UFC on Fox 5 Fighter Salaries; Shogun and BJ Penn Top Payroll in Losing Efforts

December 12, 2012
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Mauricio Shogun Rua and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5The UFC on Fox 5 fighter salaries were released to MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday by the Washington Department of Licensing.

Benson Henderson continued his reign atop the UFC lightweight division, dominating Nate Diaz, while Alexander Gustafsson and Rory MacDonald continued their ascension up the ranks of their respective divisions.

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.

UFC on Fox 5 Fighter Salaries

Benson Henderson: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Nate Diaz: $50,000

Alexander Gustafsson: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Mauricio Rua: $175,000

Rory MacDonald: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. BJ Penn: $150,000

Matt Brown: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Swick: $48,000

Yves Edwards: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Jeremy Stephens: $24,000

Raphael Assuncao: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Easton: $14,000

Ramsey Nijem: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Proctor: $8,000

Daron Cruickshank: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
Henry Martinez: $8,000

Abel Trujillo: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Marcus LeVesseur: $8,000

Dennis Siver: $62,000 (includes $31,000 win bonus)
def. Nam Phan: $10,000

Scott Jorgensen: $41,000 (includes $20,500 win bonus)
def. John Albert: $10,000

UFC on Fox 5 Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $960,000

  • spacemtn61

    how is it a relic like Penn makes $150,000 to show up and get his ass kicked, and the Champ Henderson get’s $78,000 for defending his belt?

    • Cptmats

      Because BJ Penn sells fights and has been around for a lot longer than Henderson.

      • spacemtn61

        I have never bought a pay per view because BJ Penn and I sure did not watch this card because of the Penn vs McDonald fight. I watch it to see Diaz get handled. Shogun is more relevant than Penn, and he didn’t make as much as Penn.

        • zztoppppp

          Can you read numbers? Shogun made $25,000 more than Penn. And all of you don’t realize that each of these fighters made at least 5 figures from sponsorship. I would be surprised if Henderson doesn’t get over 100 grand from Dethrone for wearing that shirt.

          • Ty Lorts

            Yes but they all get endorsements. 100k sounds high. If they all get endorsements then that means the fight money should go back to merit. But who knows what they get paid just for working for UFC and what deals exist that don’t get published

        • Ty Lorts

          I love Henderson, but BJ Penn might still be the most popular fighter in the world next to Silva.

          • Cptmats

            Sry man, GSP is the undisputed king of PPV

        • adam1848

          Did you not hear the crowd? BJ was cheered far more than anyone else. A lot of people have bought a lot of PPV’s because of BJ Penn…just because you are not a fan doesn’t change what a huge draw he is for the sport.

          • spacemtn61

            My point is Henderson and Diaz was the main event, the head of the card. That is who I think should be the highest paid.

    • Tom Jolley

      Its crazy that the Camp doesn’t make more than the rest, but its nice to
      see that the older guys on their way out are getting more money.

    • King_DG

      You must be new to MMA, Welcome!

      • spacemtn61

        I have watched the UFC since their first pay-per-view. BJ Penn was relevant 5 years ago and my whole point is why is the main card not the highest paid card? If you’re going to pay Shogun 175,000 and Penn 150,000, why is the Main event and Champion making 78,000? I don’t care about all the rhetoric, no explanation will make sense IMO.

        • Cptmats

          “no explanation will make sense IMO.”
          Because Penn Shogun fills more seats and sells more PPV than Diaz or Henderson regardless of where they are on the card or whether or not they have Belts !
          Take Henderson vs Diaz off the card and i would still put up decent ratings, Remove The Penn and Shogun fights and the numbers drop dramatically !
          It makes perfect sense !

  • Stephen

    I once heard that UFC fighters were highly underpaid. After seeing this, it’s obvious that they are!!! The UFC probably made millions on this event and this is how they pay the fighters that make the millions for them? Look at boxers and how they are paid. They don’t have to worry about possible broken arms or legs like ufc fighters but they get paid 10 times this amount. It’s ridiculous!!!

    • adam1848


      I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about boxers getting paid “10 times” what UFC fighters make after reading this article. Maybe I am missing something, but I think this makes it pretty clear that is simply not the case. Maybe it is true that superstars like Floyd Mayweather make more than superstars in the UFC, but for average fighters, the numbers seem pretty comparable to me…if anything average UFC fighters being better compensated than the average boxer.

      • Stephen

        You might want to research it a little more. I watched a show that interviewed a few big named fighters like Tito ( if I’m remember correctly, it may have been Chuck), anyway, there was also a big right up in the newspaper both talking about ufc fighters being severely underpaid especially when compared to boxers. A lot of ufc fighters fight more fights per year than boxers. So maybe they make around the same amount per year but it doesn’t compare when it comes to pay out per fight. For example, Floyd Mayweather made $40 million in his last fight. I googled, “what’s the most money a ufc fighter has ever made in a ufc fight” and the answer is Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at $460,000 on May 10th, 2012. Do the math and that is nearly 10 times the amount. Antonio isn’t even the most popular ufc fighter but it says that he received fight of the night honors and total earnings for that night was $460,000. I like ufc a lot more than boxing, to me there’s no comparison, but I wished they paid ufc fighters more money per fight.

        • adam1848

          What you are referring to is disclosed pay, which is different from the actual amount of money that fighters like GSP and Anderson Silva make after taking in their share of PPV revenue, under the table bonuses, etc. Why Dana likes to keep the actual amount of money these guys make under wraps, I do not know. He says it is because he thinks it is in the fighters best interests to not have the actual figures published…I suspect he has other reasons. Everybody knows that the superstars of boxing are paid much better than the superstars of the UFC. My point was that for every guy like Floyd Mayweather making 40 million, there are a hundred boxers making $4,000. Do I think it is right that Mayweather’s disclosed pay was almost a hundred times more than Nogueira’s disclosed pay…no I don’t. Would I like to see UFC fighters all paid even better than they are…of course. But the fact is, the average boxer makes about the same or less than the average UFC fighter, and 10 years ago the UFC was nearly going bankrupt. Give the sport another twenty years to develop and there will be no comparison.

