UFC 194 and Fight Night 80 may be the highlight shows this weekend, but even The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 Finale is bringing something to the table with a solid headliner on top of a not-that-terrible Friday fight card. In fact, the main event will likely determine the next challenger for the UFC Featherweight Championship.
Under normal circumstances, Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes is the kind of fight you’d expect on pay-per-view, but we’re not complaining too much. But with the TUF 22 Finale bout order undecided at current editing time, let’s pick through previous UFC fighter salaries and most-recent Reebok sponsorship payouts of the top-ranked talent on the main card.
Frankie Edgar [#2 FW]
$260,000 = $130,000/$130,000 [TUF 19 Finale]
Chad Mendes [#6 FW]
$530,000** = $500,000 + $30,000* [UFC 189]
Analysis: UFC 189 was an anomaly amongst anomalies for Chad Mendes in more ways than one. Not only did he suffer a loss to someone not named Jose Aldo, but he was also paid a princely $530,000 to fight for an interim title on ridiculously short notice.
With that business done, we’ll see how much Mendes makes in “show” and “win” money now, especially in comparison to a divisional equal and former champion in Frankie Edgar. Don’t forget, Mendes also signed a new eight-fight deal last May, so his regular disclosed pay should be much higher than the $96,000 he pulled down by beating Ricardo Lamas at UFC Fight Night 63.
Edson Barboza [#12 LW]
$29,000** [UFC on Fox 11]
Tony Ferguson [#5 LW]
$60,000 = $30,000/$30,000 + $5,000* [UFC Fight Night 71]
Analysis: Tony Ferguson has come a long way since Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter, currently able to make at least four times his original disclosed pay of $8,000/$8,000. As things stand, his next salary push is going to come from the Reebok ladder, where he’ll now make an extra $10,000 per fight instead of $5,000.
As for Edson Barboza, this will be his first public UFC salary in five fights since UFC on Fox 11. While he’s hopefully making way more in base pay than he was a year ago, Barboza at least seems to qualify as the exciting type of talent that the UFC would try to keep away from Bellator.
Joe Lauzon [#20 LW]
$36,000** [UFC 183]
Evan Dunham [#25 LW]
$54,000 = $27,000/$27,000 [UFC 182]
Analysis: Joe Lauzon may be entrenched in a gatekeeper role for the UFC lightweight division, but he’s on his 20th fight in the UFC and just a step away from maxing out his Reebok sponsorship dollars. Couple that with his 13 post-fight bonus checks, and this may be one MMA fighter who’s ready for a peaceful future retirement.
For Evan Dunham, his 16th fight under the Zuffa banner looks pretty much like his last chance for any hope at getting into a title hunt. While loses to Barboza, Donald Cerrone, and Rafael Dos Anjos certainly don’t look that bad in hindsight, his UFC career has arguably been treading water ever since that 0-3 losing streak.
# = Rankings Position
* = Reebok Sponsorship (since July 2015/UFC 189)
** = Loss, disqualification, no-contest, or no win bonus
UFC / Reebok Sponsorship Tiers
UFC Champion — $40,000
Title Challenger — $30,000
21+ UFC bouts — $20,000
16 to 20 UFC bouts — $15,000
11 to 15 UFC bouts — $10,000
6 to 10 UFC bouts — $5,000
1 to 5 UFC bouts — $2,500
Disclaimer: UFC salaries and Reebok payouts do not represent the full value or accurate dollar amounts paid to UFC fighters, which includes private gifts, unreported bonuses, and total undisclosed pay. “Performance of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” UFC bonus are not included. These figures also do not account for taxes, insurance, miscellaneous commission fees, or fighter expenses including traveling costs, gym fees, medical payments, coach salaries, and fighter management.