Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

- UFC FIGHTER SALARIES FOR 2006

Posted on by MMAWeekly.com Staff

by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
Over the past few days, MMAWeekly has given you an in-depth look at the UFC’s pay-per-view and live gate revenue information for the first half of 2006. Today, we conclude this series with an in-depth look at the salaries that UFC fighters were paid in the first half of 2006.

As with any professional sport, the salaries of UFC fighters are public record and should be easily accessible to anyone who wants to know them. It has been that way with legitimate professional sports for decades, and there’s no reason that MMA should be any different if it is indeed a legitimate professional sport (which it is).

As documented in MMAWeekly’s articles on the UFC’s live gate and PPV revenue figures, the UFC broke its own all-time records for live gate revenue one time in the first half of 2006 (with UFC 57), while also breaking its own all-time records for PPV sales three different times in the first half of 2006 (first with UFC 57, then again with UFC 59, and then once again with UFC 60).

We’re not going to re-print all of the UFC salaries from 2005, but you can access all of them for free in our News Archives. In total, the combined payroll for the fighters on the average UFC PPV event in 2005 was $476,000. The combined payroll for the fighters on the average UFC-Spike TV event in 2005 was $176,000.

Known and Unknown Factors

Before we get started with the fighter salaries, it’s important to make a distinction between what’s known and what isn’t known. One of the things that we do not know is the amount of money that Spike TV pays the UFC for every live fight special that the UFC produces for the network, so we can’t include those figures in the article when we’re listing an event’s gross revenue vs. an event’s gross fighter payroll.

There is other information that is not included because it’s not known, such as how the UFC splits revenue with its PPV partners, or how much money the UFC makes in sponsorships for any given PPV event.

We also do not know the dollar amounts for what UFC president Dana White reportedly referred to in a recent radio interview as the “secret money” that the UFC pays its top PPV main event fighters for high-selling PPV events (fighters including Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, and Matt Hughes). Zuffa did not disclose that information for this article.

Zuffa was also given the opportunity to disclose which fighters got the $5,000 to $10,000 bonus amounts for having the single best fight, best knockout, or best submission on any given UFC event, but Zuffa also did not disclose that information. The salaries in this article are the disclosed fighter salaries, meaning the salaries that the UFC disclosed to the state athletic commissions.

The things that we do know include the live gate figures for each event (as covered in more detail in the live gate article), the PPV sales figures for each event (as covered in more detail in the PPV sales article), the UFC’s average advertising rates for its Spike TV shows (which were published in a TV trade journal that cited Neilsen Monitor Plus), and the disclosed fighter salaries that the UFC is, by law, required to give to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and California State Athletic Commission.

Ad Rates and TUF Winner’s Contracts

Regarding the TV ad rates in particular, the average price for a 30-second commercial on UFC programming is $3,500, so the gross advertising revenue is $112,000 per hour. Therefore, the gross advertising revenue for a UFC broadcast is $224,000 if it’s a two-hour broadcast; or $336,000 if it’s a three-hour broadcast.

Also, we’ve gotten many questions from readers in recent weeks and months asking how much the winners of The Ultimate Fighter actually make with their supposedly “six-figure” deals. We’ve answered this question before, but it’s worth briefly recapping one more time. If you say to the average person that you’re making “six figures” in salary from a particular employer, that is widely regarded to mean that you are making in excess of $100,000 per year from that employer. However, that is not the case with the TUF winner’s contracts.

As previously reported by MMAWeekly, each TUF winner’s contract bind the fighter exclusively to the UFC for three years, with three fights per year. In the first year, the salary for each fight is $12,000 to fight and an additional $12,000 to win. Fighting income for the year would range from $36,000 to $72,000, depending on wins and losses. In the second year, it’s $16,000 and $16,000 per fight, meaning that fighting income for the year would range from $48,000 to $96,000. In the third year, it’s $22,000 and $22,000 per fight, meaning that fighting income for the year would range from $66,000 to $122,000. That is actually a six-figure income in one year out of three, or zero years out of three, depending on wins and losses.

Through three seasons, the nine TUF fighters who have gotten winner’s contracts are Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Diego Sanchez, Rashad Evans, Joe Stevenson, Luke Cummo, Michael Bisping, Kendall Grove, and Ed Herman. Fighters from TUF who did not win the competition generally get paid no less than $5,000 for each of their UFC fights (with rare exceptions), while the UFC’s minimum for fighters who have not been on The Ultimate Fighter is still $2,000. This can be seen as recently as UFC 61 earlier this month.

Fighter Salaries

Here is a full listing of each fighter’s pay on every UFC event that has taken place so far in 2006, along with the disclosed fighter payroll for all of the fighters combined on each event, as well as the known event revenue for each show.

