UFC 181 Fighter Salaries: Lawler, Pettis, and Melendez Top Payroll

December 8, 2014
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The UFC 181 fight card delivered a plethora of exciting fights on Saturday night in Las Vegas, including another five-round war between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.

SEE ALSO: UFC 181 Fight Highlights Videos

Hendricks won the first bout between the two top 170-pounders, earning the UFC welterweight championship in the process. It was Lawler’s night this time around, however, as the 13-year veteran swayed the judges in his direction.

Anthony Pettis at UFC 181The night’s co-main event saw Anthony Pettis continue to stake his claim as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world by becoming the first man to stop Gilbert Melendez, a former Strikeforce champion with nearly as many years in the sport as Lawler.

SEE ALSO: UFC Signs CM Punk, Good or Bad for the Sport?

Not only did Lawler finally claim a UFC championship, he also topped the UFC 181 fighter payroll at $220,000 in disclosed compensation. Not far behind were Pettis and Melendez, who each nabbed $200,000 for their efforts. Pettis made $100,000 to show and $100,000 for the win, while Melendez was paid a flat fee of $200,000, with no win bonus available.

The Nevada Athletic Commission on Monday revealed the full UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II fighter salaries to MMAWeekly.com. The event took place on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

UFC 181 Fighter Salaries

Robbie Lawler: $220,000 (includes $110,000 win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks: $150,000

Anthony Pettis: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Gilbert Melendez: $200,000

Travis Browne: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Brendan Schaub: $32,000

Todd Duffee: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Hamilton: $10,000

Tony Ferguson: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Abel Trujillo: $14,000

Urijah Faber: $140,000 (includes $70,000 win bonus)
def. Francisco Rivera: $20,000

Josh Samman: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Eddie Gordon: $15,000

Corey Anderson: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Justin Jones: $8,000

Raquel Pennington: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
Ashlee Evans-Smith: $8,000

Sergio Pettis: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
Matt Hobar: $10,000

Clay Collard: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
Alex White: $10,000

UFC 181 Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $1,317,000

  • Darin

    Suddenly I don’t feel so bad for Melendez losing two title shots…Trujillo should’ve negotiated a better contract before he fought Tony. Main card guys (except cans like Hamilton) should be getting at least 20k I’d think.

    • werdumumbby

      You mean 200k?

      • Darin

        No, I meant 20k. I probably won’t live long enough to see al main card fighters bagging 200k+.

    • TheCerealKiller

      Abel Trujillo is a nobody, he doesn’t help sell the card. He doesn’t have any negotiating power.

      • Darin

        Matt Hobar is a nobody, Trujillo has crushed decent fighters.

  • Get2DaChoppa

    Love it, two title holders have a lower base salary than one guy who’s never held a belt in the UFC. Pettis the champ gets the win bonus only to make him even with the challengers base salary. Yeah UFC you don’t have an issue with fighters salaries.

    Hendricks (former champ) $150,000
    Pettis (Champ) $100,000 base + $100,000 for the win
    Melendez (Challenger) $200,000 base


    • ac

      Gil recently held them to ransom for a new contract.

      • el burro

        Yup, dude must also have a hell of an agent who is awesome at negotiations – good for him; Nate must still be kicking himself.

        • Jason Priest

          If I’m not mistaken, I think they renegotiated Nate’s contract, no? That’s how they got him to come back. That and the promise of only fighting top 5 guys.

  • cheflacsto

    You guys understand that those are only the disclosed contractual salaries. There is other money involved. Performance bonus, sponsorship and I have heard over the years that some guys get paid more than the disclosed payroll. Usually champions or co main event fighters getting a piece of the ppv action.

  • cheflacsto

    To prove my point here is an article discussing GSP getting an extra 2 million in PPV buy bonus.

    Nick Diaz didn’t just send Georges St-Pierre to his “dark place” at UFC 158 – he also propelled GSP to a personal sales record. Dave Meltzer is reporting that UFC 158 is trending to top 800,000 in pay-per-view buys, which makes it the top selling PPV headlined by St-Pierre.

    800,000+ buys for UFC 158 would place it 11th on our all-time top selling UFC PPV list. It also is the company’s best selling pay-per-view since last summer’s Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rematch. GSP’s “dark place” = $2 million plus in PPV bonuses for him. Not a bad tradeoff.

    I know not all fighter get this cash but it is out there. I am not sure how it is dispersed but don’t be fooled I think all title holders or PPV headliners get a piece of the action.

    • TheCerealKiller

      I would also bet guys like Justin Jones gets a backstage bonus for putting on a good show on short notice. I look forward to seeing him fight at 185, his normal weight with a full camp.

      • cheflacsto

        Ofcourse, they are only showing their disclosed payroll. Dana said Wanderlei made over 9 million while fighting for the UFC while he was whining about his money and he never denied it because I am sure they can prove it. He only had 9 UFC fights. There is no way his contract was a million per. In any professional sport the guys that bring in an audience always get more money.

  • dandogood

    Brendan Slob Schaub is not worth $32 grand for a fight but Elf faber is a prelim guy every PPV

  • taylor2008

    How did Melendez get $200k starting and Pettis only $100k? He got the other $100k for winning. This pay system of UFCs is a joke!