Both mixed martial arts and boxing will take the main stage this Saturday night with major fights in both sports.
The UFC will finally hit network TV for the first time with a heavyweight championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, while boxing features a pay-per-view fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel-Marquez.
While there are arguments all the time when comparing MMA to boxing, one of the plateaus that mixed martial arts is still working to reach are some of the gaudy paydays that some of boxing’s premier fighters make per fight.
UFC President Dana White appeared on ESPN’s Jim Rome is Burning on Thursday and says that perceptions about the pay scale in MMA are skewed a little bit, especially when considering how long boxing has been around.
“Think about this, you talk about the sport of boxing, when we got involved in this thing, you know where it came from we’ve been talking about it. 2001 this thing was dead, the Fertitta brothers my partners financed this thing, this thing didn’t turn a profit until 2006. Every dime, $44 million these guys pumped into this thing,” White stated.
“Since 2006, people when they come at us they talk about ‘boxing money’ and Floyd (Mayweather) makes this, boxing’s been around for 100 years. We were talking about the big fights that were on, the big pay-per-view numbers they do, this thing started to turn a profit in 2006, it was funded 100-percent by my partners. Since 2006, the number’s something like we’ve made 40 millionaires, 20 something multi-millionaires, and lots of guys make tons of money.”
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has openly talked about the hefty paydays he’s received as a fighter, and several other stars like now retired former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, and Brock Lesnar seem to be living well above the poverty line.
White also points to MMA’s pay scale as more successful when looking at the bigger picture because of the number of athletes who make fairly large amounts of money. In the boxing world for every Floyd Mayweather, who pulls in $20 to $30 million per fight there are undercard and lower level boxers who pull in far, far less than some of the fighters in the UFC.
“The money is spread out through all the fighters,” said White. “It’s not two guys make millions of dollars and the rest of the guys make nothing. If you look at what we’ve been able to achieve in 10 years, and the pay scale, the way the pay scale has gone now, it’s pretty impressive.”
White also took time to answer the recent comments from UFC welterweight Nick Diaz about his ‘money problems’. Diaz has never been one to hold his tongue, but has commented on several occasions about getting paid more and being able to afford to purchase things like a car or a house.
“Trust me, I know what Nick Diaz made this year, he can buy a house. He can buy a few of them if he wants to,” White said.
For his last fight at UFC 137 just based on the reported income to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Diaz pulled in $200,000 for his base salary plus a $75,000 for his part in ‘Fight of the Night’.