(For more information on the known event revenue, including the pay-per-view buyrate numbers and paid attendance figures that enabled us to calculate the statistics below, please check out our previous articles on the UFC’s PPV revenue and live gate totals.)

There will be no editorializing in this article, so it is left to you, the reader, to reach your own judgments as to whether you believe that UFC fighters in general are underpaid, overpaid, or fairly compensated for their services.

UFC Ultimate Fight Night 3
Event took place on January 16, 2006 and aired on Spike TV
-Tim Sylvia: $80,000 (defeated Assuerio Silva in main event)
-Stephan Bonnar: $24,000 (defeated James Irvin)
-Jason Von Flue: $10,000 (defeated Alex Karalexis)
-Josh Burkman: $10,000 (defeated Drew Fickett)
-Chris Leben: $10,000 (defeated Jorge Rivera)
-Duane Ludwig: $8,000 (defeated Jonathan Goulet)
-Assuerio Silva: $8,000 (lost to Tim Sylvia in main event)
-Spencer Fisher: $8,000 (defeated Aaron Riley)
-Drew Fickett: $6,000 (lost to Josh Burkman)
-James Irvin: $5,000 (lost to Stephan Bonnar)
-Jorge Rivera: $5,000 (lost to Chris Leben)
-Alex Karalexis: $3,000 (lost to Jason Von Flue)
-Aaron Riley: $3,000 (lost to Spencer Fisher)
-Jonathan Goulet: $3,000 (lost to Duane Ludwig)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $183,000
Known Event Revenue: $368,600 (includes live gate of $144,600 and TV ad revenue of $224,000)

UFC 57
Event took place on February 4, 2006 and aired on PPV
-Chuck Liddell: $250,000 (defeated Randy Couture in main event)
-Randy Couture: $225,000 (lost to Chuck Liddell in main event)
-Renato “Babalu” Sobral: $32,000 (defeated Mike Van Arsdale)
-Frank Mir: $26,000 (lost to Marcio Cruz)
-Paul Buentello: $22,000 (beat Gilbert Aldana)
-Joe Riggs: $20,000 (defeated Nick Diaz)
-Mike Van Arsdale: $16,000 (lost to Renato Sobral)
-Keith Jardine: $10,000 (defeated Mike Whitehead)
-Nick Diaz: $10,000 (lost to Joe Riggs)
-Alessio Sakara: $10,000 (defeated Elvis Sinosic)
-Brandon Vera: $10,000 (defeated Justin Eilers)
-Marcio Cruz: $8,000 (defeated Frank Mir)
-Elvis Sinosic: $6,000 (lost to Alessio Sakara)
-Jeff Monson: $6,000 (defeated Branden Lee Hinkle)
-Mike Whitehead: $5,000 (lost to Keith Jardine)
-Justin Eilers: $5,000 (lost to Brandon Vera)
-Branden Lee Hinkle: $4,000 (lost to Jeff Monson)
-Gilbert Aldana: $2,000 (lost to Paul Buentello)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $667,000
Known Event Revenue: $19.36 million to $19.76 million (includes PPV revenue of $15.98 million to $16.38 million; plus live gate of $3,382,400)

UFC 58
Event took place on March 4, 2006 and aired on PPV
-Georges St. Pierre: $48,000 (defeated BJ Penn)
-Rich Franklin: $32,000 (defeated David Loiseau in main event)
-Nathan Marquardt: $30,000 (defeated Joe Doerksen)
-BJ Penn: $25,000 (lost to Georges St. Pierre)
-Tom Murphy: $10,000 (defeated Icho Larenas)
-Mike Swick: $10,000 (defeated Steve Vigneault)
-David Loiseau: $9,000 (lost to Rich Franklin in main event)
-Spencer Fisher: $8,000 (lost to Sam Stout)
-Yves Edwards: $8,000 (lost to Mark Hominick)
-Rob Macdonald: $5,000 (lost to Jason Lambert)
-Joe Doerksen: $5,000 (lost to Nathan Marquardt)
-Jason Lambert: $4,000 (defeated Jason Macdonald)
-Mark Hominick: $4,000 (defeated Yves Edwards)
-Sam Stout: $4,000 (defeated Spencer Fisher)
-Icho Larenas: $3,000 (lost to Tom Murphy)
-Steve Vigneault: $2,000 (lost to Mike Swick)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $207,000
Known Event Revenue: $11.90 million to $12.25 million (includes PPV revenue of $10.14 million to $10.49 million; plus live gate of $1,758,450)

