in sponsorship money from Hublot, FanDuel and Burger King. Mayweather’s earnings also include his September 2014 fight with Marcus Maidana.
Pacquiao landed second on the list earning $160 million. The earnings include his November 2014 fight in Macau against Chris Algieri. Pacquiao earned $125 million in pay from the Mayweather fight and $23 million from his Algieri fight. He drew $148 in pay and drew $12 million in endorsements from a variety of sponsors including Nike, Foot Locker, Wonderful Pistachios, Nestle’s Butterfinger and a variety of Filipino sponsors. Prior to the event, it was reported that Pacquiao would garner $2.25 million from sponsors on his trunks alone.
It’s the third time Mayweather has topped the list and his earnings set the record for athlete earnings in a year. Tiger Woods earned $115 million in 2008 which was the previous record.
Wladimir Klitschko made the Forbes Top 100 paid athletes at #63 making $22.5 million. There were no MMA fighters on the list.
The list reflects the fact that boxing’s top stars command the most money. Overall, the sport of boxing may not pay all of its fighters well, but the earning power of Mayweather and Pacquiao show that the sport is still a draw when there are big fights. The money made by Mayweather this year is based on the split in revenue from the Pacquiao fight in which he controlled a dominant share of the money drawn from the event. It’s unlikely we’ll see another athlete earn this much money in a 12 month span for a long time.
May 26, 2015
The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the salaries from Saturday’s UFC 187. Notably, Chris Weidman and Anthony Johnson received $500,000 each for their respective fights.
Via MMA Junkie:
Daniel Cormier: $180,000 (includes $90,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Johnson: $500,000
Chris Weidman: $500,000 (includes $250,000 win bonus)
def. Vitor Belfort: $300,000
Donald Cerrone: $152,000 (includes $76,000 win bonus)
def. John Makdessi: $30,000
Andrei Arlovski: $84,000 (includes $42,000 win bonus)
def. Travis Browne: $60,000
Joseph Benavidez: $106,000 (includes $53,000 win bonus)
def. John Moraga: $28,000
John Dodson: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Zach Makovsky: $19,000
Dong Hyun Kim: $116,000 (includes $58,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Burkman: $45,000
Rafael Natal: $70,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus)
def. Uriah Hall: $14,000
Colby Covington: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Pyle: $51,000
Islam Makhachev: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Leo Kuntz: $10,000
Justin Scoggins: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Sampo: $13,000
According to MMA Junkie, Rose Namajunas received her show and win pay despite her fight with Nina Ansaroff being cancelled. Namajunas received $50,000 plus $2,000 from Ansaroff’s purse due to her missing weight. Not only was Ansaroff sick, but she missed weight and was fined her show money of $8,000. Thus, she received $6,000.
It’s unbelievable to see Johnson receive $500,000 for his fight against Cormier. This makes him the highest paid fighter of the night if you consider Weidman is making $250K/$250K. Johnson just signed a new contract and he steps up big-time in pay. His last contract had him at $53k/$53K. Not clear if this new deal is a flat fee (i.e., no win bonus) but it is sure to make other fighters up for a new contract take notice. Aside from Johnson and Weidman, Vitor Belfort, Daniel Cormier, Donald Cerrone, Joseph Benavidez and Dong Hyun Kim earned six figures on Saturday.
April 20, 2015
Sports Business Journal reports (subscription recommended) that the UFC is making a change to the way it will compensate its fighters through the Reebok deal. Instead of paying fighters based on media rankings, it will pay fighters based on a “tiered system” based on tenure or number of UFC bouts fought.
There will be 5 tiers based on the number of fights an individual has had with the UFC. The article indicates that the UFC will count fights with the WEC and Strikeforce into the number of fights an individual has fought with the organization. There will be tiers of 1-5 fights, 6-10 fights, 11-15 fights, 16-20 fights and more than 21 fights according to the article.
Title fights will be an exception to this rule as the fighters will receive greater compensation. The UFC declined comment on sharing the amount of money each tier would receive.
The change is based on speaking with fighters and managers about the new Reebok deal according to UFC senior vice president of global consumer products, Tracey Bleczinksi.
The article includes quotes from Glenn Robinson of Authentic Sports Management and Ronda Rousey’s manager Brad Slater. Robinson indicated that the sponsorship money has dried up over the years and that the Reebok deal is “more sustainable.” Slater acknowledged that despite the number of sponsors a fighter may have, the total money earned was not “a really significant number.”
The new “tiered” system appears to be a much more fair system than the media rankings which were widely criticized. The system which rewards a fighter based on time served in the UFC (or WEC or Strikeforce) is a much more stable way of determining how a fighter will be compensated through the Reebok deal. It also gives a fighter incentive to do their best to stay in the UFC. Still, the unknown is how much a fighter will be paid through the deal. The UFC does leave itself an out as the policy allows it to pay fighters more in championship bouts (e.g. McGregor at UFC 189).
