UFC 139 Fighter Salaries: Cung Le Tops the Payroll

November 21, 2011
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The California State Athletic Commission on Monday released the UFC 139 fighter salaries.

Dan Henderson scored a unanimous decision victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in what most are calling an instant classic. It was a stunning back-and-forth battle over five rounds, both fighters nearly succumbing on multiple occasions.

UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson took place Saturday, Nov. 19, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

The following figures are based on the fighter salary information that promoters are required by law to submit to the state athletic commissions, including the winners’ bonuses.

Although mixed martial arts fighters do not have collective bargaining or a union, the fighters’ salaries are still public record, just as with every other major sport in the United States. Any undisclosed bonuses that a promoter also pays its fighters, but does not disclose to the athletic commissions (specifically, pay-per-view bonuses, fight of the night bonuses, etc.), are not included in the figures below.


Dan Henderson: $250,000 (no win bonus)
def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua: $165,000

Wanderlei Silva: $200,000 (no win bonus)
def. Cung Le: $350,000

Urijah Faber: $64,000 (includes $32,000 win bonus)
def. Brian Bowles: $19,000

Martin Kampmann: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Rick Story: $19,000

Stephan Bonnar: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)
def. Kyle Kingsbury: $10,000

Ryan Bader: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Jason Brilz: $13,000

Michael McDonald: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Alex Soto: $6,000

Chris Weidman: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Tom Lawlor: $12,000

Gleison Tibau: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Rafael Dos Anjos: $16,000

Miguel Torres: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Nick Pace: $4,000

Seth Baczynski: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Brown: $12,000

Danny Castillo: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Shamar Bailey: $8,000


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  • sb

    Cung Le must have a hell of an agent!

    • ajmadic

      haha, no doubt.

    • WhyFourJay

      Seriously! I love Cung but he isn’t a draw like other fighters… That’s WAAAAAY too much money..

      • RonnieV

        Two things to keep in mind. 1). Cung Le is probably getting paid on his Strikeforce contract. 2). Cung Le is from San Jose, and he has a huge following there.

  • MMAWeekly Staff

    I think since he got into show biz he got a hold of a real agent used to fetching big bucks. MMA still has some shady shady characters who claim they have agent skills but in reality all they have is a couple political science classes under their belt from the local community college.

  • cung le is not worth that much since the first time i saw him i new he sucks smith ko him come on ufc went low with payin him that much now i now why dan hendo left last time

  • howardhuang

    The recent former Strikeforce guys got paid, I think probably because Scott Coker laid the groundwork.

    • wonggfan

      Cung Le, as you know, has been in movies.

      Although as an MMA fighter he is less established than Wandy, I am sure his market value is pretty high.

      Man..these figures are peanuts compared to what boxers make. Fighters need to get paid more for sure.

      • afk

        The reality people like you don’t seem to understand is that the fighters can try all they want to go and make “Boxer money.” Nobody is stopping them. Fact of the matter is that there are only a handful of high end boxers making millions and it’s because they promote themselves. They are their own UFC. So if Anderson Silva and Jon Jones aren’t happy getting paid what they currently are, they can go settle it outside of the octagon at ANDYJONES FIGHTING SERIES or whatever the hell they want to call it.

        They can put up the millions to get the show going and then make millions for their financial risk like the UFC and Golden Boy Promotions do.

        Somebody who gets to work out every day and compete 2-4 times a year for 25 minutes and makes over 60k is a good profession compared to 95% of the world.

        I’m not saying the average bottom fighter couldn’t stand a few more thousand here and there but on the hole it’s not a lot to complain about in my opinion.

        • KBEsq

          I’ve already posted on this at length, but totally agree with afk.

          Who cares if its “peanuts” compared to what SOME boxers make. All that matters is it’s NOT peanuts in general. It’s MUCH more than 99% of Americans make who have to get up every morning and don’t get to exercise and feel good for their job.

          I think it’s funny that, generally speaking, the fighters don’t complain and the fans do. That’s so ironic. I would bet money that Wonggfan makes like 30k doing data entry or something, and he’s whining about fighters making six figures.

      • chrislovely

        Yes Boxers get paid way to much. But how in the hell are Boxers getting paid that much more than UFC fighters. UFC is the biggest thing out. The UFC pay per views break boxing records everytime they have a card. So the big question? Where in the hell is all the money going????

  • adice89

    Im thinking the reason why he got paid so much is because he is a much diffrent fighter than everyone else, hes unique. Nobody has entered the UFC and brought traditional martial arts and used just there own technique to finish guys and win fights (within the past few years). The downfall for Le is his stamina, and unfortunatly he needs to win fighters in order to get paid like that again, expect his pay to not be like that again unless he wins impressivly against several opponents. Thats if he fights again.

  • tomkevill

    some guys like wanderlei are sponsored by xyience which is owned by Lorenzo ferttita i think. Also some guys may get ppv %. This really isnt any indication of what they actually make for stepping in the octagon. Just like what maywheather and pac get paid is no indication of what most boxers really make.

    • Darren2112

      agreed! All we are seeing here is how much they reported to the CSAC, which is really the minimum guaranteed amount. Dana always yalks about their locker room bonuses, plus there is PPV revenue sharing, and sponsorship money. Hendo, Shogun and Wandy all made real close to a Million bucks each on this PPV. And most of the other main card guys – Faber, Kampmann, Bonner made a good six figures for this fight. Factoring their salary, bonus, PPV and sponsorships.

  • KBEsq

    Yeah, I think there are a couple of possibilities why Le made so much. Either he was under the Strikeforce contract (SF had to pay higher draw fighters more than the UFC, or why would they stay there), or Dana thought Le would be some kind of huge Asian draw where others have failed to put wins together.

    I did think it was funny that Silva got a much warmer welcome even in Le’s backyard. Either way, Le is gonna take a pay cut if he wants to stick around.