UFC Ultimate Fight Night 4
Event took place on April 6, 2006 and aired on Spike TV
-Stephan Bonnar: $24,000 (defeated Keith Jardine in main event)
-Luke Cummo: $24,000 (defeated Jason Von Flue)
-Rashad Evans: $24,000 (defeated Sam Hoger)
-Josh Koscheck: $14,000 (defeated Ansar Chalangov)
-Chris Leben: $14,000 (defeated Luigi Fioravanti)
-Joe Stevenson: $12,000 (lost to Josh Neer)
-Josh Neer: $8,000 (defeated Joe Stevenson)
-Jon Fitch: $8,000 (defeated Josh Burkman)
-Sam Hoger: $7,000 (lost to Rashad Evans)
-Dan Christison: $6,000 (defeated Brad Imes)
-Brad Imes: $6,000 (lost to Dan Christison)
-Chael Sonnen: $6,000 (defeated Trevor Prangley)
-Trevor Prangley: $6,000 (lost to Chael Sonnen)
-Jason Von Flue: $5,000 (lost to Luke Cummo)
-Luigi Fioravanti: $5,000 (lost to Chris Leben)
-Keith Jardine: $5,000 (lost to Stephan Bonnar in main event)
-Josh Burkman: $5,000 (lost to Jon Fitch)
-Ansar Chalangov: $2,000 (lost to Josh Koscheck)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $181,000
Known Event Revenue: $423,150 (includes live gate of $199,150 and TV ad revenue of $224,000)

UFC 59
Event took place on April 15, 2006 and aired on PPV
-Tito Ortiz: $200,000 (defeated Forrest Griffin in co-main event)
-Andrei Arlovski: $90,000 (lost to Tim Sylvia in co-main event)
-Tim Sylvia: $90,000 (defeated Andrei Arlovski in co-main event)
-Evan Tanner: $40,000 (defeated Justin Levens)
-Karo Parisyan: $16,000 (defeated Nick Thompson)
-Sean Sherk: $16,000 (defeated Nick Diaz)
-Forrest Griffin: $16,000 (lost to Tito Ortiz in co-main event)
-David Terrell: $12,000 (defeated Scott Smith)
-Nick Diaz: $10,000 (lost to Sean Sherk)
-Jeff Monson: $10,000 (defeated Marcio Cruz)
-Jason Lambert: $8,000 (defeated Terry Martin)
-Thiago Alves: $8,000 (defeated Derrick Noble)
-Justin Levens: $5,000 (lost to Evan Tanner)
-Nick Thompson: $5,000 (lost to Karo Parisyan)
-Marcio Cruz: $5,000 (lost to Jeff Monson)
-Derrick Noble: $3,000 (lost to Thiago Alves)
-Scott Smith: $3,000 (lost to David Terrell)
-Terry Martin: $2,000 (lost to Jason Lambert)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $539,000
Known Event Revenue: $18.77 million to $19.57 million (includes PPV revenue of $16.58 million to $17.38 million; plus live gate of $2,191,450)

UFC 60 Fighter Salaries
Event took place on May 27, 2006 and aired on PPV
-Royce Gracie: $400,000 (lost to Matt Hughes in main event)
-Matt Hughes: $110,000 (defeated Royce Gracie in main event)
-Jeremy Horn: $70,000 (defeated Chael Sonnen)
-Brandon Vera: $32,000 (defeated Assuerio Silva)
-Diego Sanchez: $24,000 (defeated John Alessio)
-Mike Swick: $14,000 (defeated Joe Riggs)
-Spencer Fisher: $14,000 (defeated Matt Wiman)
-Joe Riggs: $12,000 (lost to Mike Swick)
-Gabriel Gonzaga: $10,000 (defeated Fabiano Scherner)
-Melvin Guillard: $10,000 (defeated Rick Davis)
-Alessio Sakara: $10,000 (lost to Dean Lister)
-Dean Lister: $10,000 (defeated Alessio Sakara)
-Assuerio Silva: $8,000 (lost to Brandon Vera)
-Chael Sonnen: $5,000 (lost to Jeremy Horn)
-Fabiano Scherner: $3,000 (lost to Gabriel Gonzaga)
-Matt Wiman: $3,000 (lost to Spencer Fisher)
-John Alessio: $3,000 (lost to Diego Sanchez)
-Rick Davis: $2,000 (lost to Melvin Guillard)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $740,000
Known Event Revenue: $26.87 million (includes PPV revenue of $23.97 million; plus live gate of $2,900,090)

UFC 60 Note: The final PPV buyrate for UFC 60 is not yet available because smaller cable companies throughout the United States have not yet reported their PPV sales. Therefore, we are using the “absolute minimum” number for gross PPV revenue, based on the numbers that are known for UFC 60 (see the PPV article for more details). The final buyrate for the UFC 60 PPV will be higher once all of the late buys from smaller cable companies throughout the U.S. have been counted.