The article points out that the change was based on discussions with fighters and their managers about the deal. It’s interesting that these discussions happened now and not during the time prior to the Reebok announcement. The new change should give a fighter more certainty as to what tier they are in and an expectancy as to how much they should receive from Reebok.
April 18, 2015
The New York Times reported on the unusual need for a central system to be used for the logistical payouts for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather with respect to the long-awaited fight coming May 2nd.
The article primarily relies on quotes from Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum with respect to how the gross revenues will be divided between the two fighters and other ancillary entities.
For Pacquiao, he is on the wrong-end of a 60-40 revenue split but should clear over $100 million when all is said and done. Of course, the IRS will take its share from Pacquiao (and Mayweather we assume) right off the top.
Rival networks, HBO and Showtime are co-producing and co-distributing the PPV event. They have dueling shoulder programs on its respective networks and in a unique production agreement, each of the networks’ broadcast teams will participate in the event (including dueling ring announcers). The two sides have created a central accounting system to ensure what one might believe is “integrity” in splitting the revenues from what should be the biggest event in boxing history (at least from a gross profits standpoint).
The central system will distribute the revenue in accordance with the contracts of the two fighters.
All revenue from the fight would be put into the central accounting system. This would include foreign broadcast rights, closed-circuit income, ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales, etc. The estimate of these monies per the NYT is at $130 million. In addition, PPV revenue which could gross $300 million also goes into this pot.
Most of the PPV revenue will go to the fighters minus 15% (7.5% each for HBO and Showtime). You may recall that HBO and Showtime were in vigorous negotiations with the satellite and cable companies regarding the PPV distribution for the event.
A “wrinkle” pointed out by Arum is that the winner of the fight will receive a 51-49 percent split for revenue between $160 million and $180 million. Thus, ideally the winner will receive $10.2 million while the loser gets $9.8 million. The amount over $180 million reverts to the 60-40 split in favor of Mayweather.
Despite the lofty price point for this PPV, it is believed it should break the PPV record. Similarly, the $72 million gate at the MGM will break a record as well. One might assume the same for international rights, closed-circuit money, sponsorships and merchandise. It’s clear that the logistics for splitting up the revenues required a central system (we assume with necessary checks, balances and protocols).
April 15, 2015
MMA Fighting reports the Bellator 136 salaries which were disclosed by the California State Athletic Comission. Lightweight champion Will Brooks was the top paid fighter earning $72,000.
Brooks, who earned $36,000 for show and $36,000 for the win, successfully defended his title against Dave Jansen who made $12,000. The event took place Friday at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California.
Via MMA Fighting:
Will Brooks: ($36,000 + $36,000 = $72,000) def. Dave Jansen ($12,000)
Rafael Carvalho ($4,000 + $4,000 = $8,000) def. Joe Schilling ($27,000)
Marcin Held ($13,000 + $13,000 = $26,000) def. Alexander Sarnavskiy($11,000)
Tony Johnson ($8,000 + $8,000 = $16,000) def. Alexander Volkov($10,000)
John Teixeira ($4,000 + $4,000 = $8,000) def. Fabricio Guerreiro($8,000)
Saad Awad ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Rob Sinclair ($8,000)
Joey Beltran ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Brian Rogers ($10,000)
AJ McKee ($1,500 + $1,5000 = $3,000) def. Marcos Bonilla ($1,000)
Chad George ($1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000) def. Mark Vorgeas ($2,000)
Justin Goverale ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Jay Bogan ($1,500)
Steve Ramirez ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Jonathan Santa Maria($2,500)
Chris Herrera ($1,500) vs. Luc Bondole ($1,500) (DRAW)
Cleber Luciano ($3,000 + $3,000 = $6,000) def. Aaron Miller ($2,000)
Clearly Bellator pay is much less than UFC pay. Brooks’ base of $36,000 is on par with recent payouts of lightweights Joe Lauzon’s at UFC 183 and Danny Castillo at UFC 182. Of course, there are other fighters on the UFC roster that make a higher base than Brooks. Schilling made $27,000 in his loss which was the second highest show purse on the card.
April 6, 2015
MMA Junkie reports the payouts from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 63. With his win Clay Guida earned the most out of the reported salaries from fight roster on Saturday.
In addition to Guida, main event winner Chad Mendes earned $96,000 and Dustin Poirier earned $68,000 for his win.