          • Stephen

            I know that the ufc fighters are contracted more money. But my point is, in the newspaper and that show that I was talking about, top ufc fighters were complaining about being underpaid. They were comparing their pay with boxers and their biggest complaint was the fact that boxers got paid a lot more than they did. One fighter even said that there wasn’t a comparison. Fighters from the under cards all the way up to the main event, ufc fighters are paid less. It’s a fact that has been going on for a while now. The reason the ufc was bankrupt when Dana got envolved, was because it was poorly managed. I’m not saying they don’t get paid a lot of money, because they do. I’m saying they should get paid more than boxers, in my opinion, but they don’t.

    • This isnt all the make.How many times does this need to be said. And please go check what guys are making on the undercard of boxing fights.Not just the main event before you post such ignorant comments as this

    • jozseffrd

      I thin They’re under payed but you have to look at the Advertising money the fighters get that not including in the list and some fighters get more from their sponsors than their salaries!Like GSP now gets bout 175 grand/fight but he makes about 2.5 million a year besides His fighting fighting $$$ Actually boxing Pay/views make way more money than UFThe Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 made 11 million at Gate and sold 1.4 million Pay/views for $.60 a pop That’s over 90 million Dollars compared to UFC 153 Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar which did 360 thousand pay/view sales with 40 dollars a pop and 1.8 million at the gate just over 16 million total!And of course the advertisement it’s probably 25 times higher on the boxing than UFC Pacquiao made 25 million and Marquez made 9 million Now that’s a huge difference on the fighters salary but they are 2 of the best and most popular fighters Manny#1 popular and Marquez is #17popular.But over all Boxing is hugely much more dangerous than MMA.Boxing they’re go for 36 minutes and a Boxer gets hit up to 3-400 times in the head compared to an MMa fighter 50-120 times.There was never a Crippling or czusing Death injury in MMA there’s 46 Pro Boxing Deaths in Wikipedia but these are only the Pro boxer whom died and there was hundreds of crippling injuries!So I say Boxing is way more Danderous!Well that’s it Cheers Happy Holidays my friend!!!

      • Stephen

        I’m talking about the purse for the fights. I know the boxers and ufc fighters get money from other areas. I’m only talking about the purse of the fights, boxers receive a lot more money than ufc fighters.

  • It is called GREED! I would like to represent the fighters for every singe card, and fix that. And I would not even want ten percent. I would be very happy to get one percent, just for the good of the sport. The UFC WILL screw you out of anything that they get a chance to, and the fighters get no say in the matter.
    And if you don’t believe me, just ask me!

  • kelly

    thats ridiculous how much they make

  • Ty Lorts

    The champ’s a big boy and can do his own negotiations but look at the link for UFC on Fox 4 and see how much Machida was paid for a non-title fight and no win bonus. Swick made as much money on 4 as the champ did on this fight.

  • pfft

    Totally off subject but I noticed they never post drug testing results whenever GSP fights. hmmmmmm

    • Scotty_O


  • BenK

    They also make money from their sponsors. That money is a lot more than what they get paid by UFC.

  • Jungle Kid

    Terrible! Benson Henderson $78,000? That is ridiculous!

  • darthchef3193

    id put on gloves and shorts right now and fight rory for 150,000 shitttttttttttttt

  • Marcus Miles

    Its lame, every time one of these are posted up, people write that fighters are underpaid. No ****, thats all thats ever on these comment boards. Welcome to America where the elite can pay you what they want to and if you don’t like it then walk. News flash, we are all under paid because this is a capitalist country. Look at how much you all make in a day and how much your employer makes. Its the same thing just different numbers. Fighters need to do something about it and if they don’t then **** em.

  • Rod

    What BS it is that only 2 fighters made over$100000 for their fights and they both lost. Ben Henderson needs to redo his contract, $78000 is pathetic for the champion in arguably the most stacked division in the UFC…

  • Dan25

    MMA is still just an infant compared to boxing. It’s just now starting to really take off and be viewed as a legitimate contest, and taken out of the “human cock fighting” persona it was once branded with. In the United States MMA (side show) started in 1993 and not to mention the Zuffa owned (legitimate) UFC you see today didn’t take off till 2001. So if you think about it your really watching an organization thats just 11 years old (under Zuffa ownership) thats already made way more progress than I anticipated given the amount of time they have done it in. So of course MMA fighters don’t make as much money as the superstar boxers do. Boxing or prize fighting has been around since the early 1800’s. My point is the more the UFC develops the more money the fighters will make in the future. Compare Royce Gracie’s earnings in 11 UFC bouts in the mid 1990’s to the current day earnings of Tom Lawlor’s or Alan Belcher’s in a single year and you will see a significant increase in payouts. Thats comparing the superstar to the middle of the pack fighters. Fighters today are still paving the way for future fighters. In business you must start from the ground up. Thats why the UFC has become MMA’s most successful organization. While others like Affliction, WEC, Elite XC, WFA, Pride, and Strikeforce have all failed.

  • oface

    Dennis Siver makes 62000×4 fights a year= 248,000 from reported show money. Mix in sponsors, bonuses and extra money the ufc doesn’t report this guy could be making 350,000 a year as an under card fighter. How many people posting here make 350,000 dollars pre tax. In America that dude is in the 1% of wealth and top tax bracket. So anyone saying there not getting paid needs to cry me a river.