UFC Ultimate Finale 3
Event took place on June 24, 2006 and aired on Spike TV
-Kenny Florian: $12,000 (defeated Sam Stout in main event)
-Michael Bisping: $10,000 (defeated Josh Haynes)
-Kendall Grove: $10,000 (defeated Ed Herman)
-Rory Singer: $10,000 (defeated Ross Pointon)
-Mike Nickels: $10,000 (defeated Wes Combs)
-Matt Hamill: $10,000 (defeated Jesse Forbes)
-Kalib Starnes: $10,000 (defeated Danny Abaddi)
-Keith Jardine: $10,000 (defeated Wilson Gouveia)
-Solomon Hutcherson: $5,000 (lost to Rory Singer)
-Josh Haynes: $5,000 (lost to Michael Bisping)
-Ed Herman: $5,000 (lost to Kendall Grove)
-Ross Pointon: $5,000 (lost to Rory Singer)
-Jesse Forbes: $5,000 (lost to Matt Hamill)
-Danny Abaddi: $5,000 (lost to Kalib Starnes)
-Luigi Fioravanti: $4,000 (defeated Solomon Hutcherson)
-Sam Stout: $4,000 (lost to Kenny Florian in main event)
-Wes Combs: $2,000 (lost to Mike Nickels)
-Wilson Gouveia: $2,000 (lost to Keith Jardine)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $124,000
Known Event Revenue: $589,214 (includes live gate of $253,214 and TV ad revenue of $336,000)

UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5
Event took place on June 28, 2006 and aired on Spike TV
-Anderson Silva: $36,000 (defeated Chris Leben in main event)
-Rashad Evans: $24,000 (defeated Stephan Bonnar)
-Stephan Bonnar: $16,000 (lost to Rashad Evans)
-Jon Fitch: $16,000 (defeated Thiago Alves)
-Josh Koscheck: $14,000 (defeated Dave Menne)
-Jason Lambert: $14,000 (defeated Branden Lee Hinkle)
-Luke Cummo: $12,000 (lost to Jonathan Goulet)
-Rob MacDonald: $10,000 (defeated Kristian Rothaermel)
-Mark Hominick: $8,000 (defeated Jorge Gurgel)
-Chris Leben: $7,000 (lost to Anderson Silva in main event)
-Thiago Alves: $6,000 (lost to Jon Fitch)
-Jonathan Goulet: $6,000 (defeated Luke Cummo)
-Kristian Rothaermel: $5,000 (lost to Rob MacDonald)
-Jorge Gurgel: $5,000 (lost to Mark Hominick)
-Justin Levens: $5,000 (lost to Jorge Santiago)
-Dave Menne: $5,000 (lost to Josh Koscheck)
-Branden Lee Hinkle: $4,000 (lost to Jason Lambert)
-Jorge Santiago: $4,000 (defeated Justin Levens)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $197,000
Known Event Revenue: $358,368 (includes live gate of $134,368 and TV ad revenue of $224,000)

UFC 61 Fighter Salaries
Event took place on July 8, 2006 and aired on PPV
-Tito Ortiz: $210,000 (defeated Ken Shamrock in co-main event)
-Tim Sylvia: $120,000 (defeated Andrei Arlovski in co-main event)
-Ken Shamrock: $100,000 (lost to Tito Ortiz in co-main event)
-Andrei Arlovski: $90,000 (lost to Tim Sylvia in co-main event)
-Frank Mir: $56,000 (defeated Dan Christison)
-Joe Stevenson: $24,000 (defeated Yves Edwards)
-Jeff Monson: $20,000 (defeated Anthony Perosh)
-Drew Fickett: $12,000 (defeated Kurt Pellegrino)
-Josh Burkman: $10,000 (defeated Josh Neer)
-Hermes Franca: $8,000 (defeated Joe Jordan)
-Yves Edwards: $8,000 (lost to Joe Stevenson)
-Josh Neer: $6,000 (lost to Josh Burkman)
-Cheick Kongo: $6,000 (defeated Gilbert Aldana)
-Dan Christison: $5,000 (lost to Frank Mir)
-Joe Jordan: $4,000 (lost to Hermes Franca)
-Anthony Perosh: $3,000 (lost to Jeff Monson)
-Gilbert Aldana: $2,000 (lost to Cheick Kongo)
-Kurt Pellegrino: $2,000 (lost to Drew Fickett)
Gross Totals:
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $676,000
Known Event Revenue: Unknown (live gate figures not yet available; PPV sales figures not yet available)

Send feedback to ivantrembow@mmaweekly.com

Click Login To Post A Comment Login