Via MMA Junkie:
Chad Mendes: $96,000 (includes $48,000 win bonus)
def. Ricardo Lamas: $35,000
Al Iaquinta: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. Jorge Masvidal: $51,000
Michael Chiesa: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Mitch Clarke: $12,000
Julianna Pena: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Milana Dudieva: $10,000
Clay Guida: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Robbie Peralta: $18,000
Dustin Poirier: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)
def. Diego Ferreira: $15,000
Liz Carmouche: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Lauren Murphy: $8,000
Alexander Yakovlev: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Gray Maynard: $48,000
Timothy Johnson: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Shamil Abdurahimov: $12,000
Ron Stallings: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Justin Jones: $8,000
With the bonuses, Poirier ($118K) and Mendes ($146K) joined Guida in making six figures for the afternoon. Some notable information from the disclosed payouts from Saturday. Gray Maynard earned $48,000 from his fight on the Prelims. In her 5th fight in the UFC Liz Carmouche earned the same amount ($17K show) as she did from her last fight at UFC on Fox 11. She has only gone up $5,000 since her fight with Ronda Rousey at UFC 157 (Carmouche made a reported $12K). The payouts were disclosed by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
March 7, 2015
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released the purses for tonight’s inaugural Premier Boxing Champions broadcast on NBC. Its boxing’s return to prime time on network television and the purses reflect the big fight feel for the event.
Keith Thurman – $1.5 million vs. Roberto Guerrero – $1.225 million
Adrien Broner – $1.25 million vs. John Milina – $450,000
Abner Mares – $500,00 vs. Arturo Santos Reyes – $20,000
(h/t: Bad Left Hook)
Guerrero made $3 million in his fight against Floyd Mayweather in May 2013. He made $1 million in his last fight, a slugfest against Yoshihiro Kamegai. Keith Thurman made $500,000 this past December. Notably, he turned down an offer from Roc Nation Sports which would have earned him $2 million per fight according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael.
It will be a big night for boxing and it will be interesting to see how the ratings will do.
March 6, 2015
For those that may have missed it, Invicta FC announced the payouts for its event last Friday in Los Angeles. As expected, Cris “Cyborg” Justino was the clear money winner hear making $90,000.
The California State Athletic Commission revealed the payouts ( via MMA Mania):
Cristiane Justino: $90,000 (includes $45,000 win bonus)
Charmaine Tweet: $6,000
Alexa Grasso: $5,000 (includes $2,500 win bonus)
Mizuki Inoue: $2,000
DeAnna Bennett: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
Norma Rueda Center: $1,500
Irene Aldana: $3,400 (includes $1,400 win bonus)
Colleen Schneider: $3,000
Jamie Moyle: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
J.J. Aldrich: $1,250
Amy Cadwell Montenegro: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
Brianna Van Buren: $1,500
Christine Stanley: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
Laura Salazar: $1,500
Aspen Ladd: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
Ana Carolina Vidal: $1,500
It was a modest payroll for InvictaFC but as expected. It’s hard to compare the UFC payroll to InvictaFC but it’s clear that Cyborg is being paid comparable to UFC fighters. The question is whether she will make the move to the UFC.
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.
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:
— Shanda (@UFC_Shanda) March 2, 2015
Big search numbers for Ronda Rousey:
Ronda Rousey finished w/ 1M Google searches Saturday. Another 200k for RR plus 200k more for UFC 184 on Friday. 50k for Cat Zingano Thursday
— Adam Swift (@AdamMSwift) March 2, 2015
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.
POLL RESULTS (700+ VOTES): Only 23% more interested in UFC than they say they were 3 years ago pic.twitter.com/DgyDjvtLYH
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 1, 2015
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.
February 27, 2015
Lance Pugmire of the LA Times tweeted that Ronda Rousey will be making less of a guaranteed purse than Cat Zingano at UFC 184. However, with her PPV cut and deals with official UFC sponsors, Rousey will clear $1 million on Saturday.
According to tweets from Pugmire, Rousey will make $65K to show and $65K to win. The challenger will get $100,000 to show plus $100,000 if she wins. There is no information on whether Zingano gets a PPV cut. However, Rousey is said to have a PPV cut which should get her over $1 million.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) February 27, 2015
As many probably saw at the weigh-ins, this will be the first fight that Rousey will don Reebok. She received an individual deal from the soon-to-be official clothing sponsor of the UFC. In the past, she also has had deals with official UFC sponsors Monster Headphones and MetroPCS.
Zingano will make more than 5x what she made at UFC 178 when she earned $9K and $9K against Amanda Nunes. Thus, last September she was only guaranteed $9,000. Just 5 months later she will be guaranteed more than 10 times that amount. So, no lockstep raises for Cat. Good for her.
It’s interesting to note that Rousey last made $120K to show plus a $50K win bonus over Alexis Davis at UFC 175 this past July. It appears to be a restructure of her pay here so that she will receive more from either sponsors and/or her PPV cut.